Carroll commissioners discuss two more possible pieces of legislation

The Board of County Commissioners discussed two more possible items of legislation to bring to the county delegation this week, though no votes were taken and no decisions were made.

This is the second time in recent weeks that the commissioners looked ahead at possible legislation for the 2018 session. Commissioners voted to move forward on 12 different pieces of legislation in September, after discussions both as a board and with local delegation.


Tuesday, commissioners came together again to discuss the two other possible pieces of legislation, though only one of the potential bills seemed to gain any traction.

The first would be to repeal a current state law that makes it illegal to have unlicensed junk vehicles on a property if they can be seen from the street, which conflicts with county zoning ordinance. The county’s zoning ordinance permits the keeping of one unlicensed vehicle on a lot of 3 acres or less, and two unlicensed vehicles on a lot greater than 3 acres and less than 20 acres, according to meeting documents.

“So what you have is a state law that contradicts your zoning ordinance,” Carroll County Attorney Tim Burke, said.

The second would allow fraternal organizations like the Moose or Elks lodges to have instant lottery ticket machines in Carroll County. As of now, Burke said, veterans organizations can already have these machines.

“Essentially, it’s just an electronic version of a scratch game,” he added.

Commissioners were not particularly supportive of the concept. Commissioner Doug Howard, R-District 5, asked what the benefit would be of something like this.

It’s a financial benefit, Burke said. The way it works with the veterans organizations, is that a portion of the money goes to the organization.

Despite that, Howard said he had “no appetite” for such a bill.

No formal decisions were made on either bill, though commissioners are expected to discuss them again in coming weeks and to vote.

Three of the major bills, which were introduced by Commissioner Dennis Frazier, R-District 3, dealt with the opioid crisis and treatment. The bills deal with mandatory holds for those who have overdosed, mandatory counseling for patients being prescribed maintenance drugs for opioid dependence and mandatory post-detoxification counseling.

The two other major bills deal with education, and were introduced by Howard.

The first bill deals with maintenance of effort and asks that in instances where a county governing body appropriated funds in the school operating budget for education at the same level as the prior fiscal year despite declining enrollment, the required per-pupil maintenance of effort should be frozen at the funding level for the prior fiscal year.

The second deals with hold harmless funding, something the county has been trying to get for a few years. The delegation was able to get a bill passed for three years that would provide about $1.6 million for schools this year, with a projected $1.4 million and $1.6 million for the following years.