The segments below provide a brief overview of MACo’s work in the area of parks and recreation 2023 General Assembly.
County government parks and recreation departments provide a range of public recreation programs for all segments of the population and maintain a large network of open spaces throughout Maryland. MACo’s advocacy seeks to support the efforts of county parks and recreations by urging state and federal funding support and defending local determination of priorities in parks and recreation.
In addition to the swearing-in of a new governor, the 445th legislative session kicked off with more relaxed health and safety measures compared to the turbulence of the last few years. This enabled MACo’s policy team to dynamically engage with private-sector stakeholders, legislators, and representatives from all divisions of government. Under these more conventional circumstances, MACo’s advocacy led to a plethora of favorable outcomes for its members.
MACo supported HB631/SB470. This bill establishes land conservation goals for the State; a 40 x 40 Land Conservation Implementation Grant Program; and a Local Land Trust Revolving Loan Program (along with an authorization for allocation of specified fiscal 2023 transfer tax revenues to the program). The bill also authorizes specified annual stewardship grants. HB 631/SB 470 Maryland the Beautiful Act passed the General Assembly.
MACo supported HB503/SB923. This bill establishes a Greenspace Equity Program in the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to provide grants to eligible applicants to enhance the public health and livability of overburdened communities and underserved communities. HB 503/SB 923 Natural Resources – Greenspace Equity Program – Establishment passed the General Assembly.
MACo opposed HB207/SB291. This bill establishes that any provision in a contract or agreement relating to the use of a “recreational facility” that purports to release the recreational facility from, or indemnify or hold harmless the recreational facility against, liability for bodily injury caused by or resulting from the negligence or other wrongful act of the recreational facility or its agents or employees is against public policy and is void and unenforceable. HB207/SB291 Courts – Prohibited Liability Agreements – Recreational Facilities failed in the General Assembly.
MACo supported HB299 with amendments. This bill requires the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) to establish a system to track the chain of custody of “synthetic turf” installed on sports and playing fields in the State, as specified. HB299 Environment – Synthetic Turf – Chain of Custody failed in the General Assembly.