Maryland Sen. Paul Sarbanes has formally called on President Carter to declare a number of Maryland counties "an emergency situation under the Gederal Disaster Relief Act" because of severe freezing the Chesapeake Bay area.
In a telegram to the President, Sarbanes said ice blocking the entrance of barge traffic to the Wicomico and Naticoke Rivers is causing rapid depletion of gasoline, home heating oil and industrial fuel reserves on the Eastern shore, creating a potentially serious economic and health threat to the area.
"In addition," he said, "many of the state's oystermen have been unable to work in recent weeks as a result of freezing in the bay and are need of unemployment and other assistance."
Sarbanes asked that the following counties be named disaster areas: Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Calvert, St. Marys, Charles, Cecil, Kent, Queene Anne, Talbot, Dorchester, Wicomico, Worcester and Somerset.
Republican Sen. Charles McC. Mathias has introduced legislation that would provide financial relief to "retired and disabled citizens living on a fixed income, from a gross inequity of the "Tax Reform Act of 1976."
According to Mathias, section 505 of that bill severely curtails tax advantages of sick and disabled persons. He urged quick action on the bill because people will be preparing for their tax returns within the next few weeks and many of them have to literally scrape up enough money to pay their taxes."
Sen. Mathias has also joined Sen. Ed Brooke in support of a resolution creating a National Day of Commemoration every Jan. 15 in honor of the late Dr. Martin Luther King.
Rep. Gladys Noon Spellman has reintroduced legislation to amend the Civil Rights Act of 1968 giving the department of Housing and Urban Development the power to initiate civil action to enforce fair housing laws.
Spellman said that although Congress has passed legislation protecting the rights of citizens in the housing market, poor enforcement and administration of existing fair housing laws was the "single greatest cause of the continuance of unfair practice."
Rep. Spellman was recently honored for her initiative in securing funds for repaving the Baltimore Washington Parkway. She was commended for "outstanding legislative action" by the Maryland Asphalt Association, INC.
Freshman Rep. Newton Steers has sent questionaires to every household in the Eighth Congressional District in order to determine how his constituents would like him to vote.
The questionaire contains twenty questions on current legislative issies from energy to gun control. The results will be tabulated by computer. Anyone wanting extra copies may contact Steers' Washington office at 225-5341.