Conduit Street Podcast: Headlines & Happenings – Education, #NG911, Goucher Poll, Disaster Response, & Small Cells

On the latest episode of the Conduit Street Podcast, Michael Sanderson and Kevin Kinnally discuss the latest news and happenings around Maryland.

Listen in to hear updates on the [Kirwan] Commission on Innovation and Excellence in Education, the Commission to Advance Next Generation 9-1-1 Across Maryland, interesting tidbits from the most recent Goucher Poll, mutual aid in the wake of natural disasters, and the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC)proposed order intended to streamline and reduce industry’s costs for the deployment of small cells in local right of ways at the expense of local authority.

Listen here:

MACo has made the podcast available through both iTunes and Google Play Music by searching Conduit Street Podcast. You can also listen on our Conduit Street blog with a recap and link to the podcast.

You can listen to previous episodes of the Conduit Street Podcast on our website.

Useful Links

Previous Conduit Street Coverage: Conduit Street Podcast: Keeping up with Kirwan

Previous Conduit Street Coverage: Kirwan Commission Aims to Revamp “At-Risk” Funding Formulas

Previous Conduit Street Coverage: Commission to Advance #NG911 Holds First Meeting

Previous Conduit Street Coverage: Questions About #NG9-1-1? MACo Has You Covered

Previous Conduit Street Coverage: MACo Submits Concerns to FCC Over Small Cell Order

Commission to Advance #NG911 Holds First Meeting

The Commission to Advance Next Generation 9-1-1 (NG9-1-1) Across Maryland, a 2018 MACo Legislative Initiative that will help Maryland prepare for the deployment of a statewide Next Generation 9-1-1 system that our residents expect and deserve, held its first meeting today in Annapolis.

Maryland residents demand and expect 9-1-1 emergency service to be reliable and efficient. Next-generation technology is required to keep up with this increasingly complex public safety function – improving wireless caller location, accommodating incoming text/video, and managing crisis-driven call overflows.

The Commission will examine the strategic aspects of NG9-1-1 implementation in coordination with the existing efforts of the Emergency Number Systems Board (ENSB), with a particular emphasis on addressing areas outside of the statutory responsibilities of the ENSB. The Commission will study and make recommendations for the implementation, technology, funding, governance, and ongoing statewide development of NG9-1-1 to the Governor and Maryland General Assembly.

The Commission wasted no time getting to work. Senator Cheryl Kagan, Senate sponsor of the MACo legislation to establish the Commission, was elected Chair. Steve Souder, former Director of the Department of Public Safety Communications in Fairfax, Virginia, was elected Vice Chair.

In order to meet the initial reporting deadline of December 1, 2018, the Commission established four subcommittees – Funding, Staffing, Technology & Cybersecurity, & Oversight and Accountability. Each subcommittee will work to draft preliminary recommendations. Once the subcommittees have completed their work, they will present their recommendations to the full Commission.

Because county governments are at the heart of 9-1-1 service delivery, MACo prepared and submitted to the Commission a Next Generation 9-1-1 White Paper. MACo hopes to continue to serve as a resource for additional information from county governments throughout the Commission’s deliberations.

MACo’s Legislative Committee voted at their September 12, 2018 meeting to adopt the Association’s four priorities for the 2019 Session. Updating state laws, and the 9-1-1 financing system, to provide the flexibility and resources needed for the transition to NG9-1-1, will again be a top priority for county governments.

Stay tuned to Conduit Street for more information.

Useful Links

MACo NG9-1-1 White Paper

Previous Conduit Street Coverage: Commission to Advance #NG9-1-1 Set to Convene

Previous Conduit Street Coverage: Hogan Signs MACo’s 9-1-1 Initiative Bill

Questions About #NG9-1-1? MACo Has You Covered

Questions about NG9-1-1 and what it means for county governments? The MACo NG9-1-1 White Paper has you covered.

The Commission to Advance Next Generation 9-1-1 (NG9-1-1) Across Maryland, a 2018 MACo Legislative Initiative that will help Maryland prepare for the deployment of a statewide Next Generation 9-1-1 system that our residents expect and deserve, held its first meeting, September 20, 2018, in the Joint Hearing Room in Annapolis.

In its 2018 legislative session, the Maryland General Assembly passed HB 634/SB 285, a MACo Legislative Initiative to establish Commission to Advance NG9-1-1 Across Maryland. The Governor signed the bill into law on April 24, 2018.

