Counties Support More Flexibility for Public Campaign Financing

MACo Legislative Director Kevin Kinnally testified before the House Ways and Means Committee in support of HB 488 - Local Public Campaign Financing – Expansion to Additional Offices. The bill would expand the offices for which a county may establish a system of public campaign financing. From the MACo testimony:  Currently, counties may authorize public campaign financing for elective offices in the executive and legislative branches of county government. This bill would enable counties to offer…

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MACo Resists Significant, Costly Change to Longstanding Tax Policy

MACo Legislative Director Kevin Kinnally this week testified before the House Ways and Means Committee in opposition to HB 215 - Personal Property Tax - Depreciation of Assessed Value. This bill would conform Maryland’s personal property depreciation schedule with federal law, which allows taxpayers to fully depreciate the value of certain personal property. This bill would drastically undermine county revenue structures and deplete limited local funds for public health, schools, public safety, roadway maintenance, and other…

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Counties Opposed to Potential Prohibitions Limiting Ability to Set Qualification Standards in Hiring

On January 27, 2022, Associate Director Brianna January submitted written testimony to the Senate Finance Committee in opposition of SB 66 Labor and Employment - Hiring - Education Requirements (Give Me A Chance - Job Opportunities Act of 2022). This bill would prohibit counties, as employers, from using level of educational achievement, such as high school or college degree, as a qualifying factor for employment or internal advancement. While the bill does offer some language exempting…

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MACo Supports “Local Option” Amendment for Pension Enhancements

MACo Legislative Director Kevin Kinnally testified before the Senate Budget and Taxation Committee in support of SB 115 - Law Enforcement Officers’ Pension System - Benefits with amendments. This bill would increase the normal service retirement benefit multiplier for members of the Law Enforcement Officers’ Pension System from 2.0% to 2.5%. The bill would also raise the cap on normal service retirement benefit payments from 65% to 70% of the member’s average final compensation. SB 115 is…

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Counties: Election Laws Deserve Much-Needed Reboot

MACo Legislative Director Kevin Kinnally this week testified in support of SB 158 - State Board of Elections - Contracts and Invoices - Requirements before the Senate Education, Health, and Environmental Affairs Committee. This bill, sponsored by Senator Cheryl Kagan, is a MACo Legislative initiative to clarify and update election laws emphasizing fairness, transparency, and accountability. By clarifying and codifying the 20-year precedent that governs the funding responsibility between the State and counties for voting machines…

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Counties, Health Officers Urge Protections for Health Workers

On January 25, 2022, MACo Executive Director Michael Sanderson joined health officers and other stakeholders, testifying before the House Judiciary Committee in support of HB 267 - Criminal Law - Threat Against Public Health Official or Hospital Staff Member. This bill, sponsored by Delegate Karen Lewis Young, prohibits a person from making or sending a threat to a public health official with the intent to intimidate, interfere with, or impede a public health official from…

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MACo Backs Necessary, Reasonable Flexibility for Mail-In Ballot Canvass

MACo Legislative Director Kevin Kinnally this week testified before the Senate Education, Health, and Environmental Affairs Committee in support of SB 163 - Election Law – Ballots – Processing and Reporting Procedures with amendments. This bill would provide local boards of elections with necessary and reasonable flexibility to canvass mail-in ballots, avoiding administrative complications that could disrupt the timely certification of election results. MACo is working with the bill sponsor and Committee on technical amendments to clarify…

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MACo: Program Open Space Decisions Should Remain Local

On January 25, 2022, Associate Policy Director Dominic Butchko testified before the Senate Education, Health, and Environmental Affairs Committee in opposition to SB 56 - Program Open Space - Local Plans and Programs - General Assembly Approval. This bill would require the General Assembly to approve county Program Open Space plans every year. From the MACo testimony: Historically, the General Assembly has also played an important role with the success of Program Open Space. Legislation has…

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Counties Support Boosting Cybersecurity Scholarships, Promoting Public Roles

On January 25, 2022, Associate Director Brianna January testified before the House Appropriations Committee in support of HB 24 Cybersecurity Scholarship Program – Alterations and Maryland Cybersecurity Loan Assistance Repayment Program – Establishment. This bill expands eligibility for the Cybersecurity Public Service Scholarship Program; increases the number of years a recipient may hold an award, allows part-time students to qualify; importantly, allows employment with county government to count toward the scholarship program's public service work requirement;…

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Counties: Bolster Cybersecurity Protections for 9-1-1 Centers

On January 19, 2022, MACo Legislative Director Kevin Kinnally testified before the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee in support of SB 83 Criminal Law - Public Safety - Interference with a Public Safety Answering Point - Penalties. This bill would bolster state laws to protect against sophisticated cyber-attacks that pose a significant threat to the security and stability of Maryland's 9-1-1 system. From the MACo testimony: Hackers are increasingly targeting state and local governments – including public…

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