Signs of Life on Maintenance of Effort? “Penalty Delay” Bill Begins to Move

While two cross-filed bills with strong leadership sponsors were introduced early in session to modify the maintenance of effort waiver process, both HB 44 and SB 53 remain stalled in their committees of origin, even after the “crossover” deadline has come and gone.

However, today the House Ways and Means Committee’s Education Subcommittee took up, for the first time this session, legislation to address maintenance of effort. The bill they discussed, and passed, however, was HB 869, sponsored by Delegate Hixson. That bill passed subcommittee on a unanimous vote today, with amendments limiting it to one provision. The version of the bill now moving would make one change to the waiver process – in the case of a county missing MOE and denied a waiver, the bill would delay the withholding of education funds until the subsequent fiscal year, rather than the immediate fiscal year. MACo had supported this provision of the bill, arguing that the delay would give county governments and school boards a more reasonable time to plan for the withdrawn state funds.

HB 869 will now be reported to the full Ways and Means Committee, and then (presumably) to the full House. No crossfile of this bill was introduced in the Senate.

Michael Sanderson

Executive Director Maryland Association of Counties

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