County legislators to ponder local bills

The Baltimore Sun

With the opening today of the 90-day 2008 General Assembly session, Howard County legislators will be considering local bills that would apply only in the county.

They have scheduled a delegation discussion and voting session Jan. 16 in Annapolis. The delegation held a public hearing on the bills Nov. 29 in Ellicott City.

The measures include:

Three bond bills, seeking $500,000 in state funding each for development of Blandair Park in east Columbia, the North Laurel Community Center and Park and the proposed Robinson Nature Center, off Cedar Lane near Route 32.

A bill to give mobile home park residents the right to try to buy the land under their homes if the owner wants to sell for redevelopment. As land values have risen in Howard County, owners of several mobile home parks have sold their land for new houses and apartments. That has forced hundreds of lower-income residents who own their units, but rent the lots for them, out of their homes. Many mobile homes are too old to move, and owners of newer units have found no places nearby where they can move them. The bill would require owners to notify residents of plans to sell the land.

A measure that would give Howard County police the authority to install automated speed cameras on any county roadway with a speed limit up to 45 mph. County police would supervise the issuing of civil citations to speeders. The citations would cost $75 per infraction but, like red-light cameras, would not carry points.

A tax measure that seeks to give people who receive public water, but not sewerage, a break on their utility taxes.

A bill to give the county power to regulate multiuse septic systems. It is intended to prevent problems in projects such as Cattail Villas in western Howard County, where seniors who live in townhouses are waiting for a replacement for a septic system that has never worked. Under current law, such private systems are regulated only by state government.

Another bill on the same topic would require developers to obtain a performance bond before installing a multiuse septic system to guarantee financing if the systems don't work.

A bill to require the county school board to test and inspect well water at schools for volatile organic compounds. This resulted from a dispute at Lisbon Elementary School.

A bill to allow someone nominated for a seat on the Alcoholic Beverage Hearing Board to be an employee of a public body. Currently, that is prohibited.

howard representatives

Here are the local representatives serving Howard County in the Maryland General Assembly, which begins its 425th session today. The assembly is scheduled to adjourn April 7. State Senate Edward J. Kasemeyer (D, Dist. 12), 410-841-3653 Allan H. Kittleman (R, Dist. 9), 410-841-3671 James N. Robey (D, Dist. 13), 410-841-3572. House of Delegates Gail H. Bates (R, Dist. 9A), 410-841-3556 Warren E. Miller (R, Dist. 9A), 410-841-3582 Steven J. DeBoy Sr. (D, Dist. 12A), 410-841-3328 James E. Malone Jr. (D, Dist. 12A), 410-841-3378 Elizabeth Bobo (D, Dist. 12B), 410-841-3205 Guy Guzzone (D, Dist. 13) 410-841-3471 Shane Pendergrass (D, Dist. 13) 410-841-3139 Frank S. Turner (D, Dist. 13), 410-841-3246

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