2014 Legislative Issues
An October 24 Gazette.net article reported that the Montgomery County Council has passed, by an 8-1 vote, a bill requiring the county executive to create and implement a snow and ice removal plan for sidewalks. The article noted that while county law already requires property owners to clear their sidewalks within 24 hours after precipitation, some sidewalks are not covered. From the article:
The legislation seeks to ensure sidewalks are passable after storms and should improve how the county fulfills the intent of its law requiring snow removal, bill sponsor Councilman Hans Riemer said.
“The goal of this bill is to make our county more walkable in every season,” Riemer (D-At Large) of Takoma Park said. …
Councilman George L. Leventhal (D-At Large) of Takoma Park, the lone vote against the bill, questioned the necessity of mandating a plan via legislation, asking if its goal could have been accomplished through other means.
The article noted that the Council did not want the County to spend additional money on sidewalks that property owners are required to clear and that instead the plan should help target where the County should be spending additional resources:
However, limited county resources will prevent the county from removing “all snow from all public property in every location every time it snows,” [Reimer] said. Instead, the plan should help the county rationalize where spends money for sidewalk snow removal, he said.
Among its requirements, the bill mandates creating a digital map that shows each sidewalk and who is responsible for clearing it of snow. It also requires the executive branch launch a public education campaign for property owners about their responsibility for clearing snow and ice from their sidewalks, as well as requires a plan for picking up trash after storms.
The article stated that the bill is estimated to cost the County $350,000 to create the map, $8,000 annually to update the map, $100,000 for the public information campaign, and $6 million for snow removal in an average winter.
Harry Hughes Agro-Ecology Center Hosting 2014 Region WIP Workshops; Will Discuss Stormwater, Conowingo, PMTOctober 31, 2014
The Harry R. Hughes Center for Agro-Ecology will be holding its fall 2014 regional Watershed Implementation Plan (WIP) Workshops in November. From the Center:
As previously announced by the Maryland Department of the Environment, a series of regional WIP workshops is scheduled for November 2014. The workshops will cover progress made by Maryland and neighboring states, Milestone Evaluations (both State and local), what’s new on Tracking and Reporting, the latest on nutrient Trading to offset new loads and to accelerate reductions, Key Dates (Schedules), Urban Nutrient Management, and updates on topics like the licensing of Conowingo Dam, and the Phosphorus Management Tool [PMT] regulations. In addition, there will be a session on funding opportunities which describe how different grants are designed to be mutually supportive as well as examples of projects that have been implemented using these funding sources. The workshop will also include a session highlighting counties’ innovative uses of monies collected from their stormwater fees as well as other projects that have been implemented by the counties and municipalities to move their work forward.
The workshops are being sponsored by the Harry R. Hughes Center for Agro-Ecology of the University of Maryland and funded by the Town Creek Foundation so there is no cost to you to participate. The dates and locations for the workshops are listed below. The doors will open at 9:15 am with the meeting hours beginning at 10:00 am and concluding by 3:30 PM. Continental breakfast and lunch will be served. We hope that you will be able to attend the event in your area.
Wednesday, November 5, 2014
Southern Maryland (Anne Arundel, Calvert, Charles, Prince George’s, St. Mary’s counties)
College of Southern Maryland, BI113, 8730 Mitchell Road, La Plata, MD 20646
Wednesday, November 12, 2014
Central Maryland (Baltimore City, Baltimore County, Carroll, Harford, Howard, Montgomery counties)
Overhills Mansion, 916 South Rolling Road,Catonsville, MD 21228
Friday, November 14, 2014
Lower Eastern Shore (Dorchester, Somerset, Wicomico, Worcester counties)
Wicomico Youth and Civic Center, Flanders Room, 500 Glen Avenue, Salisbury, MD 21804
Monday, November 17, 2014
Western Maryland (Allegany, Frederick, Garrett, Washington counties)
Walkersville Social Hall, 79 West Frederick Street, Walkersville, Maryland 21793
Friday, November 21, 2014
Upper Eastern Shore (Caroline, Cecil, Kent, Queen Anne’s, Talbot counties)
The Milestone, 9630 Technology Drive, Easton, MD 21601
Please use the link at the appropriate location to register. Please register as soon as possible so we have adequate materials, refreshments, and space to accommodate all of the attendees and to assure we can address your specific interests and needs. If you have trouble registering, please call or email Nancy Nunn at (410) 827-6202, ext. 128 or email@example.com.
