St. Mary's Co. Gov. News Briefs - Southern Maryland Headline News

St. Mary's Co. Gov. News Briefs


Final Action Taken on Legislative Proposals for St. Mary's County

The Maryland General Assembly officially adjourned on Monday night.

The following legislation proposed, by the Commissioners of St. Mary's County, was passed during the 2013 Session:

-- HB 257 - Deleting the requirement that the psychiatrist or psychologist serving on the St. Mary's County Adult Public Guardianship Review Board be affiliated with the St. Mary's County Health Department

-- HB 285 - Adding St. Mary's County to the list of counties in which a Class 7 micro-brewery (on- and off-sale) license may be issued

-- HB 288 - Requesting a Public Facility Bond Bill in the amount of $30,000,000

-- HB 301- Adding St. Mary's County to the list of counties in which a Class 6 pub-brewery license may be issued

-- HB 555 - Enabling the Commissioners of St. Mary's County to grant to a non-profit entity a deferral of the building impact fee

-- HB 1507 - Enabling the Commissioners of St. Mary's County to enact an Ordinance concerning property maintenance

A complete listing of all BOCC proposals and their outcomes can be found on the County Attorney's webpage at: http://www.co.saint-marys.md.us/bocc/bocclegstats.asp.

Redistricting Board to Hold Initial Meeting

The 2013 St. Mary's County Redistricting Board will hold its first meeting on April 11, 2013 at 6:30 pm, in the Commissioners meeting room inside the Chesapeake Building, 41770 Baldridge Street in Leonardtown.

As required by the St. Mary's County Code, Section 26-2, following each decennial U.S. Census, a Redistricting Board shall be appointed. The following members were appointed to the Redistricting Board on February 26, 2013:

-- Calvin Brien
-- Jacqueline Miller
-- Patrick Dolan
-- David L. Willenborg
-- Barbara Thompson

The role of the Board is to propose a Redistricting Plan drawing and define reasonable and lawful boundaries of the four districts for subsequent elections of Commissioners. After preliminary boundaries have been established, the Redistricting Board will conduct at least one public hearing in each of the four proposed Commissioner Districts. After public hearings have been held, the Redistricting Board will prepare and submit a Redistricting Plan to the Board of County Commissioners by December 31, 2013. Sixty days after submission, the Plan will become the districts for the subsequent election of County Commissioners is accordance with law.

All proceedings and records of the Redistricting Board shall comply with the Maryland Public Information Act and St. Mary's County Open Meetings Act.

NOAA to Broaden Definition of Hurricane and Tropical Storm Watches and Warnings

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) National Weather Service (NWS) has announced that, starting June 1, the definitions of hurricane and tropical storm watches and warnings will be broadened. This is to allow these watches and warnings to be issued or remain in effect after a tropical cyclone becomes post-tropical, when such a storm poses a significant threat to life and property. In addition, the NWS would ensure a continuity of service by allowing the National Hurricane Center to issue advisories during the post-tropical stage. These changes were motivated by the special challenges posed by Hurricane Sandy, which was forecast to evolve from a hurricane to a post-tropical cyclone prior to reaching the coast.

"Our forecasters now have more flexibility to effectively communicate the threat posed by transitioning tropical systems," said Louis W. Uccellini, Ph.D., director of NOAA's National Weather Service. "Sandy's forecast was remarkably accurate and under a similar situation in the future, forecasters will be able to choose the best option to underscore the urgency involved".

This policy change was first proposed during the NOAA Hurricane Meeting last November is also supported by preliminary findings from NOAA's service assessment on Sandy, which is to be released in May.

The broadened watches and warnings will now be as follows:

Hurricane/Typhoon Warning: An announcement that sustained winds of 64 knots (74 mph or 119 km/hr) or higher are expected somewhere within the specified area in association with a tropical, subtropical, or post-tropical cyclone. Because hurricane preparedness activities become difficult once winds reach tropical storm force, the warning is issued 36 hours in advance of the anticipated onset of tropical-storm-force winds (24 hours for the Western North Pacific). The warning can remain in effect when dangerously high water or a combination of dangerously high water and waves continue, even though winds may be less than hurricane force.

Hurricane Watch: An announcement that sustained winds of 64 knots (74 mph or 119 km/hr) or higher are possible within the specified area in association with a tropical, subtropical, or post-tropical cyclone. Because hurricane preparedness activities become difficult once winds reach tropical storm force, the hurricane watch is issued 48 hours in advance of the anticipated onset of tropical storm force winds.

Tropical Storm Warning: An announcement that sustained winds of 34 to 63 knots (39 to 73 mph or 63 to 118 km/hr) are expected somewhere within the specified area within 36 hours (24 hours for the Western North Pacific) in association with a tropical, subtropical, or post-tropical cyclone.

Tropical Storm Watch: An announcement that sustained winds of 34 to 63 knots (39 to 73 mph or 63 to 118 km/hr) are possible within the specified area within 48 hours in association with a tropical, subtropical, or post-tropical cyclone.

Additional definitions and example can be found at: http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/news/20130404_hsu_postTropicalChanges.php.

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