Registration Now Open: Maryland Land Conservation Conference – June 8

Registration is now open for the 2017 Maryland Land Conservation Conference that will be held June 8 at Pearlstone Conference and Retreat Center in Reisterstown, MD. This year’s conference theme is Thinking Broadly & Engaging Community – Strengthening Land Trusts for the Next Century and will feature diverse workshops and presentations that address the challenges and opportunities facing Maryland’s conservation community.

Early bird registration is $70 through Noon on April 17th. Click here to register.

The conference provides opportunity for land trusts, conservancies, local and state government agencies, heritage organizations, members of the agricultural community and other partners to network and exchange new ideas about the future of land conservation in the region. Registration includes continental breakfast, lunch, refreshments and educational sessions.

A copy of the preliminary conference program will be available soon.

Join MET for a full day of educational workshops, innovative discussions and peer-to-peer networking. For registration questions or more information about the 2017 Maryland Land Conservation Conference, please contact Tracy at metoutreach.dnr@maryland.gov.

MACo’s Weekly County News and Notes…from Twitter

The social media site Twitter has become a fast-moving setting for news, information, and advocacy on public affairs. We welcome followers of MACo’s own twitter feed for updates from the Conduit Street blog and other MACo hot topics, and often use Twitter to reach our own audience, and to hear from others following the same issues as county leaders.

Here are some tweets that caught our eye this week:

For more news and information:

Follow MACo
Follow Executive Director Michael Sanderson
Follow NACo
See Tweets on #mdpolitics

U.S. House Transportation Chair on Infrastructure Funding: Get Shovels to the Ground, Fast

The U.S. House Transportation Committee Chair recently suggested that states that can move projects ahead quickly will have an advantage when it comes to benefiting from any federal infrastructure funds in the coming months.

According the the Route Fifty article,

If a major infrastructure package takes shape, U.S. Rep. Bill Shuster, a Pennsylvania Republican who chairs the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, said a message for states would be: “you’ve got to get those dollars to shovels in the ground, fast.”

President Trump has called for a $1 trillion plan to direct public and private investment toward upgrading infrastructure assets around the U.S., such as roads, railways and airports.

Responding to a question about how to get money for new infrastructure investment distributed swiftly to help spur job growth—a priority for Trump—he replied: “Part of that mechanism we have to put in place is to reward states that are going to move very quickly.”

“We’ve got to get something done before next spring,” Shuster added, “whether it’s taxes, Obamacare, or health care reform, or infrastructure spending. Because the House of Representatives and a third of the Senate, they’re going to be on the line.”

Shuster said his hope is to have an infrastructure bill by this fall.

MACo Backs Compromise on Transportation Scorecard

MACo Executive Director Michael Sanderson testified in favor of the amended Administration bill (SB 307) which would repeal the controversial transportation scorecard law passed last year. This bill passed unanimously out of the Senate and was heard by the House Appropriations and Environment and Transportation committees on March 23.

Governor Hogan’s Administration introduced and supported the bill.

MACo’s testimony states,

This amended bill substantially reframes the 2016 legislation creating a “scorecard” for major transportation projects. The amended bill clarifies that the use of scoring from the statutory system will be purely advisory for a two-year period, while a designated work group convenes to consider refinements to its elements and effects. By eliminating the uncertainty regarding the potential immediate effect on project funding, SB 307 addresses the chief county concerns with the current law. Counties welcome an opportunity to help inform the ongoing work group efforts proposed in the amended bill.

Useful Links

Senate Bill 307

MACo’s testimony

Transportation Scorecard Compromise Passes Senate Unanimously

Follow MACo’s advocacy efforts during the 2017 legislative session here.

Register to Attend CEIWC’s 2017 Free Workers’ Comp Seminars

Register to attend one of Chesapeake Employers’ Insurance Company’s Workers’ Compensation Seminars. Specialists in safety services, premium audit, claims management along with legal professionals will provide a valuable half-day best practices overview.

Upcoming Seminar Dates:

  • Thursday, April 20 at the Pikesville Double Tree Hotel: Register here
  • Thursday, May 4 at the Easton Tidewater Inn: Register here
  • Thursday, October 5 at the Bowie Comfort Inn Hotel: Register here
  • Thursday, October 12 at the Frederick Holiday Inn and Conference Center: Register here

Registration will begin at 8:30 am and the seminar will go from 9:00 am until 1 pm. Admission is free but online reservations are required. Executive continental breakfast and refreshments will be provided.

Watch the YouTube video below to see why you should attend a policyholders seminar.

Key Presenters:

  • Elizabeth Torphy-Donzella, Esq., Shawe Rosenthal, LLP
  • Dr. Stephen Fisher, Director of Medical Services, Chesapeake Employers

Topics of the seminars’ informative presentations:

  • Employment Law – Best Practices to Avoid Wage and Hour Claims
  • Top 3 Most Common and Costly Injuries and Steps to Prevent Them
  • Understanding the Premium Audit Process
  • Chesapeake Employers’ Claims & Medical Health Services Team Approach for Better Claims Outcomes & an Improved E-Mod.
  • Chesapeake Employers’ Legal Defense Services Overview
  • Mock Workers’ Compensation Hearing with a Maryland Workers’ Comp. Commissioner

For more information please contact Carolyn Gutermuth at 410-494-2170. CEIWC is a MACo Gold Corporate Partner.

