Governor Re-frames Energy Debate: 100% Clean by 2040, Reach Zero-Carbon

Governor Hogan made a much-awaited statement about the "clean energy jobs" legislation passed late this session - he'll let it become law, but plans to extend those goals and try to focus the economic impacts within Maryland. SB 516 was one of the most closely-watched bills of the 2019 session. On its face, the proposal is to increase the mandates share of "clean energy" sources used by suppliers in Maryland. The drama had everything: broad…

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Montgomery Creates Hub to Help Small Businesses

Montgomery County leadership has announced a new program to help small businesses and boost startups. From Bethesda Magazine: The Business Connect program — which will offer free training, workshops and individual counseling sessions — was announced by County Executive Marc Elrich as part of his efforts to diversify economic development. ... The first program will be based in Germantown’s regional service center and Elrich said the plan is to expand to the program to the…

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LOCAL Maryland Coalition Advancing Anti-Preemption Message

A broad coalition of stakeholder groups are building momentum to fight together against state proposals to limit county and municipal authority to tailor policies locally. LOCAL Maryland has formed as a coalition of multiple stakeholders across many disciplines, with a common aim to prevent state intrusion into, and preemption of, local matters. The group includes organizations focusing on issues of public health, environmental protection, and economic justice. From the LOCAL Maryland website: OUR MISSION LOCAL…

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Counties Can Plug into Grant for Rural Broadband

Congress provided $600 million to USDA to expand broadband infrastructure and services in rural parts of the country last year. The grant/loan program opens soon and accepts county applications. Some rural areas in Maryland and nationwide are underserved with regard to their internet connectivity. Gaps in the "last mile" between high-speed internet and rural homes and businesses pose challenges in linking up with faster service. Internet connectivity, once a luxury, is now in many ways…

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Record-Breaking Year for the Port of Baltimore

Last year was record-breaking for the Port of Baltimore. It handled 43 million tons of international cargo at a value of $59.7 billion in 2018 breaking a 44-year-old cargo record of 40.9 million tons. As announced by The Baltimore Business Journal: The total represents the combined amount of cargo handled by the port's state-owned public and privately owned marine terminals. The previous high mark was $40.9 [sic] million tons in 1974. The Port of Baltimore…

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FCC Announces ‘Rural Digital Opportunity Fund’ to Boost Broadband

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has announced a $20.4 billion "Rural Digital Opportunity Fund" to help expand high-speed broadband access to rural areas. Route Fifty reports that the FCC expects the fund to help provide “up to gigabit-speed” of broadband connection to four million homes and small businesses: The lack of high-speed internet access in many rural areas is a big issue for federal lawmakers, as well as local officials, who have said it has…

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2019 End of Session Wrap-Up: Business Affairs

An overview of MACo’s advocacy on business affairs legislation in the 2019 General Assembly. Through business affairs advocacy, MACo seeks to protect local regulatory and licensing authority, enhance citizens’ safety, and improve access to regulated services. Follow links for more coverage on Conduit Street and MACo’s Legislative Database.  Small Cells MACo strongly opposed legislation that would have significantly restricted local zoning authority over the installation of small cell "5G" wireless facilities -- including in historically important, culturally significant,…

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Massage Parlor Regulation Bill on Way to Passage

SB 554, a bill sponsored by Senator Paul Pinsky, has passed third reading in the House and is on its way to passage.  The bill grants counties with some authority to regulate massage establishments. MACo supported the bill as it would allow counties in conjunction with the State Board of Massage Therapy Examiners to enact local laws to address unscrupulous massage establishments that create unsafe environments for patrons, employees, and the communities in which they…

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Maryland’s Crab Industry Gets Big Boost

Governor Larry Hogan this week praised the decision by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to release an additional 30,000 visas through the H-2B Nonimmigrant Temporary Worker Program. H-2B workers are essential for Maryland’s seasonal blue crab industry and sweet corn processors. The additional visas come after repeated requests by federal and state officials to help Maryland’s crab and seafood processing industry. The additional visas are a big boost for the Maryland crab industry,…

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Reminder: SDAT Annual Business Filings Deadline – April 15

The April 15th deadline is quickly approaching for 2019 Annual Reports and/or Personal Property Tax Returns. Business owners may file online using the Maryland Business Express, www.maryland.gov/businessexpress. According to a press release: 2019 Annual Reports and/or Personal Property Tax Returns must be filed for all domestic and foreign business entities with the Maryland Department of Assessments and Taxation (SDAT) by Monday, April 15. If you request a two-month filing extension through SDAT’s online extension system, your…

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