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Vanderbilt Study: Tennessee Pre-K Program Shows Disappointing Results

Children participating in Tennessee’s Voluntary Pre-K (VPK) program were more likely than those who didn’t attend the program to need special education services and showed higher instances of school rule violations in later grades, according to the latest results of an ongoing study by researchers at Vanderbilt University.

The researchers also found no differences in attendance rates between students who enrolled in the pre-K program and those who didn’t, and that VPK had no effects on attendance and retention in the later grades.

According to the Vanderbilt Study:

The inauspicious findings of the current study offer a cautionary tale about expecting too much from state pre-k programs. The fact that the Head Start Impact study – the only other randomized study of a contemporary publicly funded pre-k program – also found few positive effects after the pre-k year adds further cautions (Puma et al., 2012).

State-funded pre-k is a popular idea, but for the sake of the children and the promise of pre-K, credible evidence that a rather typical state pre-k program is not accomplishing its goals should provoke some reassessment. It is apparent that the phrase “high-quality pre-K” does not convey enough about what the critical elements of a program should be.

Expanding “high-quality” pre-kindergarten for all four-year-olds and low-income three-year-olds is a hallmark of the [Kirwan] Commission on Innovation and Excellence’s preliminary report. As previously reported on Conduit Street, the Early Childhood Education workgroup, one of four workgroups tasked with costing out the Commission’s preliminary recommendations, last week released initial cost estimates for expanding high-quality, full-day pre-K in Maryland — and the numbers are staggering.

According to the workgroup, expanding “high-quality,” full-day pre-K to low-income (300% FPL) three- and four-year-olds in Maryland would cost approximately $1 billion.

The Commission’s four working groups will continue working to develop a consensus on the design, implementation plan, and cost for each of the preliminary recommendations. Once the working groups have completed their work, they will present their recommendations and cost estimates to the full Commission. The chair will work with staff and consultants to develop a draft cost estimate based on the recommendations of the working groups for the full Commission’s consideration.

The 2016 Commission on Innovation and Excellence in Education was created by legislation introduced in the General Assembly. The Commission membership parallels that of the earlier Thornton Commission.

Learn more about the Kirwan Commission and its efforts to ensure that Maryland students receive a fair, equitable, and high-quality education at the MACo Summer Conference session “Angling for Educational Excellence: Kirwan 2.0.” The session will be held from 10:15 -11:15 am on Saturday, August 18.


  • Dr. William “Brit” Kirwan, Chair, Commission on Innovation and Excellence in Education
  • The Honorable Craig Rice, Council Member, Montgomery County
  • The Honorable William Valentine, Commissioner, Allegany County

Moderator: The Honorable Maggie McIntosh, Maryland House of Delegates

The 2018 MACo Summer Conference will be held August 15-18 at the Roland Powell Convention Center in Ocean City, Maryland. This year’s theme is “Water, Water Everywhere.”

Learn more about MACo’s Summer Conference:

US House Passes Bill Restricting EPA From Enforcing Bay TMDL

Baltimore Sun article (2018-07-19) reported that the United States House of Representatives has passed a bill that would limit the ability of the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from assessing penalties against those states that fail to meet their water pollution reduction goals under the Chesapeake Bay Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL). The bill would still have to pass the Senate, which has already rejected a previous measure sent over by the House.

While considering a bill on budget appropriations for the EPA and Department of the Interior, Republican Representative Bob Goodlatte (Virginia) again proposed the prohibition as an amendment. According to the article, the amendment passed 213-202 with Maryland’s congressional delegation voting 7-0 against the amendment (Representative Steny Hoyer did not vote).

From the article:

Chesapeake Bay Foundation President William C. Baker called the amendment “shortsighted” and said it threatens progress at improving the bay’s health. …

The Senate did not approve a similar amendment the House adopted last year. Gov. Larry Hogan joined environmentalists in urging the upper chamber to reject the proposal in February, as it faced a deadline to fund the federal government.

Useful Links

Prior Conduit Street Coverage on Goodlatte EPA Restrictions


Local Governments Across the Nation Respond to Airbnb & Short-Term Rental Challenge

A Sustainable Cities Network article (2018-07-18) highlighted the actions some local governments have taken across the United States in response to the burgeoning growth of Airbnb and similar short-term rental models. Short-term rentals, such as those offered through services like Airbnb, offer both positives and negatives. They can encourage tourism and provide homeowners with extra income, both of which can help a local economy. However, they can also attract commercial investors and when the concentration of short-term rentals reaches a tipping point, actually destabilize residential neighborhoods, reduce long-term rental options, and threaten jobs in the local hospitality industry.

MACo has supported addressing both the regulation and taxation issues posed by short-term rental properties. The Maryland General Assembly has considered legislation on short-term rentals for several years but nothing has passed to date. The article looked at how several local governments in other states have tried to address this challenging and complex issue.