Register Now: Maryland Governor’s Business Summit 17 on May 18

Join Governor Hogan for the first Maryland Governor’s Business Summit on May 18, 2017 from 8am until 4pm. Explore topics on human capital, global trends and business strategy. Connect with a wide array of Maryland’s business leaders. The Summit will be at the Hilton Baltimore – Key Ballroom: 401 W Pratt Street Baltimore, MD 21201.

Governor Larry Hogan said,

“Great things are happening in Maryland. Our economic climate has gone from 49th in the nation to number 11 – the largest jump among states. Our companies are adding thousands of new jobs to our communities, more than 73,000 since January 2015.  We are making meaningful progress for business.  Let’s capture this momentum!”

Breakout Topics Include:

  • Redefining urban centers across Maryland
  • Entrepreneurship and innovation
  • Future of manufacturing in Maryland
  • Next generation learning environments
  • Top education leaders discuss innovation through partnerships
  • Maryland on the front lines of global threats

Tickets are currently available for $150. Click here to register.

Stay up-to-date with the Maryland Department of Commerce by subscribing to the Maryland Business Pulse newsletter.

Fun Fact: Did You Know that Basil Hayden, Namesake of a Famous Kentucky Bourbon, Actually Started His Distillery in St. Mary’s County?

Question: Did you know that Basil Hayden, namesake of a famous Kentucky bourbon, actually started his distillery in St. Mary’s County?

It’s true! Basil Hayden, Sr. was a Maryland Catholic who led a group of twenty-five Catholic families from Maryland into what is now Nelson County, Kentucky (near Bardstown) in 1785. Years ago, immigrants from Scotland and Ireland made their way to St. Mary’s and Charles counties, he said, but were lured to the Kentucky territory by “corn grants.” The grants, dispensed by the governor of Virginia, who then presided over the Kentucky territory, gave land to settlers who promised to grow corn.

The Kentucky settlers ended up growing much more corn than ” they needed. And so, these Scotch-Irish folks “did what they knew how to do,” O’Daniel said. “They made whiskey.”

st marys seal and mapSource: Senator Waugh, Wikipedia, the Washington Post and The Baltimore Sun

Do you have a fun fact to share about your county? If so, please send it to Kaley Schultze to be featured in MACo’s weekly Fun Fact on Conduit Street.

MACo’s Weekly County News and Notes…from Twitter

The social media site Twitter has become a fast-moving setting for news, information, and advocacy on public affairs. We welcome followers of MACo’s own twitter feed for updates from the Conduit Street blog and other MACo hot topics, and often use Twitter to reach our own audience, and to hear from others following the same issues as county leaders.

Here are some tweets that caught our eye this week:

For more news and information:

Follow MACo
Follow Executive Director Michael Sanderson
Follow NACo
See Tweets on #mdpolitics

Maryland Board of Public Works – March 22, 2017 Agenda

Maryland’s Board of Public Works reviews projects, contracts, and expenditure plans for state agencies – many of which have effect on county governments. It meets on alternating Wednesdays and the meetings are open to the public.  The meeting will be held in the Governor’s Reception Room (2nd floor) of the State House in Annapolis.

The Board’s next meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, March 22, 2017 at 10 a.m. Material for the upcoming meeting is available online:

For “frequently asked questions” about the Board’s charge and meetings, visit the Board’s website.

MACo: Give Counties Greater Role in Energy Siting

MACo Legal and Policy Counsel Les Knapp testified in favor of Senate Bill 851, “Public Service Commission – Application for Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity – Consistency With Comprehensive Plan” on March 14, 2017. The bill was heard before the Senate Finance Committee and was sponsored by Senator Justin Ready.

This bill would require the Public Service Commission (PSC), upon receipt of an application for a certificate of public convenience and necessity for a generation station or high voltage overhead transmission line, to send the application materials to each local government where the project will be located so that the local government could determine whether the application is consistent with its comprehensive plan. Each local government must review the application materials and determine whether the application is consistent with its comprehensive plan per § 1-303 of the Land Use Article. If the local government determines that the application is not consistent, then the PSC may not hold a public hearing or move forward on the application.

MACo’s testimony states,

Maryland is nationally recognized as a state that embraces robust long-term comprehensive planning and Smart Growth. Counties set development plans; agriculture, open space, and historic preservation goals; and environmental protection targets within their comprehensive plans and related planning tools. These plans and goals are all designed to properly manage long-term growth and preserve the unique identities of Maryland’s diverse communities. However, energy generation facilities are not subject to the same land use planning requirements.

Instead, energy facility siting is based on decades-old law that envisions small and relatively compact facilities like coal, oil, and nuclear plants as primary energy generators. But increasingly, energy generation is becoming more “dispersed” as technologies like solar, wind, biomass, and gasification are now poised to be primary generators. These technologies bring many advantages but also some drawbacks – including a need for significant amounts of open space.

According to the Nature Conservancy, energy development now consumes more open space in the United States than residential, commercial, and industrial development. Maryland is seeing a “gold rush” as energy companies are optioning thousands of acres, regardless of local government plans and needs. Over 3,000 acres are already in the development pipeline for large-scale solar facilities alone. SB 851 would solidify a needed local government voice in how the state’s energy landscape develops.

The cross-file to the bill, HB 1350, sponsored by Delegate April Rose, was heard by the House Economic Matters Committee on March 9, 2017. Click here for previous Conduit Street coverage.

Follow MACo’s advocacy efforts during the 2017 legislative session here.