Annapolis '91



ANNAPOLIS -- The Maryland court system will not be required next year to revamp its record-keeping system to provide the public easier access to information concerning judges' sentencing decisions.

The House Judiciary Committee, by a 21-1 vote, has killed a bill introduced by Delegate Richard C. Matthews, R-Carroll, that would have required the Administrative Office of the Courts to compile and maintain a central registry for certain crimes. Information on the cases, including the sentence imposed, would have been contained under judges' names to allow the public a simplified evaluation method.

Opponents argued that the information requested in the bill is readily available to the public now -- though in a more complex format -- and objected to spending an estimated $157,000 in fiscal 1992 to set up and run the program.

Matthews, who said he was seeking to make judges more accountable to the public, recorded the only favorable vote.


ANNAPOLIS -- The House Environmental Matters Committee, apparently influenced by motorcycling lobbying groups, voted13-9 against a bill introduced by Delegate Lawrence A. LaMotte, D-Carroll, Baltimore, that would have regulated all-terrain vehicles.

The bill would have required the annual registration of each ATV withthe Motor Vehicle Administration for an $18.50 fee, which would havebeen used primarily to buy and develop land for recreational riders.The bill also would have established safety provisions and courses for riders.

The legislation, which LaMotte has introduced for the last six years, was prompted by complaints from police, farmers, and park and government officials over the destruction of private and public lands caused by ATV riders. In 1989, the bill passed the House, but was never acted upon in the Senate. In the other years, it was killed in the House Committee.

Two motorcycling organizations submitted testimony in opposition to the bill this year.


ANNAPOLIS -- A bill requiring state government employees to make copies on both sides of a sheet of paper for documents longer than nine pages has passed the Senate and will be considered by the House of Delegates.

The bill, co-sponsored by Sen. Charles H. Smelser, D-Carroll, Frederick, Howard, is intended as a conservation measure.


ANNAPOLIS -- An attempt by Delegate RichardN. Dixon, D-Carroll, to close a loophole in the state's election laws has been rejected by the House Constitutional and Administrative Law Committee by a 17-2 vote.

The bill would have prohibited political candidates from filing for two offices in the same primary election. Now, candidates are permitted to file for one public office and one party office, such as a Republican or Democratic central committee seat, in the same primary.

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