March 7, 2014
Delegate Liz Bobo, Courtesy of Maryland State Archives
Delegate Liz Bobo marks her retirement, celebrating 20 sessions in Annapolis. Before becoming a Delegate, Bobo served as Howard County Executive for one term and on the Howard County Council for two terms.
Senator Ed Kasemeyer discusses working with Delegate Bobo in the Baltimore Sun article,
State Sen. Edward Kasemeyer, … who has served with Bobo in District 12 throughout the whole 19 years she’s been there, called her “a person who is true to her convictions.”
Bobo “stands up for what she believes in, doesn’t in any way compromise her beliefs [and is] very sincere,” he said. “Whatever she says she does, and she’s been a real pleasure to work with.”
Delegate Bobo says she is leaving politics for private life, to spend time with her grandson Zach Lederer, who entered hospice care last month after a two-year battle with brain cancer.
With nearly nine weeks down and four to go, Bobo is speeding toward the end of her final session in Annapolis.
But while she’s been down at the State House tying up loose ends, she’s often found her mind wandering back home to Howard County and her grandson, Zach.
“I’ve been looking forward to this eagerly, but also with curiosity — what’s it going to feel like, being down here, knowing I’m going to do these things for the last time?” she said. “But then along came Zachary, and it’s very different. I’m there, I’m doing my job, I know everything that’s going on, but I don’t think I’m experiencing everything as clearly as I would have, because that’s what’s in the forefront of my mind and my heart all the time.”
Bobo speaks fondly of her relationship with her 20-year-old grandson, who she says she’s “learned more from than anyone in all my life.”
To read the full article on Delegate Bobo’s retirement, visit the Baltimore Sun online.
March 7, 2014
In a March 6 Capital-Gazette opinion column, former Maryland legislator Gerald Winegrad attacked local government critics of the stormwater remediation fee mandated by 2012 legislation, arguing that the fee is needed to undo past growth decisions and population growth that have dramatically increased water pollution runoff in the Chesapeake Bay.
Political hypocrisy has reached new levels in the debate on fees to pay to clean up polluted stormwater runoff.
Many local politicians have attacked this polluter-pays concept and, after proclaiming their love for the Chesapeake Bay, pledged to block these fees while offering no viable alternatives. …
Unfortunately, as sewage treatment plants reach capacity due to population growth, the nitrogen reductions will get us back to where we were before the [Bay Restoration Fund], after expending more than $200 million in [Anne Arundel County]. This means much more will have to be done to reduce the biggest source of county pollutants: stormwater runoff.
Clean Water Act requirements are forcing the counties to address this runoff. The cost to undo 100 years of poor development practices is estimated at $900 million in [Anne Arundel].
It is well past time for our elected leaders to face up to the need to fund these necessary measures.
March 7, 2014
A March 5 Capital-Gazette article reported on the General Assembly’s continuing rejection of bills that would repeal or exempt certain counties from the requirement to enact a stormwater remediation fee.
A House committee shot down a GOP proposal to repeal Maryland’s mandate that its 10 largest jurisdictions assess stormwater fees.
The House Environmental Matters Committee voted 14-7 to kill House Bill 50, a proposal sponsored by Dels. Wayne Norman, R-Harford, and Cathy Vitale, R-Severna Park. …
Another repeal bill sponsored by Sen. Allan Kittleman, R-Howard, was killed by the Senate Education, Health and Environmental Affairs Committee.
Elsewhere, a bill that would have exempted Anne Arundel County from the mandate fell in the county’s Republican-controlled House delegation in February. A bill that would have exempted Frederick County failed as well.
March 7, 2014
As previously reported by Conduit Street, legislation passed in 2013 requires public bodies to designate one individual who is an employee, officer, or member of the public body to receive training on the requirements of Maryland’s open meetings law. The deadline for the designation and training requirements is April 1.
While most county public bodies have already complied with the designation and training requirements, this article provides instructions on how to comply for those public bodies that have not yet done so.
DESIGNATION OF AN INDIVIDUAL TO RECEIVE OPEN MEETINGS TRAINING
Once a public body has designated an individual to receive the training, the public body must forward the name of the designated individual to the Maryland Open Meetings Compliance Board. That can be done by an e-mail to OpenGov@oag.state.md.us, with a subject line specifying “Open Meetings training designee(s) of [name of public body].”
OPEN MEETINGS TRAINING REQUIREMENT
Because of the proximity to the training deadline, the only way for a newly designated individual to complete the training is through an online class on the requirements of the open meetings law offered by the Office of the Attorney General and the University of Maryland’s Institute for Governmental Service and Research. The online class is available here , and the designated individual can print out a certificate of completion. Public bodies should retain (and not send to the Board) records that the training has occurred.
If you have any questions or concerns regarding the designation and training HB 139 or its requirements, please contact Les Knapp (email@example.com / 410.269.0043) at MACo.
