An overview of MACo’s advocacy on school construction and capital budget legislation in the 2021 General Assembly.
County Governments partner with the State of Maryland to fund school construction projects throughout Maryland. K-12 school renovation and construction projects make up a substantial portion of any county’s capital budget, and the needs of Maryland students are consistently a high priority.
This year the Maryland General Assembly conducted a legislative session unlike any other due to the enduring COVID-19 pandemic. The unique circumstances surrounding the 442nd legislative session, including necessary health and safety measures, posed a challenge for lawmakers and advocates alike. Despite the unusual circumstances, MACo’s advocacy still led to more positive outcomes for its members.
For more information on Maryland’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic visit MACo’s COVID-19 resource page.
MACo opposed legislation that would have placed stricter and more burdensome regulations on local governments to lower the threshold for detectable lead in drinking water. While counties agree that this is an important health and safety issue, counties find the need for further requirements unnecessary. School Buildings – Drinking Water Outlets – Elevated Level of Lead (Safe School Drinking Water Act) passed both chambers and is awaiting the Governor’s signature.
MACo supported legislation that establishes the Workgroup on School Construction Incentives, which includes MACo as a stakeholder in the process of making recommendations on appropriate incentives within the school construction process. The legislation also makes revisions to the 21st Century School Facilities Act and Built to Learn Act. The 21st Century School Facilities Act and Built to Learn Act – Revisions passed both chambers and is awaiting the Governor’s signature.
MACo opposed legislation that would establish a new state policy to install at least one changing facility suitable for providing personal care for an adult to be installed in a public bathroom within a newly constructed or majorly renovated building. The bill does contain an exemption stating that a building inspector who has jurisdiction over a public building may determine that the installation is not practicable or would result in a failure to comply with applicable building standards governing access by individuals with disabilities. Public Buildings – Changing Facilities – Requirements passed both chambers and is awaiting the Governor’s signature.
MACo opposed legislation that would have placed a costly mandate on county governments to carry out a new state policy to place the maximum number of solar panels on a roof as specified during new construction or major renovation projects. Counties pointed out that complying with such a mandate regardless of the viability of solar energy options for a site would be costly and burdensome. Counites suggested a requirement to consider the viability of solar installations (and other renewable energy options like geothermal) for state-funded projects would be more acceptable. State-Funded Construction and Major Renovation Projects – Solar – Panels Requirement did not advance in the 2021 General Assembly following its public hearings.
For more on school construction & capital budget legislation tracked by MACo during the 2021 legislative session, click here.