2019 End of Session Wrap-Up: Education

The segments below provide a brief overview of MACo’s work in the area of education policy in the 2019 General Assembly.  Follow links for more coverage on Conduit Street and MACo’s Legislative Database.  Counties support education as the largest component of their budgets, with operating and capital support for schools typically representing a larger share of a county budget than all other function combined. Statutory formulas drive most state-level funding - meaning constant attention to the state-county balance inf…

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Governor Hogan’s Veto Overturned: Local Boards Regain School Calendar Powers

In 2016, Governor Hogan signed an executive order to require public schools to start their school years after Labor Day. However, some school systems have "struggled to meet the requirement that students receive at least 180 days of instruction," leading to the General Assembly passing legislation handing school calendar powers back to the 24 local school boards across the state of Maryland in SB 128 Community Control of School Calendars Act. Those against the bill…

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“Federal Shutdown Paycheck Protection Act” First Bill Signed into Law

On Tuesday, the Federal Shutdown Paycheck Protection Act became the first bill during the 2019 General Assembly session to by signed into law by Governor Hogan. During the most recent government shutdown, the blog actively covered the large potential local economy impact that a shutdown would have, especially in Maryland. It is believed that over 170,000 Marylanders were affected by the most recent partial federal government shutdown. From Federal Shutdown Looms, Local Effects Large: In past…

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Governor Hogan Writes to Congress on Proposed Federal Cuts to Chesapeake Bay

Earlier this month, the Trump Administration released a proposed 90% cut to the Chesapeake Bay Program's funding, which was previously covered on the blog. Governor Hogan stated on Wednesday [March 13th] that the drastic cut was not only “potentially devastating”, but also a “betrayal.” Much like the previous years, Hogan plans to oppose the cuts and continue to “urge…federal partners to protect these critical investments.” On March 25th, Governor Hogan wrote a letter to Congressional…

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National Flood Insurance Program Set to Expire

The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), which provides insurance coverage to property owners for damages and loss that are a result of catastrophic flooding, is set to expire May 31, 2019. The program was last reauthorized for a five-year stretch in 2012, and for the past two years has been funded by a series of short-term funding measures. All of Maryland's counties, cities, and a large number of towns currently participate in NFIP, the largest provider of flood…

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Counties Concerned about Occupational License Change’s Impact on Local Programs

On Thursday, March 14, Natasha Mehu submitted written testimony to the Judicial Proceedings Committee in opposition to SB 974 Occupational Licenses or Certificates - Application Determinations - Use of Criminal History. This bill would prohibit specified state and local licensing authorities from denying an occupational license or certificate applicant due to a prior criminal nonviolent conviction. Counties are concerned the bill may impact local licensing considerations as their own licensing programs tend to ask about…

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Federal Chesapeake Bay Program Slated for Deep Cut, Again

On Monday, the Trump Administration released its budget proposal for FY 2020. One of the proposed cuts, which will have a large impact on Maryland, rests within the drastic decrease of funding towards environmental programs following the announcement of a 31 percent cut in spending to the EPA. https://twitter.com/Timothy_Cama/status/1105141494028165120 This 90% cut, which reduces the Chesapeake Bay Program from $73 million to $7.3 million, follows a meeting between Chesapeake Bay Foundation President William C. Baker…

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MACo Supports Creation of Nuisance Insect Control Program

On Tuesday, Leslie Knapp submitted written testimony in support of HB 1353 Agriculture - Nuisance Insects. This bill would establish a program within the Maryland Department of Agriculture that would be used to control nuisance insects, replacing an existing black fly control program. From the MACo Testimony: The program establishes a Nuisance Insect Fund (with a proposed $400,000 in funding in the FY 2020 budget). The Fund may be used to cover the direct and…

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Counties Support Establishment of Youth Crime Prevention and Diversion Parole Fund

On March 12th, Natasha Mehu submitted written testimony in support of HB 1348 Public Safety - Youth Crime Prevention and Diversion Parole Fund - Establishment. This bill would establish a Youth Crime Prevention and Diversion Parole Fund, providing additional resources to county police forces for improving public safety and preventing crime. From the MACo Testimony: The funding will provide help to local law enforcement agencies with the most pressing crime needs. Importantly, money awarded from…

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MACo Encourages “Common-Sense Process” for Inmate Release

On Tuesday, March 12, Natasha Mehu submitted written testimony in support of HB 928 Correctional Services - Inmate Release (Suzanne Jones Act). This bill would establish procedures that ensure individuals released from state correctional facilities are returned home upon their release. From the MACo Testimony: The bill aims to address the problem of when individuals are released from state facilities but have not identified or committed to an intended area of residence. Consequently, these individuals…

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