Med-Evac Helicopter Bill Put on Hold

It does not appear the proposal to increase vehicle registration fees to buy Maryland Med-Evac helicopters is going to be adopted this year, according to state legislators. State senators have grounded the proposal to give them time to review the Med-Evac unit.

Senate President Melvin Steinberg (D-Baltimore County) said the issue of whether to buy new helicopters is too complex to be decided in the weeks remaining in the current General Assembly session. He said he felt the issue whould be studied for another year.

Sen. Francis X. Kelly (D-Baltimore County), sponsor of the bill to raise motor vehicle registration fees by $3, said"We know the system needs fixing. I don't think we're ready to go forward without a lot more information." Cigarette Markup Bill Killed

A bill that opponents said would make Marylanders pay more for their cigarettes was killed by the Senate last week on a 23-to-17 vote. The bill would have increased from 5 percent to 7 percent the markup that wholesalers are required to add to the price of cigarettes.

"All this bill can do is increase the cost of cigarettes to consumers," said Sen. Julian Lapides (D-Baltimore), who led the fight against the bill.

Lapides said wholesalers should be allowed to sell cigarettes as cheaply as they want. Mortgage Points Survive Senate Vote A move to prohibit banks from charging points on home mortgage loans was rejected by a 28-to-12 vote in the Senate last week.

The action came as the Senate worked on a Hughes administration bill aimed at reducing the closing costs, among the highest in the nation, that Marylanders must pay when they buy new homes.

Sen. John Pica (D-Baltimore) argued that one of the main reasons for high closing costs is the points charged by lenders. A point is one percent of the loan and is paid at the time the house is bought.

Sen. Dennis Rasmussen (D-Baltimore County) said points are charged on home loans in all states and that loans would be much less available if points were not allowed.