MACo Book Club Digs Into “Deep Work”

MACo's "Good Government Book Club" re-convened with a lively discussion on Cal Newport's book "Deep Work," and discussed applications personally, and to the public sector. At each recent MACo conference. members have had a chance to participate in a "Good Government Book Club" by reading a pre-selected book in advance, and coming to the conference ready to discuss it during one of our many breakout sessions. This winter, the selected book was Cal Newport's "Deep…

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Federal Courts Reject MD Political Advertising Rules

A Federal appeals court has upheld a lower court decision that a 2018 Maryland law governing online political advertising is an unconstitutional limit on free speech. Maryland legislation governing online political advertising, passed in 2018 and enacted without the Governor's signature, has hit a major roadblock in federal court. The bill has not taken effect while online media companies challenge its legality, and the latest ruling upholds their view. The bill - SB 875 and…

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Study: Kirwan Plan Connects to Wages, Revenues Over Time

A study on the fiscal effects of the proposed Kirwan Commission plan for education funding, commissioned by plan supporters, suggests the presumed educational improvements may begin to "pay for themselves" by 2034. Strong Schools Maryland, an advocacy group supporting the proposed plan for advancing Maryland public school funding over the next decade, has commissioned a report claiming the plan would have significant positive fiscal effects. The report, prepared by the Sage Policy Group, suggests the…

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Clean and Green: Charting Maryland’s Energy Future

A general session at MACo's upcoming Winter Conference will focus on clean energy, and all the opportunities and challenges that come with our commitment to embrace and harness it. Title: Clean and Green: Charting Maryland’s Energy Future Time: Wednesday, December 5, 9:00 - 10:15 am Description: Maryland’s energy paradigm is shifting away from reliance on fossil fuels and towards renewable (solar and wind) and zero-carbon (nuclear and hydro) power sources. This transformation will require changes…

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Rural Counties Coalition Will Look Ahead at Conference

MACo's Chapter Organization for rural counties will meet during the MACo Winter Conference, with updates and information for county leaders from rural areas, including solar siting and the Forest Conservation Act. 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 unique perspective on…

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Sun: It Wasn’t Kirwan’s Job To Say How To Pay For Its Plan

The Baltimore Sun Editorial Board continues its missives on the proposed education plan by refuting the argument that the Kirwan Commission "failed" to develop a financing plan for its recommendations - something that was never in its charge. By now, every stakeholder (and Conduit Street reader) knows the basics:  Maryland is about to fully debate an ambitious and expensive plan to bring our public schools to "world class" status. The plan is the product of…

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MACo’s Hiring: Research Associate Position Available

MACo is seeking a Research Associate. The full time (or possibly part time) contractual position will primarily work remotely, and will help coordinate county surveys, fiscal notes, summary information, and county appointments to policy-making bodies. The Research Associate manages the Association’s research efforts within and outside its membership, helping MACo and its member counties provide timely information to policymakers at the state and county level. Surveys of county officials, a dynamic website and news blog,…

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Kirwan Commission Wraps, Passes Formulas and Timetables

The Kirwan Commission completed its work on November 21, taking its final vote on funding formulas and phase-ins, and will now send its full recommendations to the Governor and General Assembly for consideration as legislation in 2020. Commissioner, and Montgomery County Council Member, Craig Rice, engages in discussion during the final meeting of the three-year school funding commission. The Commission on Innovation and Excellence in Education, regularly convening for day-long sessions since 2016, completed its…

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Digging Into “Poor County” Testimony Before the Kirwan Commission

One element raised during the Kirwan Commission's November 12 public hearings, by one of Maryland's lowest wealth counties raises an interstate comparison: is Maryland losing out to Delaware when it comes to a central principle of the Commission's goals, funding equity? By one measure, yes we are. The Kirwan Commission held public hearings on November 12, with dozens of stakeholders and multiple counties presenting their views on the Commission recommendations. See Conduit Street coverage. From…

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“Funding Our Future” Effort Puts A Finer Point on Kirwan Costs, Means

Stakeholder groups supporting the Kirwan education plan have developed a coalition to support tax reforms to help support its substantial costs, including a slate of revenue proposals in a report, "Funding our Future" The policy debate over school funding, and the goals and costs of the Kirwan Commission plan, has been gaining steam for months leading up to its expected peak during the 2020 legislative session. Now, a coalition supporting the effort is offering specifics…

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