St. Mary’s Approves Broadband Action Plan

This week the Commissioners of St. Mary's County gave approval to a Broadband Plan of Action. The plan outlined achievements of the last five months including notable improvements to internet accessibility in the county. More than 61 miles of cable infrastructure have been installed in the last five months, helping to connect nearly 300 households with students to the internet. The County has also purchased more than 500 hotspots for students, and worked to establish…

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Hogan Unveils $1 Billion Stimulus Package

Governor Larry Hogan this week previewed a $1 billion proposal to provide stimulus checks for low-income working Marylanders, help for small businesses, and a series of tax cuts. The Recovery for the Economy, Livelihoods, Industries, Entrepreneurs, and Families Act (RELIEF) is one of several economic recovery packages expected to be considered by the Maryland General Assembly this session. The RELIEF Act would provide up to $750 for families and $450 for individuals who filed for…

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Frederick Offers Second Round of Restaurant Grants

Frederick County Executive Jan Gardner yesterday announced a second round of grants to support restaurants and other foodservice businesses hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic. The County will provide an additional $1.3 million to its Food Service Grants program, to which the County initially dedicated $2 million. Grants will be awarded in two categories. The first category includes commercially located bakeries and caterers, carry-out restaurants with no seating, and food trucks. The second group includes restaurants…

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FCC Order Promotes Wireless Deployments, Despite Community Standards

The Federal Communications Commission issued an order governing small hub and relay antennas - part of wireless infrastructure - specifically noting their intent to set aside "local regulations." The ongoing debate regarding roll-out of wireless infrastructure took yet another turn, with the federal agency overseeing telecommunication matters issuing a new rule, limiting local governments' authority to establish community guidelines for several classes of antennas and similar equipment. According to a press release from the FCC:…

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Comptroller Extends Filing Deadline for Business Tax Returns, Payments

Comptroller Peter Franchot today announced that his agency has extended filing and payment deadlines for certain Maryland business taxes and quarterly estimated income tax returns and payments that would be due in January, February, and March 2021 until April 15, 2021. Along with eligible businesses, self-employed individuals or independent contractors with estimated income tax returns and payments due on January 15, 2021, will be granted an automatic extension until April 15, 2021. The extension applies…

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Top Issues of 2021 Session: 5G Wireless and “Small Cell” Siting

With the 2021 Legislative Session rapidly approaching, MACo is profiling some major issues that stand to gather attention in the General Assembly’s work. Here, we preview the ongoing hot topic of "small cell" siting for fifth-generation (5G) wireless service - but note that the main decision-making has already taken place at the federal regulatory and judicial level. Wireless connectivity remains an important and growing part of the telecommunications infrastructure, and for relatively densely-built areas (mostly…

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Top Issues of 2021 Session: COVID-19 Response and Relief

With the 2021 Legislative Session rapidly approaching, MACo is profiling some major issues that stand to gather attention in the General Assembly’s work. Here, we look at the state-level responses to the COVID-19 outbreak, and the many effects across Maryland. 2020 was marked, globally, by the outbreak of a pandemic - a novel coronavirus that has cost thousands of lives, and has undermined normal activity for most people. With vaccines hopefully in sight, policymakers face…

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Baltimore County Caps Food App Delivery Fees

Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski yesterday issued an Executive Order to cap the fees that third-party food delivery applications can charge restaurants for using their services. The order aims to help restaurants and bars keep more of their delivery profits by prohibiting third-party platforms from charging them a fee in excess of 15% of the price of the customer’s online order. The order also prohibits third-party delivery companies from reducing the gratuity or compensation paid to…

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Maryland Judiciary to Remain in Phase II for Spring

The Maryland Judiciary announced yesterday that it will extend Phase II operations of its five-phased progressive COVID-19 reopening plan to respond to the surge in COVID cases in Maryland through March 14, 2021. Maryland Court of Appeals Chief Judge Mary Ellen Barbera issued five new administrative orders, one of which requires that the Judiciary’s Phase II operations plan remain in effect through March 14, 2021. Another order also extends the suspension of jury trials through…

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MD General Assembly Posts Pre-Filed Bill List

The Maryland General Assembly Senate and House pre-filed bill lists are now available on the General Assembly website. Although the list of pre-file bills are available, there is no bill text at this time. Currently, readers are able to view the bill title, sponsor, and committee assignment. As of today, there are 780 total House and Senate pre-filed bills and resolutions listed on the website. This will be updated to reflect updates on the General…

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