The State Senate yesterday beat back a controversial move to require local jurisdictions in Maryland to enact laws governing the conduct of public officials at the county and city level.
The provision was considered an important part of a comprehensive bill backed by Senate leaders who hoped to tighten ethical standards in the wake of political scandals in Maryland.
"Almost every corruption case we've seen in the state of Maryland begins at the local level," said Lee D. Periman, lobbyist for Common Cause, who hilped draft the Senate bill.
The move to require local governments to enact conflict of interest, financial disclosure and lobbysist disclosure laws by 1980 was strongly opposed by local jurisdictions in the state.
Representatives of Maryland's counties and municipalties said the proposal would lead to unmanageable paperwork and scare away prospective candidates for local office.
"There are a number of us here who feel the state is sticking its nose in where it has no business," said Sen. C. A. Porter Hopkins (R-Baltimore County), who opposed the measuer.
Nine of Maryland's 24 jurisdictions have financial disclosure laws for local officials, 10 have conflict-of-interest statutes, and only Prince George's County has a lobbyist disclosure law.