Protecting First Responders is Crucial in Opioid Epidemic Battle

House Bill 924 would extend immunity protections to first responders and EMS personnel treating an individual for an opioid overdose, or what they believe is an opioid overdose. Administering naloxone, the overdose reversal drug, in multiple doses is sometimes necessary when an individual has overdosed on a particularly potent analog of an opioid (such as fentanyl). This legislation seeks to close a loophole in the immunity protections for those administering the care and would extend…

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Keep Continuity in County Construction Contract Process

MACo Research Director Robin Eilenberg testified before the Senate Education and Health and Environmental Affairs Committee in support with amendments of Senate Bill 778, "Procurement - Payment Security - Construction Contracts", on February 27, 2018. The bill would require contractors on construction contracts exceeding $100,000 to provide payment security in the amount of 100 percent of the total amount of the construction contract. This would remove local autonomy from the bonding requirement process for contracts. From…

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School Construction Costs Are Rising, Grant Funding Would Start to Right the Ship

MACo Research Director Robin Eilenberg testified in support of Senate Bill 611, "Education – Healthy School Facility Fund – Established", before the Senate Education and Health and Environmental Affairs Committee on February 27, 2018. This bill establishes the Healthy School Fund which provides grant money to public schools to improve school facilities. With school construction costs increasing by over 50% in the past five years, it has been difficult for the State and count governments…

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Special Event Zones Keep People Safe

MACo submitted testimony in support of Senate Bill 872, "Vehicle Law - Special Event Zones", to the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee on February 27, 2018. This bill allows local jurisdictions to establish special event zones on their roads where they can lower speed limits and control the flow of pedestrian and vehicle traffic during a special event. This gives county and local governments another tool to keep people safe during certain functions in the community.…

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Let Counties Determine Demand for Services in Their Community

MACo Legislative Director Natasha Mehu testified in opposition to House Bill 1577, "Human Services - Family Navigation Services - Provision and Funding", before the House Appropriations Committee on February 27, 2018. This bill would carve out funding for the provision of family navigator services and require the governor to fund each local program annually at no less than $1,665,915. Blocking off funding for one program from Local Management Boards usurps local authority and likely has the…

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Mandate Across Counties Establishes an Unpredictable Fiscal Impact

MACo Legislative Director Natasha Mehu testified before the House Appropriations Committee on February 27, 2018 in support with amendments of House Bill 1515, Public Safety – Length of Service Award Programs – Statewide Service". This bill would remove a mandate and authorize counties to create additional terms for length of service awards programs (LOSAPs). Counties generally prefer the ability to opt-in to programs that give local jurisdictions the independence to adapt the terms of the…

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Grant Funding Addresses Long-Term Community Behavioral Health Needs

MACo Policy Associate Kevin Kinnally testified in support of House Bill 1092, "Behavioral Health Crisis Response Grant Program - Establishment", before the House Health and Government Operations Committee on February 27, 2018. The proposed program allows local behavioral health authorities to apply for a competitive grant to expand or establish crisis response programs. Local jurisdictions would be afforded more funds to meet the behavioral health needs of the community through mobile crisis teams, on-demand walk-in services,…

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Counties: Help Local Health Departments “Keep Pace”

Core Funding from the State to local health departments has experienced significant cuts in the last 10 years, requiring local jurisdictions to fund far more than the required matching of State funds to ensure that critical community health services are being provided. House Bill 1620 alters the formula for Core Funding to an index that measures medical care inflation instead of general inflation. This accounts for the fact that medical care inflation tends to rise…

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MACo: Mattress Recycling Needs Collaborative Solution, Not a County Mandate

MACo Legal and Policy Counsel Les Knapp voiced concerns over a mattress and box spring recycling, littering, and job creation mandate before the House Environment and Transportation Committee on February 21. The legislation, HB 850, was sponsored by Delegate Terri Hill. HB 850 would require a county to include a strategy for managing the disposal of mattresses and box springs in their recycling plan by October 1, 2019. The strategy must include: (1) eliminating the disposal of…

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Conduit Street Podcast: Call If You Can, Text If You Must. Sunshine Laws, Attorney’s Fees, #LIFT4MD, & Beer Wars

On the latest episode of the Conduit Street Podcast, Kevin Kinnally and Michael Sanderson discuss the announcement of a statewide Text to 9-1-1 system, examine Maryland's Public Information Act (and why it needs an update), break down the "Access to Public Courts Act," preview #LIFT4MD day in Annapolis, and explain the beer battle in Maryland. 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…

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