2014 Session Wrap-Up: Libraries & Community Colleges

This post summarizes the status of bills MACo tracked on community colleges and libraries in the 2014 Legislative Session.

Libraries – Regional Resource Centers and County Public Libraries – Funding: HB 1063/SB 430 increases the per capita dollar amount that is required to be provided to each regional resource center and county public library system participating in the State’s library program beginning in fiscal year 2016. MACo supported this legislation that creates an incremental increase in State funding for libraries and regional resource centers, with the aim of restoring the library funding that the State necessarily reduced during the recession. A restoration of State funding will help libraries to continue to offer community services that are key to our full economic recovery. Status: SB 430 was passed by the General Assembly and is awaiting the Governor’s signature.

Higher Education – Community Colleges – Tuition Reductions for Unemployed Individuals: HB 484 authorizes a community college to establish a tuition reduction program for individuals who are receiving unemployment benefits. MACo supported the bill with an amendment to require that a community college consult with local governing bodies before establishing a tuition reduction program to assess the potential effect of a tuition reduction program on community college programs and funding.  Status: The bill received an unfavorable report from its committee and was withdrawn by the Sponsor.

Education – Community Colleges – Collective Bargaining: HB 490/SB 749 establishes a uniform statewide collective bargaining process for community college employees. Current law allows for county governments to establish collective bargaining processes for community colleges within their jurisdictions. Baltimore, Prince George’s, and Montgomery Counties have collective bargaining at their community colleges, all established through this local “opt-in” mechanism. This legislation would repeal those systems and require a more detailed and restrictive collective bargaining process in all community colleges. MACo opposed this legislation stating that it could  create potentially unsustainable costs for counties, who necessarily provide substantial funding for community colleges throughout Maryland. Status: The bills were not passed by either House or Senate committees and did not proceed further.

For more information on the bills in this article, contact Robin Clark, (410) 269-0043.

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