Boston (Massachusetts)

The article focused on the efforts of Boston, which saw a dramatic spike in commercial investors purchasing residential properties to use as short-term rentals starting around 2013. The issue was brought into focus after a coalition of advocacy groups provided research from the University of Massachusetts showing the increasingly negative effects the short-term rental trend was having on the city’s workers and residents.  After being presented with the data, the city’s elected officials took action:

In June 2018, the Boston City Council passed an ordinance eliminating investor unit listings and regulating other short-term residential rentals. It established a registration and data collection system that will allow the city to more effectively monitor the impacts of this industry on its residential housing supply. “At the same time, it continues to allow owner-occupants to rent out extra rooms on AirBnB for as many as 365 days, or their entire home while on vacation,” the ordinance explains.

[Fenway Community Development Corporation representative Colleen] Fitzpatrick says that having data about who owns properties and how they are managed as rentals is a very important piece of the puzzle for city leaders to possess. It would be helpful, but not practical, to access the databases of companies such as AirBnB, which has a very sophisticated registration platform. Without access to information, it can be difficult for communities to move from registration to enforcement.

Fitzpatrick also noted in the article that the purpose of the ordinance was not to eliminate short-term rentals but rather find the balance between allowing short-term rentals and having stable communities and housing/long-term rental options.

Miami Beach (Florida)

The article discussed how Miami Beach has struggled to enforce its short-term rental regulations, which limit the location of short-term rentals based on tourist appeal and neighborhood character. For rentals less than six months and one day, homeowners must: (1) submit an affidavit stating that their home is located in an approved short-term rental area; (2) obtain a business tax receipt and resort tax account; and (3) if part of a condo association, show that the association allows short-term rentals. Single-family homes are prohibited from engaging in short-term rentals. Violations result in the eviction of tenants and fines for the owner starting at $20,000.

Denver, Estes Park, and Larimer County (Colorado)

The article noted that Denver has imposed both regulations and taxes on short-term rentals, which generated $1.1 million in the first eight months of 2017. The property registration rate is estimated at around 70 percent.

Nearby Estes Park and Larimer County jointly developed short-term rental regulations to ensure consistency within their jurisdictions. All short-term rental property owners must register and pay an application fee of $200 plus $50 per bedroom. The joint ordinance: (1) sets caps on rentals within residential zones and limits occupancy to eight people per home unless exempted after a review process; (2) requires the designation of a local representative of property manager to handle complaints; and (3) prohibits employee housing, attainable housing, and accessory dwelling units from being registered.

Walla Walla (Washington)

The city of Walla Walla passed a controversial ordinance that prohibited short-term rentals for properties that were not owner occupied for at least 275 days per year and limited rentals to 29 days at a time. Owners must also register short-term rentals as a business and pay applicable taxes. The article described the controversy surrounding the ordinance and the implementation challenges as many short-term renters could not meet the short timeline for the registration and taxation requirements.

Useful Links

Prior Conduit Street Coverage of Airbnb Issues



New Course Trains High School Students to Be 9-1-1 Telecommunicators

Students in Anne Arundel County will participate in the country’s first-ever program aimed at training high schoolers to be 9-1-1 telecommunicators. Glen Burnie High School is set to launch the program next year, which will focus on teaching students how to respond to a person calling 9-1-1 in distress and how to operate the technology in today’s 9-1-1 centers.

According to The Baltimore Sun:

Twenty-two applied to take “Police Communications: Entry Level Call Taker Training,” a yearlong elective class that includes classroom instruction, simulations and visits to the Anne Arundel County Police Department’s 911 dispatch center.

The 15 who are selected will learn computer-aided dispatch software; mapping location skills; and laws, policies and procedures for taking, screening and dispatching calls, according to the course description.

The Anne Arundel County Police Department, who proposed the program, hopes the class will help to fill vacancies at its 9-1-1 call centers, as well as 9-1-1 call centers across the state. High stress, training standards, and long hours have led to a nationwide shortage of 9-1-1 telecommunicators.

Maryland citizens demand and expect 9-1-1 emergency service to be reliable and efficient. Next-generation technology is required to keep up with this increasingly complex public safety function – improving wireless caller location, accommodating incoming text/video, and managing crisis-driven call overflows. Maryland must accelerate its move toward NG911, deliver these essential services equitably across the state, and assure effective coordination with communications providers.

Counties encourage efforts to enhance emergency communications in Maryland. HB 634/SB 285 – Commission to Advance Next Generation 9-1-1 Across Maryland – Establishment, a 2018 MACo Legislative Initiative, urges a statewide effort to guide this critical transition, harnessing public safety industry leadership and expertise to address complex public safety concerns that will help Maryland prepare for the deployment of a statewide Next Generation 9-1-1 (NG911) system that our residents expect and deserve.