Open Meeting Compliance Board Instructions on the Designation and Training Requirements
March 6, 2014
This week the President released his education budget request. The request for about $69 billion in discretionary appropriations represents an increase of nearly 2% over the previous year, according to the US Department of Education. The budget request focuses on the President’s priorities, as described,
Three-quarters of that $69 billion goes to financial aid to students in college, special education, and high-poverty schools (Title I). The remaining 23 percent targets specific areas designed to leverage major changes in the educational opportunity and excellence for all students, including expansion of access to high-quality preschool, data-driven instruction based on college- and career-ready standards, making college more affordable, and mitigating the effects of poverty on educational outcomes.
Image courtesy of US Department of Education
One notable element of the budget request is the commitment to provide funding for universal Pre-K. Two programs in particular aim to achieve this goal. As described,
Preschool for All ($1.3 billion in mandatory funds, as part of a 10-year, $75 billion commitment): This new voluntary preschool federal-state partnership administered by the Department of Education will build upon and strengthen existing state systems to provide all low- and moderate-income 4-year-olds with high-quality, publicly-funded preschool. Funded jointly by states and the federal government, the program also will promote access to full-day kindergarten and encourage the expansion of high-quality programs to include children from middle-class families and children under four.
Preschool Development Grants ($500 million): The President is proposing $500 million—double last year’s funding—for Preschool Development Grants. An additional $250 million would be provided through the Opportunity, Growth, and Security Initiative, for a total discretionary investment of $750 million. These grants will help states, local education agencies, and local governments build the fundamental components of a high-quality preschool system or expand proven early learning programs.
For more information, read the US Department of Education’s coverage of the President’s budget request.
March 6, 2014
Lt. Governor Anthony Brown addressed MACo’s Legislative Committee on Wednesday, March 5 to discuss issues of importance pending before the Maryland General Assembly. Lt. Governor Brown began by thanking our local elected officials for their service and for working in partnership with the Administration. He then discussed the Administration’s priorities for the session.
Lt. Governor Brown Addressing MACo’s Legislative Committee, Courtesy of Executive Office of the Governor
With respect to the fiscal 2015 budget, he commented that the most controversial item is transfer of the $100 million in pension reinvestment savings to the State’s General Fund. He said that it is his hope that “pensions are not looked to to balance the budget in the future.”
A major initiative of the Lt. Governor’s is the expansion of Pre-K education. He commented that a modest step is being taken in the fiscal 2015 budget towards mandatory Pre-K and that he hopes that by 2018, half-day Pre-K will be instituted across the state. He would like to have full day Pre-K in place in 2022. As Pre-K is expanded, he said we should leverage non-profit early childhood providers.
The Lt. Governor also commented on raising the minimum wage and the administration’s domestic violence package.
Dorchester County Commissioner, Richard Price, asked the Lt. Governor about the loss of Highway User Revenue (HUR). In response, the Lt. Governor stated that he would like to “lock in a formula that could be fully funded from year to year.” He said he would also look at what is in arrears and then determine “what can reasonably be made good on over a period of time.”
Members of the MACo Legislative Committee include representatives from Maryland’s 23 counties and Baltimore City. Each county gets one vote on the Legislative Committee. The committee meets regularly on Wednesdays at the MACo office during the General Assembly Session. During the interim, the committee meets quarterly to develop legislative priorities for the coming year.
Note: An original version of this article inadvertently left the impression that the Lieutenant Governor supported the long term use of pension funds to resolve the state budget shortfalls. The error has been corrected, and the correct phrasing (…it is his hope that “pensions are not looked to to balance the budget in the future.”) appears above. MACo regrets the error.
March 6, 2014
As reported in the Baltimore Sun, the House of Delegates gave preliminary approval Wednesday to legislation that would raise Maryland’s minimum wage from $7.25 to $10.10, rejecting many of the amendments offered by opponents.
The action clears the way for a final House vote on the measure Friday. Votes on amendments indicated that proponents of the increase — a top priority of Gov. Martin O’Malley — have more than enough votes to pass the bill and send it to the Senate.
And as reported by the Washington Post, the Governor said that he is disappointed that the House of Delegates dropped a provision from his minimum-wage bill that called for automatic increases based on inflation and said he will lobby the Senate to restore it.
O’Malley’s bill, which faces a final vote in the House on Friday, would gradually raise Maryland’s minimum wage from $7.25 an hour to $10.10 by 2017. The provision struck by the House would have made additional increases automatic after that.
“I was disappointed,” O’Malley said. “We’ll keep pushing. They at least left $10.10 in. They didn’t split the loaf that way.”
For more information, see the full story from the Baltimore Sun, the full story from the Washington Post, and our previous posts on Conduit Street, Administration Minimum Wage Bill: $10.10 By 2016, O’Malley Rallies to Raise Maryland’s Minimum Wage, Statewide Minimum Wage Bill Could Affect New Local Laws.