By Sen. Roy Dyson

[ Senator Dyson's Newletter ]

November 15, 1996

Before long I'll be back in Annapolis again for another session of the Maryland General
Assembly. Both of the county commissioner boards of the counties which I represent
have presented our delegation with their annual package of proposed legislation, Now
it's up to the delegation to decide which to introduce next year.

Several major statewide issues with significant local ramifications are looming on the
horizon as the time nears for the new session in January. We've talked about a tax cut
for the last two years, but this year looks like the one in which there appears to be
support from the leadership of the Maryland General Assembly for such a cut. That
could bode well for its passage. I have spoken in favor of the tax cut in the past and
look forward to it moving forward.

At the recent League of Women's Voters' meeting in Calvert County on that county's
legislative package, I was asked again about casino gambling and the return of slot
machines. I said then, as I have said many times previously, that I do not support the
return of slot machines to Southern Maryland. The one armed bandits were legal in
Southern Maryland until the legislature banned them in the late 1960's. We have a
strong economy and don't need the many problems which a gambling economy would
add to our area.

I am a little perplexed that the issue would rear its ugly head again since Governor
Glendening said several months ago that he would veto any casino legislation. But since
then lottery revenues have lagged and maybe that revenue shortfall, plus problems with
Baltimore City schools, are driving the early resurrection ofthe issue. For whatever
reason, I remain steadfast against an expansion of the many opportunities for gambling
which are already available to the residents of the state.

Another issue with statewide implications which I do support is the relaxation of the
regulations against pagers on school property. A task force in St. Mary's County has
recommended that the regulations be changed to allow pagers and other communication
devices in cars parked on school property. This gives students contact with their
parents once school is out.

Of course, if it is proven that the pagers are being used in commission of a crime, such
as drug dealing, then I favor retaining the additional penalties for possession of pagers,
the same as I favor laws exacting penalties for the possession of a handgun in the
commission of a crime.

Pagers are now a very prevalent and inexpensive form of communication. Parents want
to know where their kids are after school and kids need to communicate with parents
about changed plans. We have received in our office many examples of where pagers
have become a necessity not a luxury, and I agree.

St. Mary's County Sheriff Richard Voorhaar in a recent interview, said that he did not
favor relaxing the laws against possession of pagers within the schools. I agree with him
on that point. We don't need pagers going off in the classroom, disrupting the
educational endeavor. If parents need to get in touch with their students they can call
the school office and students can use the same office to contact their parents in the
event of an emergency.

We have received a number of suggestions for other pieces of legislation. If you haven't
heard from me or my office yet it is because we are still reviewing those ideas. All of the
suggestions will be given consideration and we'll be in touch with you to let you know
what we have decided.

If we do introduce legislation to address a concern that you have raised, we will ask
you to come to Annapolis and testify when the bill comes up for hearing. Many
legislators, myself included, listen to average citizens more so than they listen to paid
lobbyists and the bureaucrats.

It's still not too late to contact my office with legislative proposals. You contact the
Southern Maryland district office at 301-994-2826 or my Annapolis office at
800-492-7122, extension 3673. Or you can write to P.O. Box 229, Great Mills, MD

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