The General Assembly’s 2019 Session has come to a close and it’s time to take stock of wins and losses for Maryland’s county governments.
As usual, MACo’s advocacy led to more positive outcomes for its members. Bills that we supported had a greater likelihood of passage, while bills we opposed had a larger tendency to fail. MACo also helped improve many pieces of legislation through articulating county positions in amendments and will continue to work with State partners in several areas of ongoing administrative improvement.
Next Generation 9-1-1 was one of the big winners from the 2019 session. Bi-partisan legislation to fuel enhancements to emergency response systems was the result of several years of advocacy, and leadership from the General Assembly and the public safety answering point community. 9-1-1 systems in Maryland are a local responsibility, yet the “next generation” technology to pinpoint the location of wireless callers, and convey multi-source data regarding the emergency to first responders requires a statewide partnership and investment. The passage of Carl Henn’s Law, named for a victim of 9-1-1 issues in Maryland Senator Cheryl Kagan’s district, a primary sponsor of the legislation, represents a partnership to bring Maryland’s 9-1-1 systems to the Next Generation of service. Senator Ed Reilly, Delegate Sue Krebs, and Delegate Michael Jackson also served on the Commission developing these recommendations, and spearheaded this important legislative success.
Continuing challenges for county governments include the failure of the General Assembly to pass legislation returning local health department funding to appropriate levels following devastating Recession-era cuts. Legal standards for workers’ compensation court cases involving county employers continued to erode this Session through new presumption legislation passed by the General Assembly. Finally, a much needed State funding infusion for school construction faltered in the final weeks of the legislative session, a disappointment for the many districts in need of facility renovation and development.
MACo’s legislative initiatives, priorities, and positions are directed by its membership. Elected representatives from every county government across Maryland and Baltimore City comprise MACo’s Legislative Committee.
The “one county, one vote” system of deciding the Association’s legislative strategies ensures that all counties have an equal voice. All 24 jurisdictions participated regularly in the weekly meetings throughout the Session – where they also engaged with policy leaders and advocates who joined the meeting to address county leadership.
Our policy staff has compiled updates and results on all of the bills the Legislative Committee decided to take action on this year.
For the 2019 End of Session Wrap-Up for each subject MACo covers, click below: