Speed-camera, property bills fail during Assembly session

The Baltimore Sun

Bills allowing speed cameras and mobile home park residents the right to buy the land under their homes before a park is sold failed to win General Assembly approval before the 90-day session ended Monday night.

The two bills represented the biggest issues local legislators faced this year, but they weren't the only local bills approved by the county delegation that failed to be enacted.

A third measure offering liability protection, enjoyed by county government, to the new Howard County Revenue Authority under a self-insurance program also failed.

"I'm a little disappointed we didn't get what we wanted, but this is the process down here. It's amazing how fast things start rolling" as the session nears an end, said state Sen. James N. Robey, a Democrat who sponsored a local version of the speed-camera bill. He vowed yesterday to try again next year.

The county did get $300,000 in state bond money for each of three projects -- Blandair Park, North Laurel Community Center and Park, and the Robinson Nature Center. A bill making a place in state law for County Executive Ken Ulman's Healthy Howard health access plan for uninsured residents was also approved.

In addition, two bills were approved that would help people using shared septic systems, like the failed system built for townhouses at Cattail Creek in Glenwood.

The bills, sponsored by Republican Del. Warren E. Miller, require developers to post a performance bond and also give the county regulatory authority over such systems.

The local speed-camera bill was allowed to die because a statewide bill was being pushed, but that died in the legislature's final minutes. The revenue authority bill was thought to have statewide implications, which prompted opposition.

The mystery is over the mobile home park bill that was designed to give park residents a measure of added security by giving them a chance to buy any park if the owner decides to sell or redevelop.

"Sometimes you go up against forces you don't even know who they are. The simple answer is we've got to keep working on this stuff," said Democratic Del. Guy Guzzone, a co-sponsor of the mobile home park bill.


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