With the conclusion of the 1991 General Assembly around the corner, lawmakers are working overtime to find solutions to a number of pressing concerns.
In land matters, the hotly debated Chesapeake Bay Protection Act was killed in committee with Sen. Larry E. Haines, R-Carroll, Baltimore, voting against the bill.
Haines said he felt the measure would strip local jurisdictions of too many of their zoning decisions and voted for further study on the issue.
Also, the Forest Conservation bill, aimed at preserving trees on development sites, continues to move through the Senate. Individual lots of less than 1 acre are exempt from the measure.
Mandatory kindergarten attendance was approved by the Senate last week, but it was opposed by Haines as well as Carroll school officials. Peter B. McDowell, assistant superintendent of schools, testified againstthe bill citing budget constraints.
Haines, who said he is not opposed to mandatory kindergarten, tried unsuccessfully to amend the bill to exempt 5-year-olds whose parents decide a child is immature or unprepared to begin school. In these cases, kindergarten could be delayed one year. The amendment was defeated in a committee and floor vote.
"It's the parent's responsibility to educate the child, not the state's," said Haines, disappointed with the outcome of the vote.
The bill exempts 5-year-olds from kindergarten if they're enrolled in Head Start, or if they are in licensed full-time child care or registered full-time day care.