A coalition of women's, community and labor groups has kicked off a lobbying campaign in Maryland for state legislation to help users of video display terminals.
A bill has been filed to require the state to develop an educational and training program for employers using VDTs. A resolution that seeks to get the state to develop regulations for the purchase, installation and use of the terminals has also been introduced.
"This is our third year in Annapolis to seek protections for VDT users," said Vincent Foo, president of Local 500 of the Service Employees International Union.
"Each year more studies confirm that office workers are suffering increased eye, neck and back strain compounded by stress-related problems," he said.
Beverly Jackson, chairwoman of the Baltimore 9 to 5 organization, said that because the problems "will only get worse until there are protections, we'll be coming to Annapolis until we see results." Blue Law Messages Delivered by Buggy
Using a horse-drawn buggy to dramatize the "antiquity" of Sunday shopping restrictions, Marylanders for Blue Law Repeal last week delivered to legislators more than 25,000 post cards from constituents who want to shop on Sundays.
The cards, parceled out in shopping bags according to constituents' legislative districts, ask state lawmakers to approve bills that could knock down the Sunday "blue laws."
"This committee knew that, given the chance, Maryland citizens would speak their minds about repeal of the blue laws. The response has been overwhelming from these consumers and the public at large," said Robert Mulligan, an executive of the Woodward & Lothrop retail chain and member of the repeal group.
Mulligan, who was joined by executives from Hutzlers, Hecht's, J.C. Penney Co., Hechinger Co. and the Rouse Co., said the addition of Sunday shopping would generate about $2.5 million in sales and payroll tax revenue for the state. He also estimated that about 500,000 hours of employment would be created.
Only three Maryland jurisdictions -- Montgomery, Prince George's and Worcester counties -- allow department stores to open on Sundays.
The group brought the post cards to the Capitol by horse and buggy "to underscore just how antiquated these rules really are," Mulligan said.
Legislation to repeal the blue laws has been killed in past years by the powerful House Judiciary Committee. Del. Joseph Owens (D-Montgomery), chairman of the committee, has indicated he opposes lifting the Sunday shopping restrictions on a county-by-county basis and he finds only a regional repeal acceptable. Corporal Punishment Amendment Fails
A move to exempt the Eastern Shore from a bill that would prohibit corporal punishment from being used in public schools was turned back 68 to 58 in the House of Delegates last week.
Opponents of the bill, who want the corporal punishment issue left up to county school boards, have lost a series of votes to exempt specific counties but have succeeded in delaying action on the bill.