With Solar Siting, the Devil’s Always In the Details

A story about a proposed solar development in Culpeper County, Virginia shows the complexities that lie ahead for American communities as clean energy grows. The Washington Post profiled an interesting, and perhaps informative story of a large-scale solar development proposed, but eventually canceled, for Culpeper County, Virginia. From the Post article - which is worth a full read for the larger context and play-out: They all valued the land — thousands of rolling acres of…

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Preemption Town Hall Set For September 19th

The LOCAL Maryland coalition, along with the NAACP, are presenting a public "town meeting" on state-level preemption - mark your calendars for Thursday evening, September 19, in Prince George's County. What is #preemption and how can it hurt your health and quality of life? Join us at the Prince George's NAACP Town Hall Meeting on Sept. 19 in Lanham to learn more about preserving the right of local governments to work for your needs. Questions?…

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Montgomery Council Considering Air Conditioning Mandate for Rental Units

Montgomery County Council Member Tom Hucker yesterday held a press conference on a local bill to require air conditioning in rental units. Bill 24-19 would require all landlords to supply and maintain air conditioning between May 1 and September 30 for an inside temperature of 80 degrees or lower. Hucker says that the proposal recognizes that cooling is a necessity, alongside similar laws mandating rental properties be heated. "We require our landlords to provide heat,…

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Pathways to Success Program Expands to Anne Arundel Schools

The Maryland Department of Labor will expand the innovative Pathways to Success Electrical Pre-Apprenticeship Program first piloted in Howard County to schools in Anne Arundel County. The program provides students with classroom instruction and hands-on skills training in the electrical field -- one of the fastest-growing occupations in construction. The students are then prepared for employment and a registered apprenticeship. From a department press release: IEC Chesapeake will conduct a 200-hour electrical trade pre-apprenticeship program…

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Agreement Reached Between States & Major Telcomm Companies on Fighting Robocalls

A Daily Record article (2019-08-22) reported that a coalition of all 50 states and Washington D.C. have reach an agreement with 12 phone companies on fighting illegal robocalls. The article noted that robocalls are a frequent source of consumer complaints, both within Maryland and nationally. The agreement was the result of a bipartisan effort. Telecommunication companies that signed onto the agreement included AT&T, Comcast, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon. A robocall is a call made with an autodialer and…

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MACo Member Discount – Grant Management Training Offered in DC this October

The Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments and Grant Writing USA will present a two-day grant management workshop in Washington, DC, October 21-22, 2019, and they're offering an exclusive rate to MACo members and their staff.   From Grant Writing USA: Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments and Grant Writing USA will present a two-day grant management workshop in DC, October 21-22, 2019.  This training is for grant recipient organizations across all disciplines. Attend this class and you'll…

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FCC’s Latest Orders Expand Broadband Funds and Cap Local Cable Franchise Fees

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) issued three orders of interest (both good and bad) to local governments on August 1. The FCC took action on the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund, Digital Opportunity Data Collection, and Cable-Related, In-Kind Contributions. NACo reports: The FCC approved a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking for the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (RDOF), which would provide $20.4 billion over 10 years to help companies expand broadband in unserved remote areas. ... Recognizing the inaccuracies of…

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Finding Ways to Give Small Businesses a Big Boost Towards Success

At the 2019 MACo Summer Conference Session, "Ensuring Small Businesses Excel" attendees learned about the potential opportunities small businesses have to access capital, improve workforce recruitment and training, reduce red tape, improve healthcare, navigate rising costs, and access tax credits.  Moderator Senator Katie Fry Hester kicked the panel off with opening remarks about the Senate's bipartisan interim workgroup of stakeholders exploring the economic realities of small businesses in Maryland. Fry Hester shared personal anecdotes about…

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They’re Here! Counties Take Steps to Embrace Small Cells in Maryland

Attendees to the 2019 MACo Summer Conference session, "Maryland’s Small Cell Roll Out: Making 5G a Reality" learned vital information from fellow county and national experts on how to effectively navigate current legal, legislative, and community landscapes/terrain to efficiently pave the path forward for small cells in their jurisdictions. Victor Tervala, Chief Solicitor, Law Department, General Counsel Division for Baltimore City set a basis for the panel by reviewing the federal rules counties must play…

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How Community Choice Purchasing Fits into Maryland’s Clean Energy Future

Since the 1999 deregulation of the electricity generation market, the competitive residential market has grown only modestly. Deregulation promised greater consumer leverage, but many users have found the market to be opaque or confusing – limiting their ability to efficiently identify the most competitive pricing or the best fit source of clean energy alternatives. Community choice aggregation programs allow local governments to purchase power on behalf of their residents, businesses, and government accounts from an…

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