Baltimore County Solar Moratorium Bill Withdrawn

A Baltimore Sun article (2019-01-22) reported that Baltimore County Council Member Wade Kach has withdrawn a proposed bill that would have imposed a nine-month moratorium on solar projects on rural land. In the article, Kach stated that he felt a moratorium was appropriate to allow the study how large-scale solar projects affected farmland and property values. The article noted many of the proposed large-scale solar projects in Baltimore County would be located in Kach's rural district. However,…

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Legislation Introduced Allowing Montgomery County Inspector General to Investigate Housing Commission

A Bethesda Beat article (2019-01-18) reported the Maryland Senator Ben Kramer has introduced legislation that would authorize the Montgomery County Inspector General to investigate the County's Housing Opportunities Commission (HOC). In the article Kramer, stated that he introduced the legislation after receiving complaints about HOC from both constituents and HOC employees. Some of the complaints stemmed from a dispute between HOC and Macedonia Baptist Church over a historically-black cemetery. HOC Chair Jackie Simon questioned the need…

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Environmental Director Adam Ortiz Moving From Prince George’s to Montgomery

A Washington Post article (2018-01-14) reported that Adam Ortiz, the head of Prince George's County Department of the Environment will be taking over Montgomery County's Department of Environmental Protection. Ortiz has been credited with transforming Prince George's County into a top recycler and launching several innovative programs on behalf of the County, including the development of a large-scale composting facility, an online litter tracking tool, and a unique public private partnership with minority businesses to address stormwater…

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Open Meetings Training at #MACoCon

Numerous attendees to the MACo January 2019 Winter Conference to receive critical training in Maryland’s Open Meetings Act. The panel, Open Meetings Act, took place on January 4. The class is a core class for the Academy for Excellence in Local Governance Certificate Program and also satisfies a state open meetings training requirement.    Frederick County Attorney John Mathias and Gaithersburg Assistant City Attorney Frank Johnson discussed the Open Meetings Act, including: (1) when the Act…

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#MACoCon Attendees Learn About Comparative Fault, Access to Justice, Local Preemption

Attendees to the MACo 2019 January Winter Conference learned about three key legal issues that will likely factor into upcoming Session, including: (1) local preemption; (2) access to justice/attorney fees; and (3) comparative fault. The panel, Legislation, Litigation & Legitimacy: Key Legal Issues for the 2019 Session, was held on Thursday, January 3. Montgomery County Attorney's Office Government Operations Division Chief Edward Lattner discussed the challenges counties have been having with the court doctrine of implied preemption…

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Economic Benefits of Parks & Rec, Program Open Space, and Synthetic Turf at #MACoCon

A full audience of attendees to the MACo January 2019 Winter Conference learned about importance and benefits of county parks and recreation departments, Program Open Space, and some of the benefits and issues surrounding synthetic turf fields. The panel, More Than a TV Show: The Real Issues of "Parks and Recreation", was held on Thursday, January 3. Maryland Association of County Park and Recreation Administrators President and Harford County Parks and Recreation Director Kathleen Burley discussed the…

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#MACoCon Provides Naloxone and CPR Training

MACo January 2019 Winter Conference attendees received important life saving training in handling opioid overdose and hands-only CPR. The panel, “Stayin’ Alive” – Learn to Save a Life with Naloxone Training for Opioid Overdoes and Hands-Only CPR, was held on Thursday, January 3.   Baltimore County Health Officer and Director of Health and Human Services Gregory Brach and Garret County Health Officer Robert Stephens conducted the training. Attendees learned how to identify and handle someone…

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Queen Anne’s Commissioner Jack Wilson Elected New Chair of Rural Counties Coalition at #MACoCon

The Rural Counties Coalition held its annual lunch meeting at the MACo 2019 January Winter Conference on January 3. The Coalition elected a new chair and received an update on rural and environmental issues. The Maryland Rural County Coalition was formed by the governing bodies of Allegany, Carroll, Frederick and Washington counties on December, 12, 2011. Working in conjunction with MACo, the Coalition provides a voice for Maryland's rural counties, allowing them to offer their…

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Clean Chesapeake Coalition Talks Conowingo, Oyster Shell Dredging at #MACoCon

The Clean Chesapeake Coalition held a meeting at the MACo 2019 January Winter Conference to outline its annual workplan and hear about important issues related to Chesapeake Bay restoration efforts. The Coalition met on Wednesday, January 2. The Coalition was formed in 2012 to address Chesapeake Bay Total Maximum Daily Load water quality issues and currently has six counties as members: Caroline, Carroll, Cecil, Dorchester, Kent, and Queen Anne’s. The Coalition was one of the…

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#MACoCon Explores How China’s Recycling Ban Hits County Programs

County officials learned about the current recycling processing crisis and its effects on county recycling programs at the MACo January 2019 Winter Conference. China, previously one of the largest recycling processors in the world, enacted strict prohibitions in 2018 against the import of certain types of foreign recycled materials. This has posed challenges for state and local government recycling programs as China was the primary market for many recyclable materials and the United States lacks…

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