Renewable Race May Have Clean Competition

Updated renewable energy standards go into effect on October 1, 2019 and Governor Hogan promises a new clean energy initiative. The State's renewable energy portfolio standards do not apply directly to you and me. But they do affect us, and our county governments, in several indirect ways. Counties use energy to deliver critical services to residents and power their facilities, so new laws have the potential to affect the costs of providing government services or…

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Get out There and Enjoy Your Parks! Sincerely, Maryland’s Counties

Counties celebrate National Parks and Recreation Month with special deals, programs, and new takes on area parks. Road trip season is upon us, Mountain Maryland, Allegany County's tourism twitter page, announces. And it is true. July marks the season of vacations, staycations, and very hot days in Maryland. County parks and recreation departments offer a variety of educational, cultural, environmental and outdoors programming throughout Maryland. Many provide activities that the whole family may enjoy. Some…

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The Robot Who Lives at the Library

Technology is increasingly interwoven into government services in ways that may surprise you. A MACo Summer Conference session explores the effect of technology on service delivery and expectations. Are you more likely to google to find your county's holiday trash schedules or call the Department of Public Works? Or...is there an app for that? MACo's Summer Conference will feature a session on ways that government entities - state, local, and county, are reaching their residents…

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Let Me See That (IT) Timesheet

Public safety answering point directors focus on ways to get those most out of information technology contracts and personnel at their meeting in central Maryland. A heated discussion at the Emergency Communication Committee meeting revealed the ongoing and inevitable struggle between dollars for people, and dollars for technology felt in so many county departments, and certainly in public safety answering points in the processing of upgrading to next generation 9-1-1. In the wake of legislation…

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What Is the Difference Between Information-security and Cyber-security?

While cyber-security encompasses protection of all types of data, hardware, and software, information-security focuses on protecting the information through confidentiality, integrity, and limiting availability. Information security, or info-sec is an increasingly common term. What is the difference between information security and cybersecurity and why should governments be talking about both? An article on CISO platform goes into detail on this distinction from the lense of banking institutions. With regard to Maryland's state and local governments, information…

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A-Listers Drop-in for Drone Dilemma Discourse at #MACoCon

MACo welcomes county and municipal law enforcement to take advantage of a MACo Conference educational session delving into issues inherent to state and local law enforcement coordination with the Federal Aviation Administration in an era of rapidly expanding drone use and frequently changing regulations. Registration information below. Three A-listers are coming to MACo's August 14, 2019 Tech Expo to start a discussion on the local law enforcement role in stopping unlawful hobbyist use of drones,…

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Coming Soon: The “Real” Pension Investment Fees Report

As spotlighted by The Baltimore Sun, a law passed by the General Assembly requires enhanced transparency regarding the investment fees paid by the Maryland State Pension System. The first report is due this December. Coverage by The Baltimore Sun describes changes in Maryland law that require more fine-tuned reporting on fees paid by the Maryland State Pension System. In addition to disclosing the fees paid annually, the system must now also report on carried interest fees,…

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Happy New (Fiscal) Year – Fast Facts on County 2020 Budgets

July 1 marks the start of the fiscal year for Maryland's county governments, when new budgets go into effect. MACo's Budgets-in-Brief updates on a few top reportables, including taxes, salaries, and education funding. MACo's Budgets-in Brief survey reveals the following about Maryland county budgets in the new fiscal year: Budgets County operating budgets for fiscal 2020 range in size from $37 million to $3 billion. 23 of 24 county operating budgets increased over the prior…

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Student Data Privacy, and Everyone Else’s

As reported by The Baltimore Sun, Carroll County Public Schools have requested feedback on their current data privacy policy. Meanwhile, county and State leadership plan a discussion in the wake of data privacy legislation introduced in the General Assembly in 2019. The County School System's data privacy policy was first implemented in September 2015, following the passage of The Student Data Privacy Act of 2015. See The Baltimore Sun's coverage, Carroll County school system updates…

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This Place Can’t Run Without the Membership of the Community

Volunteer fire departments across Maryland struggling with a lack of volunteers reach out to residents for support, advertising the rewards that dedication to service and community bring. Legislation to create a workgroup to study staffing shortages in volunteer fire companies was introduced at the end of the 2019 General Assembly's Session and failed to reach final passage. The issues continue, however, and worsen with staffing shortages affecting volunteer fire companies throughout Maryland. These shortages can…

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