The Maryland Senate passed a bill today that would disqualify persons convicted of bribing or attempting to bribe government officials from receiving any contracts from state or local governments for a period of at least five uears.
The bill already had been approved by the House of Delegates, but because of an amendment added in the Senate must go back to the House for approval before proceeding to the desk of Gov. Marvin Mandel for his signature or veto.
Today's final passage of the bill came with no debate in the senate, in contrast to the scene last month when the Senate defeated an amendment that would have exempted from the bill's provisions bribers who turn on their co-conspirators and cooperate with prosecutors. Prosecutors testified this would make their task earlier.
After a heated debate then, the Senate put its oft-expressed dislike for disloyalty ahead of the prosecutors' appeals and defeated the amendment by vote of 21 to 25.
In passing the bill without the amendment, the Senate ignored the advice of former U.S. Attorney George Beall, whose office obtained an indictment of former Vice President Spiro T.Agnew on the basis of co-conspirators' testimony, to keep those who cooperate with prosecutors out of the bill's provisions.
The Senate was more persuaded by the reasoning of those like Sen. John A.Cade (R-Ann Arundel.), who said in last month's debate, "The guy who cooperates with the prosecutors is not so much concerned with continuing to do business with the state as with savings his own neck."
As passed, the bill provides that no one convicted after July 1, 1972, of a bribe in furtherance of obtaining a government contract may be awarded another state contrast for at least five years.
After a company or individual had been disqualified for a period of five years, he or it could petition the Board of Public Works, Maryland's major contract-awarding agency, for removal of the disqualification.
The bill also provides that a plead of no contest to a bribery charge would result in disqualification. Agnew entered such a plea to a tax charge before resigning his office in 1973.
In other action, the Senate approved a measure that would raise the state's contribution to Maryland's community colleges from $700 per full-time student to $800, at a total cost to the state of $5.6 million next year.
The appropriate was a major target of the group of senators who tried in vain to cut Mandels budget proposal substantially enough to avoid the 1 per cent increase in the sales tax Mandel has proposed.