The Commission’s December report must cover seven subjects, the first of which, is the needs, both capital and operating, to bring efficient and effective NG9-1-1 technology and service across Maryland, and estimated costs required to effect this priority outcome.

Because county governments are at the heart of 9-1-1 service delivery, MACo prepared and submitted to the Commission a Next Generation 9-1-1 White Paper. MACo hopes to continue to serve as a resource for additional information from county governments throughout the Commission’s deliberations.

This report is intended as an informational document on Maryland’s 9-1-1 structure and anticipated needs as the State moves to NG9-1-1 service. MACo has gathered this information about Maryland’s county public safety answering points from county governments and other sources. MACo submits this collection of data toward the Commission’s exploration of NG9-1-1 and hopes that these are helpful ingredients for the Commission’s future findings.

Several years ago, Ross Coates, the Manager of Harford County’s Emergency Services Communications Center, approached MACo and the Maryland Association of County Emergency Managers about creating a statewide group of county PSAP Directors. The Emergency Communications Committee of the Maryland Association of County Emergency Managers is now a vibrant and active association that gives an opportunity for PSAP Directors to share information, lessons learned, and to provide information and support on advocacy topics in emergency communications to MACo’s Legislative Committee and Policy Team.

The Emergency Communications Committee, under the leadership of Ross Coates, has been a primary and essential resource for this report.

MACo’s Legislative Committee voted at their September 12, 2018 meeting to adopt the Association’s four priorities for the 2019 Session. Updating state laws, and the 9-1-1 financing system, to provide the flexibility and resources needed for the transition to NG9-1-1, will again be a top priority for county governments.

Stay tuned to Conduit Street for more information.

Useful Links

MACo NG9-1-1 White Paper

Previous Conduit Street Coverage: Commission to Advance #NG9-1-1 Set to Convene

Previous Conduit Street Coverage: Hogan Signs MACo’s 9-1-1 Initiative Bill

Workgroup to Consider Western Maryland Autonomous Tech Center

Governor Larry Hogan today announced a workgroup to consider the recommendations of a recent feasibility study on the development of a Western Maryland Autonomous Technology Center.

The study considered incorporating all types of autonomous technology, from drones to automated vehicles, as focal points of the training center.

According to the Cumberland Times-News:

As part of the feasibility study, the Maryland Transportation Institute at the University of Maryland evaluated the technical, economic and regulatory feasibility of a potential training center in Western Maryland. The study included identifying industry interest, analyzing market potential, selecting technology areas and determining facility needs.

The new work group will make recommendations based on the initial findings of the feasibility study, such as determining a potential site location, identifying possible funding sources and refining design and cost estimates for construction. The work group will also identify partnership opportunities and establish specific needs based on feedback from the entities that would use the facility.

The workgroup will also collaborate with local community colleges to develop workforce training programs and build relationships with local businesses.

Read the full article for more information.

Intel Advisory: Cyber Threat Actors Expected to Leverage Major Storms for Fraud

The Center for Internet Security (CIS), a MACo Partner, warns that malicious actors may leverage public interest during natural disasters to conduct financial fraud and disseminate malware.

Malicious actors leverage public interest during natural disasters and other high profile events to conduct financial fraud and disseminate malware – that according to The Center for Internet Security (CIS), a MACo Corporate Partner. The landfalls and impending landfalls of Hurricanes Florence, Isaac, and Helene, Tropical Storm Olivia, and Typhoon Mangkhut will highly likely propel the emergence of new and recycled scams involving financial fraud and malware.

According to CIS:

Malicious actors are notorious for posting links to fake charities and fraudulent websites that solicit donations for victims of natural disasters or deliver malware. The Multi-State Information Sharing and Analysis Center (MS-ISAC) previously observed similar scams and malware dissemination campaigns in response to high profile events including the Boston Marathon bombing, Hurricane Harvey, and the Tennessee wildfires. It is highly likely that more scams and malware will follow over the course of the recovery period, so Internet users need to exercise caution before opening related emails, clicking links, visiting websites, or making donations to relief efforts.

From September 6-11, 2018, the MS-ISAC observed an increase in registered domains likely related to Hurricane Florence. The most recently registered domains include the words, “claims,” “compensation,” “lawyers,” “relief,” and “funds,” which could indicate the domains use in possible scams or other malicious activity, so they should be viewed with caution. It is likely that these domain registrations will continue, especially after Hurricane Florence makes landfall. We believe that these domain registrations will also likely occur for the other storms.

