LONG AFTER THE AISLES of Maryland's House and Senate have been cleared for the last time of the year, it remains to be seen just which of all the bills enacted in this session will be signed or vetoed by the governor. For that matter, this time around governor has been coming off the bench to wield some of the pens and swords. At any rate, the deadline is May 31, and so far the bill-signing has been set for next Tuesday, with Lt. Gov. Blair Lee III, and a week later, with the signator to be announced.
Since the General Assembly's record wound up about the way Gov. Marvin Mandel had expected, it's doubtful that Marylanders will be jolted by the vetos and approvals to come. Still, there are some measures that shouldn't be ignored to death - and others, like the death penalty, which could easily be so sentenced.
In view of the Assembly's continuing refusal to adjust the state income-tax rates in an equitable way, certainly the sales-tax increase needs to become law. Moreover, though not everyone was pleased with the selection of an abandoned Continental Can Co. factory in Baltimore for conversion to an 890-inmate prison, the state's needs on this front are desperate.
There are measures, too, that would improve the state's juvenile-justice system, including one that would provide court-appointed attorneys to represent children in cases involving custody, child abuse and similar matters in which such representation ought to be available. Similarly, bills designed to provide more aid and comfort for rape victims need signing.
Indeed, in running down the list of bills still to be dealt with, it becomes clearer than ever that the ailing Gov. Mandel erred in not turning over his authority more completely to Lt. Gov. Lee. While many of the measures on the agenda did get great public attention during the session, this is the period in which they are about to become law - and the state's top decision-maker ought to be readily accessible to discuss the prospects for approval or veto of the General Assembly's output.