Sun Paper Endorses Kirwan Approach, a “Unique Opportunity”

The Baltimore Sun Editorial Board writes that state policymakers should embrace, not run from, the investments in education called for under the still-developing Kirwan Commission The Sun editorial board responds to the recent back-and-forth over school funding proposals, and their continuing assembly through a Commission and Workgroup, by issuing a call for their adoption - despite the costs. The Board focuses on the substantial portion of the Kirwan plan - which has been detailed in…

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Kirwan Funding Workgroup Extended – Decision Meeting Now October 8

The Funding Formula workgroup, established to offer guidance to the Kirwan Commission on school funding, won't finish its work this week as previously scheduled - they have now set October 8 as their wrap-up meeting. The full schedule of meetings is available online. That page includes links to watch the video of all past meetings (with the exception of its "executive session" held following the September 19 meeting), as well as all materials distributed at…

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Does Recycling Plastic Still Make Sense? Today’s Recycling Crisis, Explained

The Vox Podcast Today, Explained focuses on recycling and incineration - and their relative merits after the recent huge shifts in the recycling marketplace. Maryland counties already know about the upheaval in the recycling enterprise - substantially triggered by new materials policies from China, and abetted by shifts in both technology and consumer behavior. A recent MACo conference featured a panel discussing exactly this: "Reduce, Reuse ... Now What?" Vox media's podcast Today, Explained took…

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NACo Webinar TOMORROW: The Upcoming SCOTUS Term

Register now for a webinar on the upcoming Supreme Court docket - learn about cases affecting state and local governments in the upcoming term. Online webinar: 1pm ET, Tuesday September 24 It is rare for the Supreme Court’s docket to be so interesting before the term has even started! Join Michael Dreeben, former Deputy Solicitor General and currently visiting lecturer at Georgetown Law; Joe Palmore, Morrison Foerster, who will argue a case this term on…

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Kirwan Formula Workgroup: Brief Updates, But No Public Progress on Costs, Formulas

The Formula Funding workgroup meeting for September 19 was shortened to only 90 minutes, and ended with a contested decision to enter closed-door "executive session." With only two meetings left on its public calendar, the Formula Funding Workgroup constituted beneath the full Kirwan Commission, was expected to develop and discuss substantive policy options at its September 18th meeting. That expectation was reframed by a schedule change (the day before) - where the public workgroup meeting…

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Kim Coble To Take Reins for MD League of Conservation Voters

Kim Coble, a well-known leader for years with the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, has been appointed the new Director of the Maryland League of Conservation Voters, an influential environmental group in Maryland policy. From the League of Conservation Voters website: Kim Coble, one of Maryland’s most respected environmentalists, will be the new executive director of the Maryland League of Conservation Voters. She will assume her new duties on October 15th. Kim was the unanimous choice of…

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LGIT Briefing: Legislative Prayer, the First Amendment, and the Courts

The Local Government Insurance Trust (LGIT), who covers many county governments in Maryland, offers legal guidance and perspective on first amendment issues, including prayers at meetings of public bodies. The LGIT Leader is an occasional series of bulletins, designed for LGIT's local government members, to serve their legal and risk management interests. The September 2019 edition focuses on invocations, prayers and other religious speech or presentations made during public meetings. At what point do they…

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EPA Finalizes “Waters of the US” Rule

The revised rule governing the "Water of the United States" definition - effectively establishing the scope of federal environmental regulations - has been published as final, to take effect in 60 days. Counties across the country had raised concerns that a 2015 proposed EPA rule would expand the scope of federal regulation far beyond navigable waterways, and potentially affecting waterways as small as agricultural drainage ditches. A 2019 proposed revision had been subject to public…

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October 22 Policy Forum on Electric Smoking Devices, Tobacco Taxes

The American Cancer Society is sponsoring an open policy forum event to discuss "vaping" and tobacco taxation - October 22 at the Anne Arundel Medical Center, Doordan Institute. You are invited to join the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network for their annual Maryland Policy Forum, a premiere event that brings together more than a hundred leaders from the business, education, government and research communities. The 2019 event will highlight raising awareness to the toll of…

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Council President Scott Unveils “Tracker” For Policy Proposals

Baltimore City Council President Brandon Scott unveiled a user-friendly progress tracking tool to allow residents and stakeholders to monitor the progress of numerous recent procedural and accountability proposals. Council President Brandon Scott has advanced a series of proposals to promote transparency and responsiveness in City government and Council business, and today has unveiled a one-stop "tracker" to help residents monitor the progress of each component of the plan. The tracker, hosted online as a shared…

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