2019 End of Session Wrap-Up: Business Affairs

An overview of MACo’s advocacy on business affairs legislation in the 2019 General Assembly.

Through business affairs advocacy, MACo seeks to protect local regulatory and licensing authority, enhance citizens’ safety, and improve access to regulated services.

Follow links for more coverage on Conduit Street and MACo’s Legislative Database

Small Cells

Push Icons-DEFEATEDMACo strongly opposed legislation that would have significantly restricted local zoning authority over the installation of small cell “5G” wireless facilities — including in historically important, culturally significant, and aesthetically designed areas. This bill would have needlessly advanced corporate interests at the expense of community input and needs. This legislation was not advanced and instead referred to an interim study.

Bill Information | MACo Coverage

Push Icons-WONMACo supported a coalition-supported alternative piece of legislation that would have created a statewide community-based framework for installing small cell “5G” wireless facilities. Like its counterpart, this bill did not advance but was also referred to an interim study. Without this legislation, county governments and municipalities will continue to negotiate appropriate arrangements with cellular providers locally and with community input. This is a win for county governments.

Bill Information | MACo Coverage

Authorization of Activities

MACo offered amendments to legislation that would have broadly authorized bingo games at all senior citizen activities centers. Under MACo’s proposed amendments, the games would be authorized to occur at residential senior centers in order to avoid unintentional burdens being placed on local governments. The legislation did not move forward out of committee following its hearing.

Bill Information | MACo Coverage

Occupational Applications and Authorization

MACo opposed legislation that would have restricted local licensing authorities from denying an occupational license or certification to an applicant with a prior criminal nonviolent conviction under certain conditions. Counties were concerned that the bill might inadvertently create conflict with local licensing laws meant to protect vulnerable populations and residents in security-sensitive situations. This legislation passed out of committee with amendments on the last day of the Session, but was unable to advance further before the Session concluded.

Bill Information | MACo Coverage

MACo supported legislation to expand the authority of counties to regulate massage therapy establishments. Unscrupulous massage therapy parlors can be centers of human trafficking and prostitution. By requiring counties to consult with the State Board of Massage Therapy Examiners before adopting laws, both massage therapists and local governments will be able to act in the best interest of their communities. The legislation passed both chambers and will be sent to the Governor for his signature.

Bill Information | MACo Coverage

Energy Purchasing

MACo supported legislation that would have provided counties with an enhanced means to coordinate energy purchasing for their communities. Coordinated energy purchasing might foster additional competition leading to lower energy prices. In addition, it would allow counties to pursue environmental goals through renewable energy source selection. This bill was referred to an interim study.

Bill Information | MACo Coverage

For more information on business affairs legislation tracked by MACo during the 2019 legislative session, click here.