Kirwan Commission Seeks Public Input

The [Kirwan] Commission on Innovation and Excellence in Education is inviting representatives of Statewide and local organizations, as well as members of the general public, to participate in a public hearing on November 29, 2018. Known as the Kirwan Commission because it is chaired by former University System Chancellor Brit Kirwan, the Commission is set to recommend the first major revision to Maryland’s school funding formula since the Bridge to Excellence in Public Schools Act…

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Pretrial Programs Limit Unnecessary Incarceration

MACo Legislative Director Natasha Mehu testified in support of House Bill 447 and Senate Bill 1156, "Pretrial Services Program Grant Fund - Establishment", before the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee on April 5, 2018. This bill would establish pretrial programs in counties that do not already have them through a grant fund operated by the Governor’s Office of Crime Control and Prevention (GOCCP). The grant is funded by proceeds from the state police sales of forfeited property, in…

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Airbnb Bill Drills Down to Reporting Requirements for Counties

MACo Legislative Director Natasha Mehu testified in support of Senate Bill 1081, "Business Regulation – Limited Residential Lodging", before the Senate Budget and Taxation Committee on April 4, 2018. The bill had been previously heard by the Senate Finance Committee, but was rereferred to Budget and Taxation. Counties support the limited, tax-specific version of this bill, but maintain that the reporting requirements from limited lodgings, such as Airbnb, are critical to effectively calculating and determining…

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Highway User Restoration Would Pave the Road to Rebuilding County Infrastructure

House Bill 807 distributes additional highway user revenues funds to all 23 counties, Baltimore City, and municipalities. MACo estimates that this will result in $60 million in highway user revenues beginning in fiscal year 2020, and begins to address a long-standing priority of county governments. This first step towards full restoration aids locals in repairing, replacing, and maintaining county roads and bridges that have suffered or deteriorated in the last several years. MACo submitted written…

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Insurance Expansion to Local Health Departments Gives Options to Community

Senate Bill 858 expands health care insurance coverage to care from local health departments. SB 858 would require insurance carriers to offer insurance contracts to LHDs for the delivery of covered treatment services including behavioral health care services. Currently, only some insurance carriers either contract or have agreements with LHDs and only for a limited selection of services. This would greatly expand access to community members to the array of direct services and resources that…

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Continued Care of Community College Facilities Creates Cost Savings

MACo submitted written testimony in support of Senate Bill 595, "Community Colleges - Facilities Renewal Grant Program - Established", to the House Appropriations Committee on March 29, 2018. The bill would provide grant funding for maintenance efforts at community colleges, including Baltimore City Community College. The program will fund small renovation projects focused on improving the learning environments at different community colleges throughout the State. These small preventative maintenance efforts The governor must appropriate 5%…

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County Jails Are Not Mental Health Facilities

MACo submitted written testimony to the House Judiciary Committee in support of Senate Bill 233, "Maryland Department of Health – Defendants Found Incompetent to Stand Trial or Not Criminally Responsible - Commitment", on March 29, 2018. SB233 provides an expedited process for placing defendants unable to stand trial. The Maryland Department of Health (MDH) is required to place these individuals in a care facility by a court-specified date. If MDH fails to place the individual…

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Legislation Would Ensure Fair and Effective Communication in Estate Transfers

MACo submitted written testimony in support of Senate Bill 466, "Estates and Trusts - Administration of Estates - Waiver of Fees", to the House Health and Government Operations Committee on March 28, 2018. This bill would allow for the waiver of probate and administration fees in certain circumstances where the heir of an estate is unable to afford the settlement of an estate. Additionally, if the heir continues to live on the property it is…

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Older Schools Result in Repeated, Long-Term Maintenance

MACo submitted written testimony in support of Senate Bill 611, "Education – Healthy School Facility Fund – Established", to the House Appropriations Committee on March 28, 2018. This bill establishes the Healthy School Fund which provides grant money to public schools to improve school facilities. With school construction costs increasing by over 50% in the past five years, it has been difficult for the State and count governments to keep up with school construction needs.…

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Amendments Satisfy County Concerns Over Wireless System Regulation

MACo submitted written testimony in support of House Bill 645, "Business Regulation - Wireless Security Systems - Local Government Licenses and Permits", to the Senate Finance Committee on March 28, 2018. HB 645 defines a wireless security system and prohibits local governments from requiring any license or permit to install, maintain, inspect, replace, or service a wireless security system that does not require a fire protection plan review. As introduced, MACo had concerns with the…

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