It is highly likely that malicious actors will also capitalize on this disaster to send phishing emails with links to malicious websites advertising relevant information, pictures, and videos, but containing phishing web pages or malware. Other phishing emails are highly likely to contain links to, or attachments with, embedded malware. Victims who click on links or open malicious attachments risk compromising their computer.

User Recommendations

The MS-ISAC recommends that users adhere to the following guidelines when reacting to high profile events, including news associated with the disasters and solicitations for donations:

  • Users should exercise extreme caution when responding to individual pleas for financial assistance such as those posted on social media, crowdfunding websites, or in an email, even if it appears to originate from a trusted source. When making donations, users should consult the Federal Trade Commission Consumer Information website for guidance or the National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster website.
  • Be cautious of emails or websites that claim to provide information, pictures, and videos.
  • Do not open unsolicited (spam) emails or click on the links or attachments in those emails.
  • Never reveal personal or financial information in an email or to an untrusted website.
  • Do not go to an untrusted or unfamiliar website to view the event or information regarding it.
  • Malicious websites often imitate a legitimate site, but the URL may use a variation in spelling or a different domain (e.g., .com vs .org) so ensure the link goes to the correct website.

Technical Recommendations

The MS-ISAC recommends that technical administrators adhere to the following guidelines when reacting to high profile events, including news associated with any of these disasters, and solicitations for donations:

  • Issue warnings to users about potential scams, implement filters on emails, block suspicious IP addresses and domains at your firewall and on your web server proxy, and flag emails from external sources with a warning banner
  • Use antivirus programs on clients and servers, with automatic updates of signatures and software.
  • Apply appropriate patches and updates immediately after appropriate testing.

More information regarding emergency preparedness for cyber infrastructure is available in the associated MS-ISAC Security Primer.

MACo members have a great resource available to them to help address this and other cybersecurity related issues: the Center for Internet Security (CIS). Through MACo’s partnership with CIS, members have access to a number of cost-effective resources to improve their employees’ security awareness, including industry-leading training programs from the SANS Institute, as well as social engineering and phishing exercises, and expert-led training seminars.

Learn more about CIS benefits for MACo members.

Cecil Breaks Ground on Elkton West Sanitary Sewer Project

Photo courtesy of Cecil County Government

Cecil County Executive Alan McCarthy, County Administrator Al Wein, along with Council Vice President Dan Schneckenburger and Councilman Bob Meffley, Director of Public Works Scott Flanigan, and members of the project team took part in a groundbreaking ceremony for the Elkton West Sanitary Sewer Subdistrict Tuesday afternoon.

According to a press release:

The Marley Road Sewer Extension, slated for completion in late February 2019, is the first phase of construction.The project will extend gravity sewer from an existing tie-in location located at the entrance of AUI Power along the south side of Route 40 approximately 1000-ft. east of the Marley Road intersection. Gravity sewer will also be extended approximately 700-ft. up Marley Road north of Route 40.

This phase of the project will provide a connection location for a future sewer force main associated with phase two of the Elkton West project. There are currently three phases of construction planned along the Route 40 corridor which will result in County owned and operated sanitary sewer service from Route 279 to Marley Road upon completion.

“This is a very exciting day and I would like to express my thanks to the council members who have helped make this happen,” expressed County Executive Alan McCarthy. “This is 50 years in the making and we want to get it done!”

Read the full press release for more information.

Baltimore City Honors Former Councilman

Photo courtesy of Wikipedia

Former Baltimore City Councilman Kenneth Harris, whose life was tragically cut short when he was murdered ten years ago, was honored Tuesday by Mayor Catherine Pugh and members of the City Council.

The Kenneth N. Harris Senior Community Center will be a place where young people can learn, play, and achieve.

According to WMAR:

Tuesday afternoon, everyone from Mayor Catherine Pugh and current city council members to his family took pride in dedicating the facility to him.

“I know he’s happy and smiling down right now from heaven,” said Harris’ son, Kenneth Harris Jr.

“This is just a display of our love and care for an individual who loved and cared for his city,” said Mayor Catherine Pugh.

Harris was murdered 10 years ago during a robbery in Northeast Baltimore outside of a jazz club. The men responsible are in prison, but that’s not what defines the former councilman.

“Seeing the sign with my father, seeing the impact he had on this community and on myself included, it’s just so emotional but very happy,” Harris said.

The center will host a head start program facilitated by the YMCA and a program to help kids with homework, social skills, and aftercare.

Harris Sr. grew up in west Baltimore and served north and northeast Baltimore as a city councilman for eight years.

Read the full article for more information.

Commission to Advance #NG9-1-1 Set to Convene

The Commission to Advance Next Generation 9-1-1 Across Maryland, a 2018 MACo Legislative Initiative that will help Maryland prepare for the deployment of a statewide Next Generation 9-1-1 system that our residents expect and deserve, will hold its first meeting on Thursday, September 20, 2018, at 10 am in the Joint Hearing Room in Annapolis.

Commission to Advance Next Generation 9-1-1 Across Maryland bill signing ceremony. (Photo credit: Executive Office of the Governor)

Maryland residents demand and expect 9-1-1 emergency service to be reliable and efficient. Next-generation technology is required to keep up with this increasingly complex public safety function – improving wireless caller location, accommodating incoming text/video, and managing crisis-driven call overflows.

Maryland must accelerate its move toward NG9-1-1, deliver these essential services equitably across the state, and assure effective coordination with communications providers.

The Commission will examine the strategic aspects of NG911 implementation in coordination with the existing efforts of the Emergency Number Systems Board (ENSB), with a particular emphasis on addressing areas outside of the statutory responsibilities of the ENSB. The Commission will study and make recommendations for the implementation, technology, funding, governance, and ongoing statewide development of NG911 to the Governor and Maryland General Assembly.

Counties encourage efforts to enhance emergency communications in Maryland. The Commission exemplifies a statewide effort to guide this critical transition, harnessing public safety industry leadership and expertise to address complex public safety concerns.

MACo’s Legislative Committee voted at their September 12, 2018 meeting to adopt the Association’s four priorities for the 2019 Session. Updating state laws, and the 9-1-1 financing system, to provide the flexibility and resources needed for the transition to NG9-1-1, will again be a top priority for county governments.

Stay tuned to Conduit Street for more information.

Useful Links

Previous Conduit Street Coverage: Hogan Signs MACo’s 9-1-1 Initiative Bill

Previous Conduit Street Coverage: Counties Gather Answers for the Call for Next Generation 9-1-1 Service

HB 634/SB 285 of 2018

Conduit Street Podcast: Pondering Potential “Pay-Fors”

On the latest episode of the Conduit Street Podcast, Michael Sanderson and Kevin Kinnally discuss ways in which Maryland could increase state revenues. A lingering structural deficit, coupled with new and expensive funding proposals, could bring forth a plethora of revenue-generating policy proposals, sometimes known as “pay-fors” — literally, paying for something that the government wants to buy.

Listen here:

MACo has made the podcast available through both iTunes and Google Play Music by searching Conduit Street Podcast. You can also listen on our Conduit Street blog with a recap and link to the podcast.

You can listen to previous episodes of the Conduit Street Podcast on our website.

Useful Links

Previous Conduit Street Coverage: Tax Foundation: Wayfair Q&A

Previous Conduit Street Coverage: Fiscal Briefing: Budget Outlook & Local Aid Loss

MACo Legislative Committee Hears Update on School Safety

John Woolums, Director of Government Relations, Maryland Association of Boards of Education (MABE), briefed MACo’s Legislative Committee Wednesday, September 12, 2018, on school safety initiatives.

SB 1265, Maryland Safe to Learn Act of 2018, passed the General Assembly on the final day of the 2018 legislative session and has been signed into law by Governor Larry Hogan. The legislation creates a variety of statewide standards and guidelines on school safety.

Along with presenting a comprehensive overview of the bill’s requirements, Woolums stressed the importance of intergovernmental collaboration and coordination in developing and implementing public school safety and security programs.

“MABE looks forward to many successful collaborations between local boards of education, local government agencies and elected officials, local law enforcement agencies, state officials, and other interested parties committed to improving school safety throughout Maryland.”

Members of the MACo Legislative Committee include representatives from Maryland’s 23 counties and Baltimore City. The committee meets regularly on Wednesdays at the MACo office during the general assembly session. During the interim, the committee meets quarterly to develop legislative priorities for the coming year.

Useful Links

Previous Condit Street Coverage: Maryland Safe to Learn Act of 2018: What You Need to Know

MABE Summary of the Maryland Safe to Learn Act of 2018