he Prince George's County delegation today approved a bill allowing the county board of license commissioners to grant up to seven more liquor licenses for stores and restaurants, increasing the number available in the county to 599.
Delegates who opposed the bill argued that the county already has enough liquor establishments, particularly since the population has stabilized. "I can't think of anyone in the county who has any difficulty in obtaining liquor in Prince George's County. It's not one of the overwhelming social problems," Del. Gerard Devlin said.
But proponents said the licenses can be used to help economic development--especially to attract better restaurants. The bill, which is considered certain to pass the House under the "local courtesy rule," was approved by the delegation 12 to 6.
The delegation also passed a bill to require that sponsors of outdoor music festivals post a $50,000 police and health bond. The bill would not affect festivals held on private property or conducted by government agencies.
The bill provides that the money would be used if sponsors did not conform to health regulations or adequately clean sites after performances.
In other action, the delegation voted to table three bills until next week. Two bills would review and expand the powers of the police force of the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission.
The third bill would grant the county authority to add up to $10 to the costs of each circuit court trial in order to provide money for the Juvenile Restitution Fund. The fund, budgeted at about $1 million, would be used to repay victims of crimes committed by juveniles.
The juveniles would repay the fund as a condition of their probation.
Though the majority of delegates said they supported the bill, some members objected to charging parties in civil cases, particularly divorces. The county now charges $165 in fixed court costs to file for divorce.