Biden’s Relief Plan Includes $350 Billion In Critical Aid for State and Local Govts

President-elect Joe Biden yesterday unveiled the details of a $1.9 trillion COVID-19 rescue package that aims to speed up the vaccine rollout and keep the economy afloat amid the deepening COVID-19 pandemic. The proposal — entitled the American Rescue Plan — includes direct payments of $1,400 stimulus checks to qualifying Americans (bringing the total relief to $2,000), $350 billion in direct aid to state and local governments, an increase in and extension of federal unemployment…

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EPA Invites New Applicants for Water Quality Improvement Loans

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency this week announced that 55 new projects from across the United States have been invited to apply for loans under the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA). Created in 2014, WIFIA is intended to help strengthen water infrastructure in the United States. This financial assistance program for clean and potable water is extremely popular, saving billions on utility bills and creating nearly 40,000 new jobs since 2018. The new…

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Commissioner Corchiarino Appointed to Chesapeake Bay Trust Board of Trustees

Queen Anne's Board of County Commissioners President Chris Corchiarino has been appointed to be a member of the Chesapeake Bay Trust Board of Trustees by Governor Hogan.  The Chesapeake Bay Trust is a nonprofit organization that endeavors to promote awareness and participation of local residents in the restoration and protection of the Bay. The trust provides resources for improvements to the Chesapeake Watershed through initiatives like its restoration grant program. Corchiarino, an attorney, has represented…

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St. Mary’s Approves Broadband Action Plan

This week the Commissioners of St. Mary's County gave approval to a Broadband Plan of Action. The plan outlined achievements of the last five months including notable improvements to internet accessibility in the county. More than 61 miles of cable infrastructure have been installed in the last five months, helping to connect nearly 300 households with students to the internet. The County has also purchased more than 500 hotspots for students, and worked to establish…

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Hogan Unveils $1 Billion Stimulus Package

Governor Larry Hogan this week previewed a $1 billion proposal to provide stimulus checks for low-income working Marylanders, help for small businesses, and a series of tax cuts. The Recovery for the Economy, Livelihoods, Industries, Entrepreneurs, and Families Act (RELIEF) is one of several economic recovery packages expected to be considered by the Maryland General Assembly this session. The RELIEF Act would provide up to $750 for families and $450 for individuals who filed for…

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MACo Opposes Property Tax Exemption Mandate

On January 14, 2021, MACo Legislative Director Kevin Kinnally testified before the Senate Budget and Taxation Committee in opposition of SB 258 - Property Tax Exemption - Disabled Veterans. This bill would expand eligibility for a property tax exemption of a disabled veteran to include veterans with a service-connected disability of at least 80%, which would have a significant fiscal impact on county governments. MACo does not raise policy objections with this goal – county…

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MACo Opposes Costly Mandate to Install Changing Facilities

On January 14, 2021, MACo Policy Associate Drew Jabin submitted written testimony to the House Health and Government Operations Committee to oppose HB 321 - Public Buildings - Changing Facilities - Requirements. This bill would impose a mandate on local governments to install changing facilities in public bathrooms. From the MACo Testimony: As a rule, MACo resists state policies that result in costly or burdensome local implementation. HB 321 would implement a costly mandate for…

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County Food Banks Get a Boost from Beverage Association
More than 3,820 jobs are tied to the beverage industry in the state
County Food Banks Get a Boost from Beverage Association

The MD-DE-DC Beverage Association will donate money that would have gone to their 2021 legislative reception to county food banks in all 23 counties and Baltimore City. With the virtual 2021 General Assembly Session off and running, legislators and advocates connected to Annapolis are fielding a new normal and diving into an all-virtual system of policy-making. In-person advocacy is not an option due to the pandemic, so many organizations had to cancel or rethink their…

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Bookmark This Cheatsheet for Submitting Testimony in #MDGA21

It's not breaking news, but testimony will be given virtually this year for those involved in Maryland's 90 days of law-making. This post serves as an easy index for everything you need to submit testimony in 2021. The information covered in this post is subject to change at any time. We'll update it to the best of our abilities, but PLEASE double-check on the MGA site itself - witness and testimony guidelines can be found…

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Fentanyl Driving Still-Troubling Opioid Caseloads, Fatalities

The latest Maryland data on opioid related fatalities show a chilling picture - fentanyl is driving opioid deaths beyond those from 2019, likely arising from multiple social causes. From the latest Maryland release: According to MDH’s Vital Statistics Administration, there were 2,025 unintentional intoxication deaths involving all types of drugs and alcohol in Maryland between January and September of 2020. This figure represents a 12.1 percent increase from the same period in 2019, when there…

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