2022 End of Session Wrap-Up: Liability and Courts

The segments below provide a brief overview of MACo’s work in the area of liability and courts in the 2022 General Assembly. 

County governments enforce laws, employ county residents, and maintain facilities throughout Maryland. Therefore county governments may be subject to acting as defendants in court, litigating cases involving employment benefits, injuries sustained on county properties, and various other subjects. MACo advocates on behalf of county governments to clarify the unique role that they serve as employers and public institutions, ensuring the balance of public interests that account for the burden placed upon taxpayers by excessive litigation.

The unique circumstances surrounding the 444th legislative session, including necessary health and safety measures, posed a challenge for lawmakers and advocates alike. Yet, despite the unusual circumstances, MACo’s advocacy still led to more positive outcomes for its members.

Follow these links for more coverage on our Conduit Street blog and Legislative Database


Court Regulations

MACo supported with amendments legislation to require courts across the state to provide remote audio-visual access to all public proceedings, adding to circuit court operational costs for counties. MACo had proposed an amendment to carve out county-funded circuit courts from the access requirement. HB 647 / SB 469 Courts – Remote Public Access failed in the General Assembly.

Bill InformationMACo Coverage

 

MACo supported legislation allowing counties and the City of Baltimore to serve as the first bodies, in addition to Maryland district courts, to hear an appeal of a civil citation issued based on local law. HB 1448 District Court – Concurrent Civil Jurisdiction – Violation of Ordinances passed the General Assembly and awaits the Governor’s signature.

Bill InformationMACo Coverage

 


Public Employees

MACo supported legislation to increase the penalties for intentionally causing physical injury to a bus operator, a train operator, a light rail operator, a paratransit operator, a station attendant, or any other individuals providing public transit services. SB 208 Criminal Law – Assault of Public Transportation Service Provider – Penalties failed in the General Assembly.

Bill InformationMACo Coverage  

 

MACo supported legislation to prohibit a person from making or sending a threat to a public health official with the intent to intimidate, interfere with, or impede a public health official from performing the official’s duties; and providing that a person who is in violation is guilty of a misdemeanor and subject to imprisonment of up to 90 days and a fine of up to $500, or both. HB 267 / SB 298 Criminal Law – Threat Against Public Health Official or Hospital Staff Member failed in the General Assembly.

Bill InformationMACo Coverage

 

MACo supported legislation extending criminal penalties for threats leveled against county health officers, election administrators, and building and housing inspectors as they attempt to carry out their duties. The legislation would later be amended to include county health officers only. HB 1409 / SB 956 Criminal Law – Threat Against Public Health Officials failed in the General Assembly.

Bill InformationMACo Coverage

 

MACo supported legislation to establish a minimum daily compensation of $200 per day for election judges for each election day and each early voting day actually served. HB 327 Elections – Election Judges – Minimum Compensation failed in the General Assembly.

Bill InformationMACo Coverage

 


Tort Claims Act   

MACo supported legislation to alter the definition of “local government” under the Local Government Tort Claims Act to include Delmarva Community Services, Inc. and the Maryland Association of Counties Pooled OPEB Trust Fund. HB 1474 / SB 993 – Local Government Tort Claims Act – Definition of Local Government failed in the General Assembly.

Bill InformationMACo Coverage

 


Opioid Restitution Fund 

MACo supported legislation codifying an agreement developed by the Maryland Attorney General and Maryland’s political subdivisions regarding the allocation of funds from several opioid medication-related settlements. MACo had played a prominent role in negotiating the underlying agreement. HB 1086 / SB 419 Opioid Restitution Fund – Appropriation of Settlement Funds and Grant Program passed the General Assembly and awaits the Governor’s signature.

Bill InformationMACo Coverage

 


Body-Worn Cameras

MACo supported legislation to require the State to assume responsibility for all costs and expenses related to the procurement and use of body-worn cameras by county law enforcement agencies. HB 1207 Public Safety – Body-Worn Cameras – Costs and Expenses failed in the General Assembly.

Bill InformationMACo Coverage

 


Court Fines and Fees

MACo supported with amendments legislation establishing a workgroup to study, and provide recommendations regarding, court-mandated fines and fees, in particular those affecting low-income residents. MACo had proposed amendment language incorporating more local government representation on the workgroup. HB 1199 Workgroup to Study the Impact of Court-Mandated Fines and Fees failed in the General Assembly.

Bill InformationMACo Coverage

 


More information on liability and courts-related legislation tracked by MACo during the 2022 legislative session

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