2021 End of Session Wrap-Up: Planning & Zoning

This post summarizes the status of various planning & zoning bills that MACo took a position on during the 2021 Regular Session.  Planning and zoning is an integral function of county governments and an area that spurs a high level of interaction with residents and business owners. In its planning & zoning advocacy, MACo seeks to protect the ability of local governments - those closest to the people and with the most insight into local…

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2021 End of Session Wrap-Up: Employee Benefits and Relations

The segments below provide a brief overview of MACo's work in the area of employee benefits and employee relations in the 2021 General Assembly.  MACo advocates for fair state laws governing employment practices, labor representation, and employer-employee relationships. MACo becomes particularly engaged when a proposal has a disproportionate or unique effect on public sector employees - frequently those affecting public safety employees or other public workers who engage in sensitive and essential functions. This year…

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2021 End of Session Wrap-Up: Parks & Recreation

This post summarizes the status of various parks and recreation bills that MACo took a position on during the 2021 Regular Session.  County government parks and recreation departments provide a range of public recreation programs for all segments of the population and maintain a large network of open spaces throughout Maryland. MACo's advocacy seeks to support the efforts of county parks and recreations by urging state and federal funding support and defending local determination of…

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2021 End of Session Wrap-Up: Finance and Procurement

The segments below provide a brief overview of MACo's work in the area of finance and procurement policy in the 2021 General Assembly.  This year the Maryland General Assembly conducted a legislative session unlike any other due to the enduring COVID-19 pandemic. The unique circumstances surrounding the 442nd legislative session, including necessary health and safety measures, posed a challenge for lawmakers and advocates alike. Despite the unusual circumstances, MACo’s advocacy still led to more positive…

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2021 End of Session Wrap-Up: Taxes and Revenues

The segments below provide a brief overview of MACo's work in the area of tax policy in the 2021 General Assembly.  The General Assembly routinely considers proposals to change tax structures, often seeking to stimulate economic growth, encourage beneficial activities, or attract and retain residents. These proposals often are focused exclusively on the state's tax structure, but sometimes extend to local revenues as well. In general, MACo stands for local self-determination. Counties, led by their…

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2021 End of Session Wrap-Up: Environment

This post summarizes the status of various environmental bills that MACo took a position on during the 2021 Regular session.  MACo seeks sensible solutions to environmental issues that provide flexibility and do not place unreasonable burdens on county governments. This year the Maryland General Assembly conducted a legislative session unlike any other due to the enduring COVID-19 pandemic. The unique circumstances surrounding the 442nd legislative session, including necessary health and safety measures, posed a challenge…

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State Announces $300 Million to Boost Broadband Access

The State will dedicate $300 million to help close the digital divide by making major investments in broadband technology across Maryland. The funding is part of a bipartisan budget agreement to allocate more than $3.9 billion in federal funding that the State expects to receive through the American Rescue Plan Act. The funding includes $128 million to improve network infrastructure, $75 million for service fee and device subsidies, and $45 million for municipal broadband grants. MACo…

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House & Senate Budget Chairs: It’s Time to Fully Fund Community Colleges

The Maryland Senate last week unanimously passed SB 538 - Community Colleges and Private Nonprofit Institutions of Higher Education - Funding, with amendments to fully fund the State's share of the Cade funding formula. State funding of Maryland’s community colleges is based on the Senator John R. Cade funding formula, which was established as law in 1996. The Cade funding aims to provide community colleges with predictable support for operations and to help maintain affordable…

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Locals Say Grant Program Will Help Small Businesses Bounce Back

On March 16, MACo Policy Associate Drew Jabin testified before the Senate Finance Committee to support SB 740 - Economic Development - COVID-19 - Small Business Grant Program (COVID-19 Crisis Small Business Survival Program Act of 2021). This bill establishes a new grant program to support small businesses combat the economic hardships they face due to the COVID-19 pandemic. From the MACo Testimony: Throughout the coronavirus pandemic, both the State and counties have recognized the…

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MACo Requests Amendment to Community College Workforce Training Bill

On March 17, MACo Policy Associate Drew Jabin submitted testimony to the Senate Finance Committee and the Senate Budget and Taxation Committee to support SB 894 Post Crisis Jobs Act of 2021 with amendments. This bill authorizes individuals to complete certain education requirements through a digital learning program and establishes grant programs with the purpose of improving workforce training. From the MACo Testimony: While well-intentioned, this bill also imposes a uniform mandate requiring that 75%…

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