Charles County officials have compiled a preliminary list of 19 legislative proposals for the 2005 General Assembly.
The package of proposals will be available to the public Monday in the county commissioners' office. A public hearing is scheduled for 7 p.m. Nov. 15 in the Commissioners Meeting Room of the County Government Building, 200 Baltimore St., La Plata, to discuss the items, said county spokeswoman Nina Voehl. After that, the commissioners will have a work session to whittle down the list before it is forwarded to the state delegation.
Here's a look at some of the proposals.
* Two related proposals would cap county taxes for senior citizens. One would freeze the annual county real estate tax payment for those who have lived in Charles for at least 20 years and are 70 or older. The other, submitted by the council for the Richard R. Clark Senior Center in La Plata, would cap property taxes at the current rate for all residents 65 or older.
* One proposal would establish a recall process for members of the Charles County Board of Education. Former Board of Education chairman James F. Gesl submitted this proposal because he said he wanted to give residents recourse if the board members were unresponsive to community complaints. The board has come under criticism recently for proposals to distribute Bibles in schools and change the biology curriculum to include the theory of creationism.
* The Charles County Sheriff's Office submitted four proposals. Among them, the sheriff's office is seeking to include teachers and school administrators on the list of people who are prohibited under state law from having sexual contact with minors under the age of 18. Under current law, a teacher may engage in sexual activity with a student age 16 or older if the relationship is not considered "custodial." Another proposal would amend the criminal code to allow a forfeiture of property if someone is convicted of prostitution violations. Currently property can be taken for gambling and gun law violations but not prostitution, according to the sheriff's office.
* Also on the list are proposals to incorporate trash service into county taxes and prohibit open air burning in the county.
-- JOSHUA PARTLOW