Preparedness Grants Provide Opportunities for States, Counties, Urban Areas, Ports, and Transit

DHS announces 2019 funding totaling $1.7 billion nationwide for fiscal year 2019 preparedness grants. From the Department of Homeland Security: Senior Official Performing the Duties of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Deputy Secretary David P. Pekoske today announced the release of Fiscal Year (FY) 2019 Notices of Funding Opportunity for eight DHS preparedness grant programs totaling more than $1.7 billion. The grant programs provide funding to state, local, tribal, and territorial governments, as well…

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2019 Session: Recap and Wrap-Ups

The General Assembly's 2019 Session has come to a close and it's time to take stock of wins and losses for Maryland's county governments. As usual, MACo's advocacy led to more positive outcomes for its members. Bills that we supported had a greater likelihood of passage, while bills we opposed had a larger tendency to fail. MACo also helped improve many pieces of legislation through articulating county positions in amendments and will continue to work…

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2019 End of Session Wrap-Up: State Operating Budget

The segments below provide a brief overview of MACo’s work in the area of State budget policy in the 2019 General Assembly.  County governments receive support through multiple state operating budget programs, and shifts in the State's budget can affect county governments in various ways. MACo seeks county budget security through maintenance of current state funding levels, and new funding programs and enhancements in areas of growth and need. This year, reviving county health department funding,…

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2019 End of Session Wrap-Up: Information Technology

An overview of MACo’s advocacy on information technology issues in the 2019 General Assembly.  Information technology is a growing area of importance for MACo as county governments rely on computer systems of increasing sophistication for a widening scope of operations -- including public safety applications, open government portals, billing functions, and emergency alerts systems used during major natural and man-made emergencies. As county use of information technology evolves, cybersecurity and protection of resident data rise…

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2019 End of Session Wrap-Up: School Construction & Capital Budget

An overview of MACo’s advocacy on school construction and capital budget legislation in the 2019 General Assembly.  County governments partner with the State of Maryland to fund school construction projects throughout Maryland. K-12 school renovation and construction projects make up a substantial portion of any county's capital budget, and the needs of Maryland students are consistently a high priority. In 2019, Commitment to Education was one of MACo's three lead initiatives. MACo’s advocacy on the…

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2019 End of Session Wrap-Up: Pensions

An overview of MACo’s advocacy on pensions issues in the 2019 General Assembly.  Half of Maryland's counties participate in the State's pension system, and the other half support their employees through local pension systems. MACo's pension advocacy includes defending local authority to define the elements of county-run pension systems, and protecting the interests of county governments participating in the State's pension system. Follow links below for more coverage on Conduit Street and MACo’s Legislative Database.  MACo opposed legislation…

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Drone Workgroup Flies into Formation

The Maryland State Geographic Information Committee, often called  MSGIC, held the first meeting of a new standing statewide workgroup on drones. Drone pilots, contractors, and aviation consultants joined representatives of state and county governments this week for the initial meeting of a workgroup on unmanned aerial systems, commonly called drones. Meeting attendees included representation from: Private entities including: surveying companies, government consultants, construction management firms State agencies including: Maryland Environmental Service, Maryland Department of Transportation, Maryland State…

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Live Long and Prosper. . . from Your Government Pension

A policy analyst at the Reason Foundation describes how longevity in the public workforce, if not factored into cost predictions, can create difficulties for local government pension plans.  A recent study found that workers in certain government professions, especially teachers, tend to live longer than those retired from the private sector or the general public. Local governments that support pensions for those government employees, therefore, need to ensure that they are using updated mortality projections…

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Lessons in Resilience from Florida Counties

Route Fifty offers a webinar on resilience featuring speakers from State and local governments in a state that faces frequent natural disasters. Route Fifty, a national source of government news offers a free webinar on resilience with speakers targeted for local government listeners. From Route Fifty: State and local governments across the country are increasingly facing challenges building communities resilient to the physical, social and economic changes taking shape both regionally and nationally. Tune in…

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County and Legislative Leaders Push for Build to Learn Act

The Build to Learn Act of 2019, a $2.2 billion school construction funding bill, having passed the House of Delegates, has a hearing in the Senate Budget and Taxation Committee. The Maryland Association of Counties supported the legislation as introduced with amendment, recommending changes to the legislation to ensure its accessibility for all counties. MACo's Legislative Committee re-affirmed its position on the amended bill at its meeting prior to the Senate hearing. Maryland counties have…

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