Counties Concerned about Occupational License Change’s Impact on Local Programs

On Thursday, March 14, Natasha Mehu submitted written testimony to the Judicial Proceedings Committee in opposition to SB 974 Occupational Licenses or Certificates - Application Determinations - Use of Criminal History. This bill would prohibit specified state and local licensing authorities from denying an occupational license or certificate applicant due to a prior criminal nonviolent conviction. Counties are concerned the bill may impact local licensing considerations as their own licensing programs tend to ask about…

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MACo Supports Creation of Nuisance Insect Control Program

On Tuesday, Leslie Knapp submitted written testimony in support of HB 1353 Agriculture - Nuisance Insects. This bill would establish a program within the Maryland Department of Agriculture that would be used to control nuisance insects, replacing an existing black fly control program. From the MACo Testimony: The program establishes a Nuisance Insect Fund (with a proposed $400,000 in funding in the FY 2020 budget). The Fund may be used to cover the direct and…

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Counties Support Establishment of Youth Crime Prevention and Diversion Parole Fund

On March 12th, Natasha Mehu submitted written testimony in support of HB 1348 Public Safety - Youth Crime Prevention and Diversion Parole Fund - Establishment. This bill would establish a Youth Crime Prevention and Diversion Parole Fund, providing additional resources to county police forces for improving public safety and preventing crime. From the MACo Testimony: The funding will provide help to local law enforcement agencies with the most pressing crime needs. Importantly, money awarded from…

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MACo Encourages “Common-Sense Process” for Inmate Release

On Tuesday, March 12, Natasha Mehu submitted written testimony in support of HB 928 Correctional Services - Inmate Release (Suzanne Jones Act). This bill would establish procedures that ensure individuals released from state correctional facilities are returned home upon their release. From the MACo Testimony: The bill aims to address the problem of when individuals are released from state facilities but have not identified or committed to an intended area of residence. Consequently, these individuals…

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Counties Oppose Removal of Tool That Protects Safety of Employees

On Monday, Michael Sanderson submitted written testimony in opposition to HB 794 Labor and Employment - Discrimination Against Medical Cannabis  Patients and Caregivers - Prohibition  (Medical Cannabis Patient and Caregiver Antidiscrimination Act). HB 794 prohibits employers, including county governments, from enforcing zero tolerance workplace drug policies against employees based on the employee's status as a qualifying medical cannabis patient unless said patient used, possessed, or was impaired by cannabis during work hours. Counties employ a…

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MACo: lnmates with Severe Mental Illness Deserve Treatment in Appropriate Facilities

On Monday, March 11, Natasha Mehu testified in support of HB 1204 Involuntary Commitment - Procedures for Admission. HB 1204 strengthens the process for inmates in need of involuntary commitment, so they may be placed in state facilities or deemed eligible for conditional release for the care they need. From the MACo Testimony: HB 1204 authorizes local correctional officials to apply for involuntary admission of an inmate to a state hospital. It also requires that…

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Counties Request a Flexible Approach to Property Tax Credits

On Friday, Kevin Kinnally submitted written testimony in support of SB 795/HB1163 Income and Property Taxes - Qualified Maryland Opportunity Zone Investments with amendments. This bill creates a subtraction modification against the state income tax for certain capital gains that qualify for federal income tax benefits under the Opportunity Zone Program. In addition, the bill would require a local government to grant a property tax credit for investments made within a qualified Opportunity Zone. From…

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Counties Ask for Time to Analyze Property Tax Credit’s Impact Prior to Expansion

On March 8th, Kevin Kinnally submitted written testimony in opposition to SB 816 Property Tax Credit - Surviving Spouse of Veteran. This bill would expand the scope of a 2016 property tax credit.  Due to it being fairly new, this expansion raises questions about county authority to limit the credit to the recipients receiving it now. SB 816 also creates an expectation that counties may extend the scope of the credit, when the expansion offered…

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MACo Proposes Amendments to Prevent Unprecedented Change in Fee Provisions

On Thursday, Leslie Knapp testified in support of HB 355 Public Ethics Law - School Boards - Disclosures and Requirements (School System Ethics and Transparency Act of 2019) with amendments. While a majority of this bill does not directly impact county governments, HB 355 contains an ill-considered Public Information Act provision which would require a records custodian to waive any fee if one-third or more members of a Board of Education make a PIA request.…

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MACo: Innovative Regional Schools are a “Common-Sense Solution” Leading to Best Educational Outcomes

On Wednesday, Robin Clark Eilenberg testified alongside representatives from Queen Anne's County and Carroll County in support of SB 653 County Boards of Education - Establishing Innovative Regional Schools - Authority (Cross-County Attendance to Achieve Efficiency Act of 2019). This bill would enable local school boards to establish innovative regional schools, which are a common-sense solution that provide agility to school districts struggling with facility needs and shifting student enrollments. From the MACo Testimony: Dramatic…

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