The Maryland Senate has approved legislation to continue state funding of driver's education programs and prohibit companies from using prerecorded phone solicitations.
Under current law, state support for driver's education programs at high schools ends July 1, 1987.
The legislation would eliminate the sunset provision in the current law and continue state support of the program.
The Department of Fiscal Services estimated that the Transportation Department would have to dedicate $4 million to the driver's education program beginning in fiscal 1988.
About $1.4 million that now goes to the state's 23 counties and Baltimore City for other projects would have to be diverted to driver's education annually, fiscal analysts said. Those funds would come from gasoline and automobile tag taxes.
There are 56,100 students eligible for driver training in the state. The state payment per student is $65.
The Senate voted 41 to 3 to continue the program. The bill, sponsored by Sen. Arthur Dorman (D-Prince George's), goes to the House.
By a 41-to-1 vote, the Senate also passed legislation that would set a fine of up to $1,/000 for anyone using a prerecorded phone solicitation.
The bill, sponsored by Sen. Dennis Rasmussen (D-Baltimore County) at the request of the Public Service Commission, would close a current loophole in state law, which already prohibits such telephone solicitations.
The legislation would let prosecutors handle such cases directly, without prior contact with the PSC.
The PSC has received several complaints from citizens who said they were being bombarded with calls from automated machines using prerecorded messages.
The Senate also approved legislation, sponsored by Sen. Bernard Fowler (D-Calvert), prohibiting the Maryland Transportation Authority from building a bridge over the Chesapeake Bay connecting Calvert and Dorchester counties without first seeking legislative approval.
State Comptroller Louis Goldstein, who owns property in Calvert County, has asked transportation officials to consider building such a span.
But many Southern Maryland residents say they object to the increased traffic and congestion that would result.
A preliminary study prepared for the Department of Transportation showed that construction of a second bridge over the bay would cost more than $810 million and result in a deficit of $80 million a year.