Counties Oppose Blanket Mandate for Geothermal Energy in Schools

On February 27, 2020 MACo testified before the House Appropriations Committee to oppose HB 665 - Public School Construction and State Buildings – Use of Geothermal Energy. This bill would place a costly mandate on county governments to carry out new state policy to install geothermal energy systems during construction of public schools as well as for any construction that uses at least 50% state funds. From the MACo Testimony: As a rule, MACo resists…

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Continued County Disparity Grant Funding Promotes Tax Fairness

MACo Executive Director Michael Sanderson testified to the House Appropriations Committee February 27, 2020 to support HB 737 - Local Governments – Income Tax Disparity Grants – Amounts. This bill extends by two years a temporary enhancement of disparity grant funding for six counties with proven local income tax effort: Caroline, Dorchester, Prince George’s, Somerset, Washington, and Wicomico. Disparity grant funding provides much needed revenues to counties with limited revenue generation potential to help fund…

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Counties Raise Concerns with Solar Tax Exemption Mandate

MACo Associate Director Kevin Kinnally testified in support HB 1106 (CF SB 954) - Property Tax - Solar Energy Systems with amendments. The bill grants broad tax exemptions for rooftop community solar energy generating systems, designates certain solar energy property as a new subclass of personal property, and authorizes local governments to impose a lower personal property tax rate on solar energy equipment. From the MACo Testimony: MACo appreciates the flexibility to impose a lower personal…

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Counties Oppose Costly Election Audit Mandate

MACo Associate Director Kevin Kinnally testified in opposition to HB 1172 - Election Law - Postelection Tabulation Audits - Risk-Limiting Audits before the House Ways and Means Committee. This bill requires the State Board of Elections, in collaboration with the local boards of elections, to conduct a risk-limiting audit of at least one statewide contest and any other contests selected for audit by SBE, following each statewide election. Risk-limiting audits employ statistical methods to ensure a large,…

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Counties Support Fair Timeframe for Commercial Property Tax Appeals

MACo Associate Director Kevin Kinnally testified February 27, 2020, in support of HB 1252 - Property Tax - Appeals of Assessments - Commercial Real Property before the House Ways and Means Committee. This bill extends the time period in which a county may appeal a commercial real property tax assessment from 30 days to 180 days, making meaningful progress toward eliminating a means of tax evasion that benefits commercial property owners at the expense of other property…

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MACo Opposes Preemptive Standards for Local Corrections Facilities

MACo Legislative Director Natasha Mehu submitted testimony February 25, 2020 to oppose HB 677 (CF SB 850) - Correctional Services – Immigration Detention – Prohibition (Dignity Not Detention Act). This bill limits the manner in which counties may operate their local detention facilities in regards to federal immigration detention and could have significant consequences on their ability to manage local jail operations. It is MACo's general policy to oppose legislation that imposes a state standard…

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Frosh Joins AG Coalition Urging FDA to Strengthen E-Cigarette Enforcement Guidance

A coalition of 28 Attorney Generals, including Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh, has submitted comments to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) urging the administration to strengthen its enforcement policy on e-cigarettes. As announced in a press release: In comments submitted today, the coalition is encouraging the FDA to expand and strengthen its enforcement guidance by including menthol flavors and products that are not cartridge based. The coalition states that the current policy creates loopholes…

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Ethics Rewrites Could Disadvantage Smaller Counties, Towns

MACo Executive Director Michael Sanderson and Maryland Municipal League Executive Director Scott Hancock testified to February 25, 2020 to oppose HB 1055 (CF SB 974) - Public Ethics - Lobbyists - Gift Exception and Regulated Activities Exemption. This bill would require a range of government employees and representatives to follow State ethics regulations currently applicable to registered private lobbyists. One portion of the bill singles out employees of representative associations, creating an unfair dichotomy between…

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Counties: Procurement Requirements for Corrections Facilities Could Raise Costs

MACo Legislative Director Natasha Mehu submitted written testimony on February 26, 2020 to oppose SB 858 (CF 1524) - Procurement and Correctional Facilities –  Employment Opportunities for Formerly Incarcerated Individuals. This bill would require procurement contracts for local jail goods and services to include a clause related to the hiring of formerly incarcerated individuals. Additionally, the local jail procurement must give preference to bidders based on the number of employees who are formerly incarcerated. Although…

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Summer #MACoCon Sponsorship Brochure is Now Online!

The Sponsorship Brochure for our Summer Conference (August 19-22, 2020) has just been released! Opportunities are available for organizations to increase their visibility and connect with Maryland’s top decision makers! This year’s Summer Conference Theme is “2020 Vision: Today's Roadmap, Tomorrow's Reality,” and topics to be discussed include strategic planning, evolving service delivery, advancing technologies, land use challenges, and fiscal obstacles – all of which constitute the fabric of local leadership. Sponsorships must be secured…

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