Counties Support Added Flexibility on Local Revenues

On February 2, 2023, MACo Legislative Director Kevin Kinnally testified before the House Ways and Means Committee in support of HB 0142 - More Local Tax Relief for Working Families Act of 2023. This bill gives counties the proper tools and flexibility to levy the local income tax with greater equity and fairness. In 2021, the General Assembly approved legislation authorizing counties to levy the local income tax on a bracket basis – standard practice for…

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Counties Support Creation of Police Retention Workgroup

On February 1, 2023, Associate Policy Director Sarah Sample testified before the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee in support of SB 0018 - Police Retention Workgroup with amendments. As of writing, the bill's cross-file, HB 0308, will be considered by the House Appropriations Committee on February 7, 2023. This bill would establish a Police Retention Workgroup to study the factors that have potentially contributed to the current, statewide decline in police officer retention. As a regular collaborator…

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MACo Supports More Flexibility for Local Public Campaign Financing

On January 31, 2023, Policy Director Kevin Kinnally testified in support of HB 0176 - Local Public Campaign Financing - Expansion to Additional Offices before the House Ways and Means Committee. This bill would expand the offices for which a county may establish a public campaign financing system. Currently, counties may authorize public campaign financing for elective offices in the executive and legislative branches of county government. This bill would enable counties to offer public…

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Counties Oppose Bill to Subvert Homestead Tax Credit

On January 31, 2023, MACo Legislative Director Kevin Kinnally testified in opposition to HB 0073 - Homestead Property Tax Credit - Calculation of Credit for Dwelling Purchased by First-Time Homebuyer before the House Ways and Means Committee. This bill would open up property tax savings under the Homestead Property Tax Credit to be “portable” for specified homeowners. This dramatically undermines the longstanding policy purpose of the credit – to ensure stability in tax bills after purchase.…

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MACo: Counties Pleased with Potential Grant Funds to Repair Private Wells

On February 1, 2023, Associate Policy Director Sarah Sample testified before the House Environment and Transportation Committee in support of HB 0011 - Private Well Safety Act of 2023. This bill would establish the Private Well Safety Program to manage and address the contamination of private and domestic water supply wells in the State. The eponymous Private Well Safety Fund, if sufficiently supported through appropriations, serves to equip counties with the resources they need to…

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Counties Urge Flexibility in Employment Policies for Public Library Systems

On January 31, 2023, Associate Policy Director Brianna January testified before the House Appropriations Committee in opposition to HB 0065 - Education - Public Libraries - Collective Bargaining. In establishing a uniform collective bargaining process for public library employees, HB 0065 repeals current effective law leaving the decision to engage in collective bargaining in the hands the funding and operational authorities of local library systems -- the governing boards and county governments. Jurisdictions seeking to…

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Affordable Housing Program Supported by Counties

On January 31, 2023, Associate Policy Director Dominic Butchko testified before the House Environment and Transportation Committee in support of HB 0060 - Housing Innovation Pilot Program and Housing Innovation Fund - Establishment (Housing Innovation Pilot Program Act of 2023). The bill's cross-file, SB 0315, was referred to the Senate Education, Energy, and the Environment Committee on January 27, 2023. This bill calls for the establishment of the Housing Innovation Pilot Program to provide funds…

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Affordable Housing Crisis Reduced Through Home Repairs Program

On January 31, 2023, Associate Policy Director Dominic Butchko testified before the House Environment and Transportation Committee in support of HB 0079 - Housing and Community Development - Whole-Home Repairs Act of 2023. The bill's cross-file, SB 0296, was referred to the Senate Education, Energy, and the Environment Committee on January 27, 2023. Among other provisions, HB 0079 establishes the Whole-Home Repairs Program as a special, non-lapsing fund. The Program's purpose is to provide local…

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Counties Support Additional Tools To Prevent Housing Discrimination

On January 31, 2023, Associate Policy Director Dominic Butchko submitted testimony to the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee in support of SB 0047 - Evidence - Wiretapping and Electronic Surveillance - Fair Housing Testing. This bill expands the lawful interceptions of wire, oral, or electronic communication to include those used as evidence by fair housing testing programs operated by federal, state, and local government. SB 0047 essentially provides counties with an additional tool in the enforcement…

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Changes to School Zones Pose Public Safety Risks

On January 25, 2023, Associate Policy Director Sarah Sample testified before the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee in opposition to SB 0011 - Motor Vehicles - Speed Limits - School Zones. This bill alters the radius around schools—from a half-mile to one-tenth of a mile—within which a school zone may be established and speed monitoring systems may be implemented. In shrinking the current allowable and enforceable size of a school zone in all Maryland counties, SB…

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