Statewide “Source of Income” Housing Policy Proposed

A bill to establish a "Source of Income" policy statewide, to reduce housing discrimination, has been proposed for consideration this session. HB 231, the "Housing Opportunities Made Equal Act," sponsored by Delegate Brooke Lierman with over thirty co-sponsors, has been introduced. The bill would create a statewide policy to ban housing discrimination based on the occupant's "source of income." Multiple local governments in Maryland have taken up and enacted local laws to this effect -…

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Delegate Floats Idea: School Taxes in Maryland?

During a House Ways and Means briefing, a leadership Delegate asked, and mused, about the potential to grant local Boards of Education independent taxing authority. January 20 was "Local Government Day" in the House Ways and Means Committee - featuring a technical but informative set of presentations by legislative staff, MACo, and the Maryland Municipal League. See Conduit Street coverage of the MACo briefing. As MACo's presentation on county priorities wrapped, Committee members asked various…

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Local Preemption Targeted by LOCAL Maryland Coalition, and MACo Bill

The LOCAL Maryland Coalition and MACo joined forces to discuss the goals of their collaboration to fight against state preemption, and to discuss a forthcoming bill designed to clarify the process for any future legislative preemption. LOCAL Maryland, a coalition formed to defend communities' rights to respond to local matters, and when appropriate to tailor state laws to fit their needs, raised awareness of these issues during a press event on January 17. MACo and…

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Kirwan Senate Briefing: Revised Enrollment Will Change The Numbers

The Senate Committee overseeing education policy received a broad update on the Kirwan Commission recommendations - and a sense that the plan is still evolving. The Senate Committee on Education, Health, and Environmental Affairs held a briefing on January 14 with Dr. William "Brit" Kirwan, chair of the Commission on Innovation and Excellence in Education, and the Commission's lead staffer, DLS's Rachel Hise. The briefing covered the full range of its recommendations. Watch the full…

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City Launches Office of Equity on MLK Birthday

Baltimore City has re-fashioned a new Office on Equity & Civil Rights, timing the announcement on the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Mayor Bernard C. “Jack” Young announced the establishment of a new Office of Equity in Baltimore City government. In addition to its overarching mission to carry out activities to eliminate discrimination and protect individuals' civil rights, the newly named Office of Equity & Civil Rights will also be charged with ensuring, citywide,…

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Webinar Jan 14 — Preemption: Opportunities and Challenges for Local Public Health

Topic Policy, Partners, and Preemption: Opportunities and Challenges for Local Public Health Local public health policy can have a positive impact on the health of the community, creating healthier conditions for living through everything from water fluoridation to tobacco use to minimum wage laws. But did you know that state governments can limit – or even eliminate – the impacts of locally developed policies? Fortunately, options for local public health partnerships are available to manage…

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Veto Overrides Among Early Session Business

The 2020 General Assembly session, beginning today, will include deliberation over several bills vetoed by the Governor following the 2019 session. A number of 2019 bills, since vetoed by Governor Hogan, will gather consideration for a potential override in the early stages of this year's session. A list of the pending vetoed bills was read across the House floor on the session's opening day, January 8: January 8, 2020 Calendar of Vetoed House Bills No.…

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Kirwan “Chatter” Already In High Gear

As the General Assembly session nears, school funding is looming as the top issue for legislators and their new leadership teams. Public discourse is already raising multiple angles on the ambitious plan and its road ahead. The Kirwan plan, a multi-year proposal to ramp up funding and expectations for "world class schools," is already dominating the legislative discussion - even as the session hasn't kicked off. MarylandReporter.com has a thorough summary of these issues, including…

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Mismatched Crime Data Yields Unclear Priorities

A disturbing analysis of mismatched and apparently incorrect crime data, as collected and compiled by the federal and state governments, leave Maryland policy makers without a clear sense of  current priorities and policy effectiveness. An in-depth analysis by Capital News Service, hosted on the MDReporter.com site, shows that Maryland crime data - seemingly an obvious building block for policies and investments in public safety - is rife with inconsistencies and outright errors. From their article: In…

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Sun Supports County Income Tax Flexibility

The Baltimore Sun editorial board weighs in, supporting the state granting counties flexibility in creating income tax bracketing, to replace the current single rate. Among topics gaining attention during and since MACo's recent winter conference is an emerging conversation about the county income tax - currently set by State law at one flat rate applying to all taxable income, regardless of income level. Some county officials have argued that flexibility to create "brackets" like most…

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