County “Watch List” For Final Day of Session

With the 2013 legislative session winding up today, a number of issues are not yet resolved (as usual). MACo and county officials will be watching several items that will receive final passage or defeat by midnight.

SPEED CAMERA REFORM

What bill to watch: HB 929 and SB 207 both passed the House with a range of amendments seeking a compromise among multiple parties. The Senate must agree to the House version, or else work toward a resolution through new amendments. The Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee now holds the bill for its response to the House proposal.

Where are the counties: MACo has supported the House compromise language, adding transparency and responsiveness to these public safety programs. Continued attention on vendor contracts has been a sticking point, as counties are wary of civil liability arising from abrupt abridgement of existing contractual relationships.

STORMWATER FEES

What bill to watch: HB 508 passed the House to expand the state-mandated stormwater fee (to be imposed by ten counties) to state facilities, but Senate amendments have dramatically changed its direction, instead creating low caps on the fee’s application to nonprofits. The bill is still in the Senate, having been delayed on the Senate floor amidst the complicated amendments offered.

Where are the counties: Affected counties and MACo have resisted amendments that would narrow the fee system through broad exemptions, and prefer the version of the bill passed by the House.

PREVAILING WAGE

What bill to watch: HB 1098 has passed the House with amendments that would apply the state’s prevailing wage to every project with any state funding.

Where are the counties: Counties have raised concerns that this broad new application would increase project costs for schools, jails, libraries, infrastructure and countless other investments — making fewer projects affordable. MACo continues to work with Senate leaders to either reject or refine the bill.

OTHER MACo ISSUES

MACo also continues to follow several issues that appears to be on their way toward resolution, but have not yet completed the legislative process. Among them:

MACo’s 10-year planning bill — HB 409 and SB 671 need to receive final approval, but both are moving in identical form with broad support.

HB 745, applying the 9-1-1 fee to wireless prepaid phone users, is passing the House but not yet completed.

A study of “Zero Waste” in SB 799 is on the Senate floor, but has not yet received any action in the Senate. MACo opposed the original bill, but worked to direct much of the language in the revised bill calling for long term study of the new recycling and landfill goals, and the compliance mechanisms to effect them.

Michael Sanderson

Executive Director Maryland Association of Counties
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