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St. Mary's Commissioners And County Delegation Discuss Upcoming Legislative Proposals

LEONARDTOWN, Md. -- The St. Mary’s County Commissioners and the St. Mary’s County Legislative Delegation met on the evening of Oct. 5 to discuss upcoming legislative requests. These groups discussed topics such as animal control officers wearing body cameras, auctioneer fees, and terms limits to elected members of the board of education.

The first request would allow people to drive golf carts on county highways if it meets certain criteria. Some criteria mentioned were that the person must have a license, can not drive a cart over 35 miles, and must maintain the condition.

The idea of allowing golf carts on the road came when the delegation passed a pilot program for the Golden Beach over three years ago, but they have had significant pushback on this because of safety. However, most people in the meeting believe that Leonardtown particularly can do an adequate job operating golf carts in safe areas.

After finding agreement, they looked to revise the duties language of the Local Government Article of Annotated Code of Maryland for the St. Mary’s County’s Human Relations Commission. The revision is supposed to mirror federal language regarding not discriminating based on age, race, gender, religion or sexual orientation. This bill came into question because the revision is trying to add sexual orientation to this mix.

Then, they looked into animal control officers wearing body cameras. For this bill, the intent is to put animal control officers in the same category as police officers, to utilize audio recordings when recording these officers. This will cover the county of any liability in highly tense situations. There was no debate that this was an overall good idea.

Additionally, they discussed giving polygraph examinations for paramedic EMTs and Emergency Communications Center applicants to do some extra screening since the position holds vital information and importance in the community. This is another bill to minimize the county’s liability. After seeing precedence for this bill, they agreed this bill was a good idea.

The next bill focused on auctioneer fees. This bill requests the Property Article of the Annotated Code of Maryland to change the allowable expenses for auctioneer fees to be the “actual cost.” After discussion, they had a compromise in mind, but they still believe that this matter will need a full delegation.

As the agenda reached its end, these governing bodies discussed amending the definition of a newspaper, since they have drastically diminished throughout the years, especially locally. They are looking to stop penalizing free newspapers, but they decided that this needs a full delegation.

The seventh bill discussed was focused on motor vehicle towing and immobilization on private property. This idea was proposed to be like Commissioner O’Connor’s anti-predatory towing bill. This bill will require a notice to be placed on the vehicle for 24 to 48 hours before it gets towed. After some explanation, everyone agreed it seems reasonable because of the various predatory tactics from tow truck drivers.

The final discussion was a citizen's request to amend the Education Article of the Annotated Code of Maryland. This change would limit elected members of the St. Mary’s County Board of Education to three full consecutive four-year terms. To pass, they would need a unanimous vote, so more discussion before approval is likely.

Contact our news desk at news@thebaynet.com

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