Bill would require lead poisoning tests for...


Bill would require lead poisoning tests for infants, toddlers

All Maryland children would be screened for lead poisoning when they are 12 months and 24 months old under a bill heard yesterday in the state House of Delegates. The bill, sought by Baltimore city officials, would call for testing for traces of lead in the blood of children living in housing built before 1978, when the federal government banned the use of lead-based paint inside homes.

City lawmakers had originally proposed requiring all children be tested as a requirement for entering public school.

Health officials, however, said infants and toddlers are most vulnerable to the toxic metal, and urged much earlier screening. Appearing before the Environmental Matters Committee, city officials agreed to amend their bill.

Senate approves bill on late payment fees

The Senate Finance Committee approved a bill yesterday that would expand the ability of businesses to charge their customers late payments on overdue accounts, but only after putting caps on the fees and allowing a grace period.

The 9-2 vote sends the legislation, a high priority for Maryland business leaders, to the Senate floor. The legislation was introduced to counter a state Court of Appeals ruling last year that struck down excessive late fees.

The original bill imposed no limits on the late fees businesses could charge, but the committee amended it to include caps.

Md., Va. officials fight over Potomac project

Officials from Maryland and Virginia squared off yesterday in front of state Senate and House environmental committees, which are considering bills that would delay or block Virginia's attempts to build a new water intake pipe in the Potomac River.

Maryland legislators are trying for the second year in a row to thwart its neighbor's attempts to draw water from the middle of the Potomac River.

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