Baltimore City has approved a $130,000 study of its Charm City Circulator, the City’s bus service, to develop recommendations to improve its operations. As reported by Baltimore Sun,
Rawlings-Blake said the study is needed to make the Circulator operations more effective and efficient.
“It’s important for many reasons that we make sure this Circulator system remains free,” she said. “But if it’s to remain free, it doesn’t mean that it should be fiscally unsound.
Members of the City Council may consider whether to charge a nominal fee for the service.
City Council President Bernard C. “Jack” Young has called for a hearing on the Circulator operations, including whether the bus service should charge passengers $1 to ride. A hearing hasn’t yet been scheduled.
More than 4 million people ride the Charm City Circulator each year.
With the opening of the Horseshoe Casino in Baltimore City, Cecil County is now receiving its full share of local development impact funds generated by casino revenues.
As reported by the Cecil Whig,
When the Maryland General Assembly passed slots legislation in a 2007 special session, a provision in the bill diverted 18 percent of local development impact funds from all slots locations, including Cecil County, to Baltimore City and Prince George’s County for 15 years.
However, because of another amendment added to slots legislation by Delegate David Rudolph (D-Cecil) during a 2012 special session, the law was changed to return the 18 percent back to Cecil, Allegany and Worcester counties once a casino opened in Baltimore City.
Craig Whiteford, Cecil County Budget Director, has indicated that the additional revenue has already been factored into county’s budget.
Whiteford said the county’s share in Fiscal Year 2014 that ended June 30 would have been $713,702 higher if the 18 percent was not being deducted. He projects that number, based on current revenues generated at Hollywood Casino Perryville to be about $600,000 in Fiscal Year 2015.
“This is not extra money for the county budget,” Whiteford cautions. That’s because the county finance department has already built these projections into their budget.
This fiscal year the impact aid has been allocated to substance abuse initiatives.
An opinion piece in Vox argues that more schools should turn senior year into a high school-college hybrid dedicated to helping students make the jump to higher education. As described,
While still technically enrolled in high school, students could start earning their first college credits through local community colleges or public universities. . . . For the high achievers headed to selective colleges, it would offer a chance to earn free credits. For regular students — the vast majority of college-bound seniors — making senior year of high school also stand in for freshman year of college could close gaps between K-12 and higher education, making the education system more cooperative and more efficient.
In Maryland, dual enrollment programs between community colleges and local high schools are already taking this step. As reported by the Maryland Association of Community Colleges,
Maryland’s 16 community colleges provide an abundance of outstanding dual enrollment programs for high school students, giving them the opportunity to accelerate their pursuit of a college degree or certificate. Each semester, 4,000+ Maryland high school students attend a community college to earn college credit while still in high school.
For more information, including profiles of students in dual enrollment programs, see the Maryland Association of Community Colleges.
Baltimore County is offering free training to those who may be concerned that a loved one is at risk for overdosing on heroin or prescription pain medication. The two-hour course will teach participants how to prevent and respond to an opioid overdose by using intra-nasal naloxone. This is a medication that can be used to reverse an opioid overdose.
As posted on the Baltimore County Department of Health website trainings will be held:
- Thursday, November 13, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.
Liberty Family Resource Center
3525 Resource Drive, Room C-51
Randallstown, Maryland 21133
- Wednesday, December 10 from 6 to 8 p.m.
Perry Hall Library, Meeting Room
9685 Honeygo Boulevard
Perry Hall, Maryland 21125
Preregistration is required. For more information or to register, visit the Baltimore County Department of Health website.
As reported in the Washington Post, Prince George’s county school officials have been offering free vaccinations and scrambling to remind parents of the Oct. 31 deadline to prove that their children have been vaccinated against measles, mumps, whooping cough and other communicable diseases. As described,
Starting this school year, Maryland public schools require proof that students entering kindergarten have received two chicken pox vaccinations, and students starting the seventh grade must have received the Tdap (tetanus-diphtheria-attenuated pertussis) and meningococcal vaccinations. . .Nurses are administering vaccines to students at 15 middle schools in Prince George’s County this week as the county makes a final push for students to get their required vaccinations before Friday’s deadline. More than 3,000 students in Prince George’s still needed their vaccinations as of last week and they are in danger of not being able to attend school after the deadline.
For more information, see Thousands of students without vaccinations could be barred from Maryland schools and Nurses in Prince George’s will administer vaccines at 15 schools from the Washington Post, and our previous post on Conduit Street, New Vaccine Requirements in Maryland Schools.