Hearings To Be Held This Week On Two Bills Sponsored By A Frederick County Delegate

One would set up a 311 phone system.

Delegate Ken Kerr

Annapolis, Md (KM) Two bills sponsored by Frederick County Delegate Ken Kerr will be undergoing public hearings  this week. Kerr says one piece of legislation will set up a 311 system. “We have 211 which for mental health; 411 which directory assistance; and everyone knows about 911 which is emergency, fire police and rescue. But this is 311; this is for non-emergency,”: he says.

Kerr says 37-percent of all calls going to the 911 center are not emergencies, but answers questions about where to obtain public services such as road repairs or trash collection. “What it’s  designed to do is give all people in Maryland,  whether you’re a resident or a traveler coming g through the state or staying on a vacation, how you can access public services,” he says.

If it’s enacted, Kerr says Maryland would be first to have such a system. .

But Delegate Kerr says this bill  comes with a fiscal note. “It’s $2.5 million to set, then $11-million to get going and then about $8-million a year to maintain,’ he says. “So until we can get the Governor’s support that he will put in his budget or we find some other form of federal funding. And we’ve been working with Congressman {David} Trone–just spoke with his office today {Monday}–to see if we can get funding for that.”

That bill will be heard before the House Health and Government Operations Committee

Kerr says another bill he’s sponsoring, which  will be heard before the House Environment and Transportation Committee,   would allow civilians who are properly trained and certified to interpret speed camera footage. . Currently, that task is done by police officers. “With the police departments being understaffed, that is not a real efficient use of police resources,”: he says. “So this bill just says that a properly trained and certified civilian can interpret the video footage and determine if a citation is appropriate for a speed camera violation,”: he says.

Kerr says this bill will not expand speed cameras. “Speed monitoring system, I think people sometimes look at that as a slippery slope that they think it’s going to be an expansion of speed cameras,” he said. “My bill expressly is not an expansion. It’s just a redefining of who can interpret the video footage.”

Speed cameras are only used in school zones and highway work zones.

By Kevin McManus