On the eve of Friday's deadline for introducing legislation, members of the General Assembly worked feverishly today trying to get bills drafted.
After the deadline, any bill introduced must go to the Rules Committee for approval before it can be assigned to a standing committee.
That means legislators are at the mercy of the leadership-dominated committee if they don't file their bills by the deadline.
One late-breaking bill, sponsored by Del. Constance A. Morella (R-Montgomery), would give people collecting unemployment checks the option of having several dollars a month taken from their checks to be used as a premium on a health-insurance policy.
"The idea is to lift at least one burden from these people while they are unemployed," Morella said. "This way, as long as they are out of work they will know they are covered against a major health disaster. It wouldn't cost the state any money and it would be strictly optional."
Two bills introduced by Sen. Arthur Dorman (D-Prince George's) are likely to be more controversial.
One would change the law governing political action committees. Currently, PACs can contribute as much as they want to a campaign. Dorman's bill would limit the contribution an individual or group could make to 5 percent of the salary earned in the office being sought.
Dorman's other bill would cancel the state's 1975 call for a national constitutional convention on a balanced federal budget.