One of Del. William Bronrott’s (D-16) bills, which would have toughened drunk-driving standards, was defeated this year. Bronrott wanted to close a loophole which allows an individual to receive probation before judgment several times – as long as there is at least 10 years between each offense.
“An anti-drunk-driving bill is one of the toughest to pass in the Maryland General Assembly,” Bronrott said. “The judiciary committees are very skeptical about these kinds of bills.”
Another of Bronrott’s proposed bills would have raised the tax on alcohol, something that has not been done since 1955 in the case of hard liquor and 1972 for beer and wine.
“This would have brought in $92 million for the general fund,” Bronrott said. The problem this session was that the Ways and Means Committee was too consumed with the slots issue, he said. “I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt — this year,” he said.
A bill which he was happy to see pass will allow local governments to install cameras designed to catch speeders. “We narrowly focused this to the heart of the problem, residential streets and school zones,” he said.
The bill will allow jurisdictions to build the cameras on streets with speed limits of 35 mph or less. Drivers have to be going more than 10 mph faster than the posted limit to receive a citation. The fine can be up to $100 and there will be no points on the license.
Even though the driver of the speeding car may not be the owner, the owner must pay the fine. “If you get a parking ticket, it doesn’t matter who was driving the car,” he said.
Bronrott believes that this type of monitoring is necessary for Maryland. “Crossing the street, in too many neighborhoods, has become a death-defying act,” he said. The governor is threatening to veto this bill.
Bronrott also shepherded a lower-profile bill through the Statehouse. As of Oct. 1, walking will be designated as the state’s official exercise. “Maryland will become the first state in the nation with a state exercise,” Bronrott said.
He hopes the bill will encourage more citizens to exercise, and to become reacquainted with their neighborhoods. “I know that a good number of Marylanders will hear about this,” he said.