- The Washington Times - Sunday, April 12, 2009



House approves septic tank bill

Maryland lawmakers on Saturday approved a measure requiring homeowners who live within 1,000 feet of tidal waterways to upgrade failed septic systems to prevent nitrogen pollution from entering the Chesapeake Bay.

The legislation has generated debate, largely from lawmakers in rural areas on the Eastern Shore who say an expensive burden is being put on their constituents.

State analysts estimated that about 50,000 septic tanks would be subject to the regulations. It costs about $12,000 to upgrade a system to be compliant.

Supporters say the state's Bay Restoration Fund has enough money to pay for upgrades in failed systems.

“We will never clean up the Bay if we have to keep playing catch-up, trying to clean up existing pollution while we allow new pollution to keep adding to the problem,” said Sen. Michael G. Lenett, Montgomery Democrat, who sponsored the Senate bill.

The House of Delegates approved the Senate bill without amendments, sending it to Gov. Martin O'Malley, a Democrat, who intends to sign the legislation.


Nearly 900 becoming Catholic

The Archdiocese of Baltimore says nearly 900 people will enter the Catholic Church at services this Easter weekend.

The archdiocese says 894 will receive the sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation and Eucharist during the Easter vigil liturgy Saturday night. That's a third more than last year and the most this decade.

Nationwide, the archdiocese says as many as 150,000 new or returning Catholics are expected to join the church this year, not including the baptism of infants.


Lawmakers reverse vehicle tax move

Maryland lawmakers have reversed a decision not to carry over a state tax break on vehicle purchases.

The decision was made Saturday by members of a conference committee on the state budget.

Carrying over the state tax break on new vehicles will cost the state $10 million, and the committee initially decided against it. But U.S. Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski, Maryland Democrat, was a strong advocate for the tax break at the federal level, and state lawmakers decided to reconsider.

The break will save a taxpayer about $96 in state tax on a $20,000 vehicle purchase.


First woman named PG deputy chief

The Prince George's County Police Department has promoted its first woman to deputy chief.

Police Chief Roberto Hylton said he named Anita Rosser, 42, to be his chief of staff over the 1,600-officer force. It's the first time a woman has held such a high rank in the department's 78-year history.

Deputy Chief Rosser grew up in Seat Pleasant. Her parents were local civil rights activists, who fought for county schools to be desegregated in 1972.

She was one of 32 officers that Chief Hylton promoted as part of a departmental reorganization.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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