Senate Bill 285, sponsored by Senator Cheryl Kagan, passed the Senate unanimously on February 20. Its cross-file, House Bill 634, sponsored by Delegate Michael Jackson, passed the House of Delegates unanimously on March 15. Governor Hogan signed the legislation into law on April 24th.

At this year’s MACo Summer Conference, learn best practices for assessing, planning, and developing maintenance routines to keep Geographic Information Systems (GIS) data NG911 compliant.

Calibrating the Compass: GIS in a Next Gen 9-1-1 World

Description: Most 9-1-1 centers determine a mobile caller’s location based on technology that was adopted two decades ago…before cell phones were equipped with GPS. Next Generation 9-1-1 (NG911) will deliver more accurate location data – similarly to how apps like Uber can pinpoint your exact location – which will allow calls to be routed to the correct jurisdictions faster, potentially saving lives. NG911 will rely on Geographic Information Systems (GIS) for call routing, call handling, call delivery, location validation, and emergency response. At this session, county leaders will discuss best practices for assessing, planning, and developing maintenance routines to keep GIS data NG911 compliant.


  • Jack Markey, Director, Division of Emergency Management, Frederick County
  • Kathy Lewis, GIS Specialist, Fire and EMS Communications, Charles County
  • Patrick Callahan, GIS Manager, Office of Information Technology, Prince George’s County
  • Matthew Sokol, GIS Program Manager, Maryland Department of Information Technology

Moderator: The Honorable Cheryl Kagan, Maryland State Senate

Date/Time: Thursday, August 16, 2018; 3:30 pm – 4:30 pm

MACo’s 2018 Summer Conference will be held Aug. 15-18 at the Roland Powell Convention Center, in Ocean City, MD.

Learn more about MACo’s Summer Conference:

Conduit Street Podcast: On the Road with MACo, “Staggering” Price of Pre-K, & Primary Election Roundup

On the latest episode of the Conduit Street Podcast, Kevin Kinnally and Michael Sanderson discuss MACo’s odyssey across Maryland, update the “too close to call” county primary races, and explore the potential implications of the Kirwan Commission’s staggering cost estimates for expanding high-quality, full-day pre-K in Maryland.

Listen here:

MACo has made the podcast available through both iTunes and Google Play Music by searching Conduit Street Podcast. You can also listen on our Conduit Street blog with a recap and link to the podcast.

You can listen to previous episodes of the Conduit Street Podcast on our website.

Useful Links

Previous Conduit Street Coverage: Expanding Pre-K Comes with “Staggering” Price Tag

Previous Conduit Street Coverage: Some County Primary Races Still Too Close to Call (Updated)

NACo Names New President: San Diego California Supervisor Greg Cox

San Diego California Supervisor Greg Cox has been sworn in as NACo’s President for the 2018-2019 term.

Elections were held on July 16, 2016 during NACo’s Annual Conference & Exposition’s in Davidson County/Nashville, Tennessee. Cox is joined on the NACo executive leadership team by First Vice President Mary Ann Borgeson, Douglas County, Nebraska commissioner; Second Vice President Gary Moore, Boone County, Kentucky judge/executive, and Immediate Past President Roy Charles Brooks, Tarrant County, Texas commissioner.

From left to right: Second Vice President Gary Moore, Boone County, Kentucky judge/executive; First Vice President Mary Ann Borgeson, Douglas County, Nebraska Commissioner; President Greg Cox, San Diego, California Supervisor; and Immediate Past President Roy Charles Brooks, Tarrant County, Texas commissioner. (photo source: NACo County News)

The NACo Annual Conference & Exposition draws a cross section of elected officials and county staff from across the country. Attendees help shape NACo’s federal policy agenda, network, and share best practices to help improve the lives of their residents and the efficiency of county government.

A delegation of county officials and staff represented Maryland at the annual conference by serving on NACo policy steering committees; attending educational sessions covering a wide range of topics including agriculture and rural affairs, transportation and infrastructure, health, justice and public safety, tax and finance, technology, resiliency, environment, energy, and land use; and by voting to shape the NACo leadership and federal policy agenda for the next year.

Follow NACo County News for more information.

Baltimore Holds Hearing on Short-Term Rental Regulation

Hotel industry and short-term rental hosts clash on caps at city hearing on new regulations. 

The Baltimore City Council held a hearing Thursday on a bill that would regulate and tax short-term rentals such as Airbnb.

As reported by The Baltimore Sun:

The nearly 1,300 hosts renting out 2,105 units in Baltimore that generated $11.3 million last year in revenue [sic] not subject to the same taxes applied to hotels — which brought in roughly $30.5 million in taxes in fiscal year 2017.

The bill, introduced by Councilman Eric Costello and Council President Bernard C. “Jack” Young, would levy Baltimore’s 9.5 percent hotel tax on short-term rentals, as well as introduce licensing requirements for these properties.

