COVID Cancels MACo Winter Conference – Counties to Focus on Advocacy, E-Learning

MACo's in-person 2020 Winter Conference has been cancelled due to ongoing concerns around the COVID-19 pandemic. Instead, the Association will offer e-learning opportunities and virtual members-only meetings focused on legislative advocacy in 2021. MACo President and Baltimore City Council Vice President Sharon Green Middleton announced on September 8 the decision of MACo leadership to cancel the in-person Winter Conference. Scheduled for December 9-11 at the Hyatt in Cambridge, MD, the conference in a normal year…

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Six MD Public Schools Named National Blue Ribbon Schools

Six Maryland public schools have been recognized as National Blue Ribbon Schools for 2020.  United States Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos announced that six Maryland public schools have been named as National Blue Ribbon Schools for 2020. National Blue Ribbon Schools are public and private elementary, middle, and high schools recognized for overall academic performance or progress in closing achievement gaps among student subgroups. From MSDE's press release: “Maryland continues to have some of the…

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State Board of Ed Talks Priorities, School Reopenings

The Maryland State Board of Education met in a both a special session and regular session on September 21 and September 22, respectively, to discuss State Board Priorities, Review Local School System Reopening Plans, and other topics. During the Special Meeting of the State Board on September 21, the Board received a presentation from Robert Hull, President and CEO of the National Association of State Boards of Education (NASBE) on leading practices in a priority…

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Board of Revenue Estimates to Vote on Revised FY 21 Projections, New FY 22 Forecast

The Board of Revenue Estimates will hold a virtual meeting Tuesday afternoon to vote on the revised general fund revenue estimates for fiscal years 2021 and 2022. The forecasts for the current fiscal year and the one that begins in July 2021 will provide budget writers and policymakers with the latest revenue projections and economic trends largely driven by the COVID-19 pandemic. The three-member panel, which includes Comptroller Peter Franchot, State Treasurer Nancy Kopp, and Secretary…

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Fitch Affirms Howard’s AAA Rating in Advance of Bond Sale

Fitch Ratings has assigned 'AAA' ratings to the following Howard County general obligation (GO) bonds: $83,935,000 Consolidated Public Improvement Refunding Bonds, 2020 Series E (Taxable) $26,335,000 Metropolitan District Refunding Bonds, 2020 Series F (Taxable) The GO bonds are backed by the County's full faith and credit pledge and its unlimited taxing power. The bonds are scheduled to sell on a competitive basis on October 6, 2020. Bonds proceeds will be used to refund certain general…

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MACo, MML Release Joint Statement on Proposed Local Government Tort Claim Act Legislation

MACo and MML submitted a joint letter of information on proposed legislation regarding the Local Government Tort Claims Act (LGTCA) that was heard by the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee. The proposed legislation, JPR 11 - Tort Claims Acts – Limits on Liability – Law Enforcement Officers, is part of the draft Maryland Police Accountability Act of 2021. The Local Government Tort Claims Act (LGTCA) sets reasonable judgment limits on claims against local governments and their…

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Federal Judge Orders Census Count to Continue Through October

A federal judge has blocked the United States Census Bureau from ending its once-a-decade headcount of every U.S. resident a month earlier than originally planned and ordered the count to continue for another month through the end of October, saying a shortened schedule likely would produce inaccurate results. The ruling, which is expected to be appealed by the United States Justice Department, came after a coalition of local governments and civil rights groups said the…

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Worcester Funding Riverboat Purchase to Boost South County Tourism

Earlier this week the Worcester County Commissioners approved a loan to Pocomoke and Snow Hill for the purchase of a riverboat. The county is utilizing $250,000 in federal CARES Act funding and a $100,000 Community Legacy Grant transfer to secure the sale of the Black Eyed Susan, a 149 passenger riverboat. The purchase is an effort to promote tourism in the southern part of the county. The northeastern part of Worcester County is a tourist…

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MACo, MML Release Joint Statement on Proposed Police Body-worn Camera Recordings Legislation

MACo and MML submitted a joint letter of information on proposed legislation regarding the release of police body-worn camera recordings in front of the Judicial Proceedings Committee. The proposed legislation, JPR 8 – Public Information Act – Police Body-worn Camera Recordings, is part of the draft Maryland Police Accountability Act of 2021. The draft bill provides a framework for when police body-worn camera recordings are to be released under the Maryland Public Information Act (MPIA).…

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Senate JPR Tackles Law Enforcement Officers Bill of Rights (LEOBR) on Day Three of Police Accountability Hearings

The two bills heard on the final day of virtual Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee (JPR) hearings on draft police accountability and law enforcement reform legislation for the 2021 session solely centered on the Law Enforcement Officers Bill of Rights (LEOBR).  The LEOBR is arguably one of the most controversial statutes in Maryland law. It establishes the procedures and framework for police discipline. Generally, proponents of the statute believe it provides a uniform system of due…

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