MACo: Contact and Service In Weeks Ahead

MACo will remain actively working to represent, serve, and assist our member counties during the weeks ahead. MACo takes our responsibilities seriously, as an important resource for county officials across Maryland. To that end, we remain committed to serving and informing counties in the weeks ahead, through all the public and private effects of the novel coronavirus. The MACo Annapolis office will largely be closed, effective tonight (Friday March 13). Meetings scheduled for the MACo…

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SDAT Extends Business Filings Deadline to July 15

The Maryland Department of Assessments and Taxation (SDAT) today announced that the 2020 deadline to submit Annual Reports and Personal Property Tax Returns will be automatically extended to July 15 as part of the Hogan administration’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Expiration dates for trade names and name reservations, as well as entity forfeiture dates, will also be extended to 30 days after the state of emergency is rescinded in accordance with Governor Hogan’s executive…

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Comptroller Warns of Stimulus Check Scams

Since Congress passed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act also known as the CARES Act, taxpayers have been expecting relief in the form of stimulus checks. Comptroller Peter Franchot today issued a statement warning the public of scammers attempting to exploit the COVID-19 crisis and gain taxpayer financial information by pretending it is needed to process stimulus checks. The Comptroller's Office reminds taxpayers not to share personal information online or over the phone.…

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State Prison System Sees First Confirmed COVID-19 Cases

Officials have confirmed that three individuals -- one inmate and two non-correctional contract employees -- from two different Maryland state prison facilities have tested posted for COVID-19. The Baltimore Sun reports: “The Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services has COVID-19 Response Teams working to determine whether any other staff or inmates may have had contact with the three individuals who tested positive,” the system said in a statement. The statement said DPSCS has been…

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Parks Departments Enforcing Social Distancing to Prevent Spread of COVID-19

Large increases in foot traffic to local parks have forced parks departments to take steps to enforce social distancing guidelines by removing certain athletic equipment to prevent crowds. As the coronavirus crisis temporarily keeps residents mostly in their homes, many are using parks and public recreation areas to get some time outdoors. Local departments have received numerous reports of residents using playground equipment and also participating in team sports. Officials have been reminding residents that…

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Opinion: Stimulus Package Will Remain Half-Baked Unless Local Governments Get More of the Dough

President Trump this week signed a massive $2 trillion stimulus package designed to keep the economy afloat amid the deepening COVID-19 pandemic. As previously reported on Conduit Street, The bill includes $150 billion for state and local stimulus funds; $500 billion lending fund for industries, local governments, and states; $367 billion for small business loans; $130 billion for hospitals; and $1,200 checks to most Americans. The $150 billion for state and local governments is generally…

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Public Information Act Timelines During COVID-19 Crisis

The Public Information Act Ombudsman has released general guidance for government record custodians regarding Public Information Act (PIA) timelines during the COVID-19 crisis. The guidance stresses the importance of communication with record requestors and good faith attempts to provide record access.    From the Ombudsman: Q. Does the Public Access Ombudsman have any guidance for State and local governmental custodians about dealing with PIA requests and PIA deadlines in the current COVID-19 crisis? A. Although…

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FCC Order Aims to Bolster Rural Broadband Access Amid COVID-19 Epidemic

The Federal Communication Commission's (FCC) Wireless Telecommunications Bureau today granted temporary spectrum access to 33 wireless internet services providers serving 330 counties in 29 states, including Maryland, in order to serve rural communities facing increased broadband demands amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The temporary order allows these providers to use the lower 45 megahertz of spectrum in the 5.9 GHz band for 60 days. "Like everyone else, rural Americans are facing an increased need for broadband…

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Deadline Approaching for #MACoCon Session Proposals – Submit Yours Today!

The deadline for MACo's 2020 Summer Conference speaking proposals is April 15 - submit yours today! MACo's 2020 Summer Conference will be held on August 19-22 at the Roland Powell Convention Center in Ocean City, MD. (As of this writing, MACo plans to hold the conference as scheduled, but will decide in early July if COVID-19 concerns necessitate the conference be canceled - if so, all registrations, sponsorships, and exhibit fees will be refunded) The…

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EPA Relaxing Enforcement of Environmental Regulations

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced Thursday that it will temporarily rollback enforcement of environmental regulations during the COVID-19 pandemic. For weeks several industries including oil and gas have asked the federal government to relax regulations. The industries argue that they are experiencing worker shortages, and that compliance with what they deem non-essential regulations is inhibiting their ability to distribute fuel. They specifically ask for leniency toward testing and reporting requirements. In response the EPA…

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Opinion Piece Praises Local Public Health Depts, Calls for Support Now and in Future

An opinion piece in Maryland Matters praised state and local public health efforts as the world battles the coronavirus pandemic, but also called on leaders to recognize the daily importance of public health professionals. The author, Leni Preston, urges elected officials to ensure local health departments are properly supported with sufficient funds and supplies not only in times of crisis but everyday for the unseen and often underappreciated work they do keeping the population safe…

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