According to the article, the most contentious provisions of the bill involve caps on the number of properties and days hosts can rent out. Under the bill as introduced short-term rentals would generate between $587,000 and $1 million in hotel tax revenues annually. Under amendments to the most contentious provisions they would generate between $1.6 million and $2.2 million under the proposed amendments. The city council will hold another hearing, with hopes of generating a compromise, before moving forward with the bill.

Baltimore City is not alone in trying to address these issues. Montgomery County passed legislation that went into effect July 1, 2018 to regulate short-term rentals. Additionally, MACo supported statewide legislation during the 2018 general session that would have required short-term rental platforms and their hosts to be registered with the Comptroller. The legislation did not pass.

For more information read the full article in The Baltimore Sun

Related coverage from Conduit Street:

Montgomery to Regulate Short-Term Rentals

Short-Term Rental Bill Dies in House Committee

New House of Delegates Leadership Unveiled

Maryland Reporter article (2018-07-19) reported that Maryland House of Delegates Speaker Michael Busch has made major leadership changes to the House as a result of recent primary results. Key changes include:

  • Delegate Luke Clippinger (Baltimore City) becomes chair of the Judiciary Committee
  • Delegate Vanessa Atterbeary (Howard County) becomes vice-chair of the Judiciary Committee
  • Delegate Eric Bromwell (Baltimore County) becomes vice-chair of the Economic Matters Committee
  • Delegate Joseline Pena-Melnyk ( Prince George’s and Anne Arundel Counties) becomes vice-chair of the Health and Government Operations Committee
  • Delegate Kathleen Dumais (Montgomery County) becomes Majority Leader

The article included the full text of Busch’s announcement. Here are Busch’s thoughts on the appointments of Dumais and Clippinger:

“There was no better choice for House Majority Leader than Kathleen [Dumais] leading us in to the next term,” said Speaker Busch. “Kathleen has proven herself to be a consensus builder and is one of the hardest working members in the House of Delegates – often working from dawn until dusk. I am confident she will bring energy and focus to the Majority Leader position.” …

“This is the first change for leadership in the House Judiciary Committee in 25 years and Luke [Clippinger] is the right person for the job,” said Speaker Busch. “Criminal justice policy is evolving more rapidly every year and I am pleased to name an experienced practitioner to lead this committee for the next term. Luke has proven himself time and again as having the ability to work with people from all backgrounds and bring a common sense, forward-thinking approach to policy issues.”

The article also included additional appointments and subcommittee chair announcements.

Tool Helps Counties Measure Access to Federal Community Development Funding

A new Community Development Financial Flows data tool created by the Urban Institute helps show how counties fare in accessing federal community investment funds.

From The Urban Institute:

We measured federally sponsored or incentivized community development capital to all US counties with populations greater than 50,000 (which accounts for 88 percent of the US population) using data from 2011 to 2015. We tracked funding in four dimensions—housing, small business, impact finance, and other community development—and created a combined measure that averages those four categories.

To see how your county fares in accessing federal community development funding check out the Community Development Financial Flows data tool. For an analysis of top and bottom ranking counties as well as what the rankings suggest about capacity read The Urban Institutes blog Urban Wire.

Rain Gardens Help Keep Bay Clean

According to an article in The Baltimore Sun, twenty percent of pollution in the Chesapeake Bay come from fertilizer, animal waste, and other contaminants found in stormwater. To help mitigate this pollution local governments, nonprofits, schools, jails are building bioretention sites to filter the runoff water before it hits the local waterways.

Also know as rain gardens, the Sun article highlights a 9,903 square foot rain garden that will be built by Trinity School in Ellicott City partnership between the Office of Community Sustainability and the Ellicott City-based Center for Watershed Protection on the school grounds. Over 1,000 such sites are located in Howard County.

The Baltimore Sun reports:

A bioretention site is a garden that catches and soaks up rainwater and runoff from nearby lawns and impervious surfaces, including parking lots, patios and roofs. Rain gardens look similar to typical gardens, but are dug deeper and include a mixture of soil, sand and compost.

At the Trinity School, the bioretention site will be designed to capture just over an inch of rainfall per storm, Hoffmann said. The school was a good choice for the bioretention site because of its available space near the discharge from the campus’ main water runoff pipes, meaning that the rain garden will easily catch stormwater runoff.

Read The Baltimore Sun to learn more.

Learn more about rain gardens and other local efforts to empower communities and residents to protect their environments at the MACo Summer Conference session “Green is the New Black.” The session will be held 2:15 -3:15 pm, Friday, August 17.

The 2018 MACo Summer Conference will be held August 15-18 at the Roland Powell Convention Center in Ocean City, Maryland. This year’s theme is “Water, Water Everywhere.”

Learn more about MACo’s Summer Conference: