Legalized Cannabis, Public Information Act Among Issues Discussed at 2019 MACo Attorneys Conference

County attorneys and legal staff from across the state attended the 2019 MACo Attorneys Conference on November 13. The annual conference allows county legal staff to receive important policy updates and discuss emerging legal challenges. Attendees heard updates on: (1) Maryland's Public Information Act; (2) Open Meetings Act; (3) recent Attorney General opinions; (4) human resource and liability issues posed by legalized cannabis; (5) sheriff and deputy sheriff liability issues; (6) 2019 interim issues; and…

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Save the Date for Climate Leadership Academy Workshop for Elected & Appointed County Officials

Maryland's Climate Leadership Academy is offering a one-day workshop for county and municipal elected and appointed officials to discuss the local government challenges, including economic, infrastructure, public safety, and public health, posed by climate change. The Climate Leadership Academy is a unique state program that offers climate change education and training to state and local officials and other key stakeholders. SAVE THE DATE - OFFICIAL INVITATIONS AND AGENDA INFORMATION COMING SOON Maryland Climate Leadership Academy…

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School Construction Press Conference Highlights a General Assembly in Transition
Senate President Mike Miller, Courtesy of Maryland General Assembly
School Construction Press Conference Highlights a General Assembly in Transition

A Maryland Matters article (2019-11-07) highlighted the challenges faced by Maryland General Assembly in transition, particularly as Senate President Thomas "Mike" Miller prepares to pass the mantle of leadership on to Baltimore City Senator Bill Ferguson. The article reported that during a press conference in Prince George's County over school construction (which will be a top priority of both chambers with funding legislation being introduced as House Bill 1 and Senate Bill 1) it fell to Miller…

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Best Practices for Solar Siting at #MACoCon

Find out the latest on local solar siting regulations and zoning at the December 2019 MACo Winter Conference. Learn how counties are working with the recent Perennial decision and discover best practices that could help your county address this challenging land use issue. Let the Sunshine In: What You Need to Know About Solar Energy Siting Description The siting of large, utility-scale solar facilities in Maryland remains an ongoing concern for county governments. A recent Court of…

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Last Chance to Register for Sustainable Maryland Energy Workshops

Sustainable Maryland is hosting a series of leadership training workshops in November on local government energy efficiency policies. The workshops are titled “Municipal Energy Efficiency: Meeting the Climate Deadline” and are open to county officials. From an email notice: The Environmental Finance Center at the University of Maryland will host Sustainable Maryland’s annual Leadership Training workshops in November. This training series fosters leadership skills to engage diverse stakeholders, reduce contention, and garner support for sustainability…

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Minneapolis Eliminates Zoning for Single-Family Housing Across Entire City

An article in The Atlantic (2019-10-24) explored how housing advocates successfully convinced the Minneapolis City Council to end zoning for detached single-family dwellings across the entire city. On October 25, 2019, the Council voted to become the first major city in the United States to complete abolish single-family zoning requirements. Single-family zoning has had a controversial past in the United States and was used by some jurisdictions as a way to continue racial or class discrimination after…

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Going Big on Streamwater Restoration Projects Could Yield Big Savings For Cecil County & the State

A Bay Journal article (2019-10-10) explored an innovative series of stream restoration projects being undertaken by Ecosystem Investment Partners (EIP) in Cecil County with a mix of State and County funding. The six bundled projects are unique due to their size (covering 15 miles of streams) and financing (EIP is fronting the costs and the State and County will only pay when the projects are finished and actually reducing pollution. EIP, a Baltimore-based firm, was founded in…

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Howard County Announces Major Forest Conservation Act Update

A Howard County press release (2019-10-17) reported that County Executive Calvin Ball has announced a major update to the County's Forest Conservation Act. The update brings the out-of-date County ordinance into compliance with state law and further strengthens the local regulations. From the press release: “Our forests are critical to our natural ecosystems, powerful tools in the fight against climate change, and a necessity for human life,” said Ball. “The state of Maryland passed the…

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Smart Growth Subcabinet Will Answer Your Questions at #MACoCon

Hear cabinet secretaries and other Administration leaders respond to county questions on critical growth and economic development issues at the December 2019 MACo Winter Conference. Once the Subcabinet has finished answering previously submitted questions, attendees will also have the chance to ask questions directly to Subcabinet members. The Subcabinet's meeting at the January 2019 MACo Winter Conference was one of the best attended meetings in the Subcabinet's history. A Chat With the Smart Growth Subcabinet…

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MDE Unveils Draft Climate Change Plan

A Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) news release (2019-10-15) unveiled the State's long-awaited draft Greenhouse Reduction Act (GRRA) Plan. The draft plan outlines what the State and local governments will need to do to reduce in-state greenhouse gas emissions by 40% from their 2006 levels by 2030 and prepare for further reductions in the future. The draft plan anticipates achieving a 44% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 and will result in a…

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