County Issues Hanging in the Balance During Session’s Final Days

As always, several substantial county issues remain in play during the final days of the 2015 General Assembly session, which ends at midnight Monday evening. The state’s budget and overall fiscal plan remain unresolved, with widespread uncertainty on its final effects for school funding, program open space, drug treatment, among many other unsettled matters.

Among other issues in MACo’s focus:

-Will the General Assembly repeal the mandated stormwater fee (aka “rain tax”) and replace them with a rigid and costly regime of compliance requirements and steep penalties?

-Will the state dramatically lift the liability limits that balance local governments’ responsibility to satisfy claims against public employees for on-the-job torts?

-Will a late-session revival of “body camera” legislation leave local police departments flexibility to use these tools effectively without costly mandates or unreasonable exposure?

-Will state legislation pre-empting local regulation and oversight of “drones” allow for a stakeholder study after three years of industry maturation to assess the need for new laws or local tools?

-Will a broad health insurance reform limit options for local governments seeking to self-insure with stop-loss insurance, or will governments retain some extended window to select their coverage through means like the LGIT-sponsored health co-op?

-Will MACo’s minor changes to school funding laws, passed unanimously by the Senate, see any attention in the House, or will the proposal simply fail for lack of any discussion or vote?

Michael Sanderson

Executive Director Maryland Association of Counties