Cumberland Times-News

Letters

December 23, 2013

Unelected board should be held accountable

 I find I must respond to the misinformation presented by Paul Dornsife of Carpendale, W.Va., in his Dec. 23 letter to the editor (“Mineral County officials overstep their legal bounds”).    

In his letter Mr. Dornsife correctly describes how a bill becomes a law, but Mineral County’s smoking ban is not a law.

It is a county ordinance, which is enacted locally without review by the legislature and was done legally under state code section §16-2-11(b)(3).

Both Sen. (Craig) Blair and I have been working with Commissioner (Jerry) Whisner to come up with a way under current code that actions by the unelected health department board must be approved by the county commission.

We could find none. It is unconscionable that an unelected board can write an ordinance without anyone being held accountable by the voters.

The current system is contrary to the very liberty our veterans have fought to preserve.

After talking to veterans, which I do frequently as a member of the House Committee on Veterans Affairs, I started working on a bill.

This bill will require the county commission’s vote on any proposal by a county health department before it becomes an ordinance affecting the citizens, thus creating elected official accountability.

As a part time legislature we only have 60 days each year to introduce legislation. The next session starts on Jan. 8. It is at that time that my bill requiring a county commission to approve any ordinances that a health department suggests before they become effective will be introduced.

Jan. 8 is the first opportunity to introduce corrective legislation since the actions of the Mineral County Health Board.

I hope that Mr. Dornsife will support my legislation to protect the rights of the people and create accountability.

To answer his question on who will enforce the ordinance. It is my understanding that the Mineral County Health Department would do that, the state cannot enforce county ordinances.

Also, Mr. Dornsife incorrectly states there is a meeting to discuss the smoking ban on Jan 2. This is not the case.

The Legislative Townhall meeting I am hosting on Jan. 2 in Wiley Ford with Senators Blair and (David) Sypolt is not about Mineral County’s smoking ban.

It is to give a preview of the upcoming legislative session and hear citizen concerns about issues facing the state.

Delegate Gary Howell

56th District

1
Text Only
Letters
  • Remember, we’re not immune to extinction

    I’d like to pose a theoretical scenario to Cal Thomas.

    If a medical specialist said, “Cal, you’ve got a serious physical problem. Do nothing and you’ll die soon. Follow my prescription, which involves certain life-style changes, and there’s a good probability you’ll live, even if your life may be a bit more constrained than now.”

    July 21, 2014

  • America has three branches of government for good reasons

    “Mikulski Calls for Continued Action to Protect Women's Health Following Dangerous Supreme Court Decision” is the heading you will find on Sen. Barbara Mikulski’s website.

    July 21, 2014

  • Tell legislators to do what is right for America’s vets

    Without our veterans and those who made the ultimate sacrifice, where would America be today? It is anyone’s guess, however certainly not the Freedom and Liberty we enjoy.

    July 18, 2014

  • Move over Move over

    Have you noticed, in your travels, that the front end of a police cruiser usually protrudes a bit more than you would expect when the officer has it parked behind another vehicle on the side of the road?

    July 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • Use local workers in building new Baltimore Pike travel stop

    As a delegate to the Maryland General Assembly representing Allegany County, and specifically the City of Cumberland, I welcome you to our community as you prepare to construct a Love’s Travel Stop at the above referenced location (on Baltimore Pike).

    July 17, 2014

  • Northern Garrett Rescue Squad raising funds, seeks members

    The Northern Garrett County Rescue Squad recently conducted several fund raising events to raise funds for new Lifepak 15’s, which are EKG monitors with AED / defibrillator.

    July 16, 2014

  • Citizens should be more ready to deal with power failures

    An open letter to the electrical power companies in West Virginia and Maryland:
    The return of electrical power to my home recently, after its unexpected failure for approximately 48 hours, as a result of such a sudden and violent storm, reminded me anew of how much I take for granted.

    July 14, 2014

  • Scare tactics, misinformation abound regarding marijuana

    In response to Frank J. Clark’s well intentioned letter, “Don’t be too quick to legalize marijuana use,” July 10 Times-News), I believe that his letter misses the point of legalizing and regulating marijuana.

    July 12, 2014

  • Trading dollars for nickels just doesn’t make any sense

    Thank you for providing an opportunity for comments on the 2014 draft of the county’s Comprehensive Plan.

    July 10, 2014

  • Don’t be too quick to legalize marijuana use

    Perhaps our society should consider some facts before jumping on the bandwagon for legalizing recreational marijuana use.

    July 9, 2014

Latest news
Facebook
Must Read
House Ads