MACo Announces 2021 Legislative Initiatives

MACo to prioritize county budget security, elections, broadband access, and public health support in the 2021 session.  MACo’s Legislative Committee voted at the September 16, 2020 meeting to adopt the Association’s four priorities for the 2021 Maryland General Assembly Session. These issues cover a broad range of important county concerns that MACo will proactively advocate for in front of the General Assembly. DEFEND COUNTY BUDGET SECURITY The State and Counties together face an unprecedented public…

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General Assembly Leaders Nix Special Session

Senate President Bill Ferguson and House of Delegates Speaker Adrienne A. Jones announced that they have no plans to hold a special session of the Maryland General Assembly, despite pressure from activists and advocates. At an Annapolis rally organized to push for a special session of the Maryland General Assembly, Speaker Jones and President Ferguson resisted calls for the General Assembly to convene this fall, saying the legislative body needs more time to carefully craft…

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State Posts Early Voting and Election Day Voting Center Sites

The Maryland State Board of Elections yesterday published a list of early voting and election day voting locations for Maryland's 23 counties and Baltimore City. Early voting will be held from Monday, October 26, 2020, through Monday, November 2, 2020. Early voting and Election Day voting centers will be open from 7 am to 8 pm. Eligible voters may cast their ballots at any authorized voting location within their jurisdiction of residence. According to the…

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Election Officials to Voters: Ignore Inaccurate Postal Service Mailers

The State Board of Elections (SBE) yesterday said that portions of a United States Postal Service postcard sent to voters regarding vote-by-mail options are “inconsistent” with state guidelines. The postcard -- mailed nationwide last week -- tells voters to request mail ballots at least 15 days before the election. In Maryland, local boards of elections must receive a voter's request for a mail-in ballot by October 20. SBE automatically sent most eligible voters an application…

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As Deadline Approaches, Census Bureau Says It Has Counted 94% of Maryland Households

The U.S. Census Bureau today reported that 93.8% of Maryland housing units have been accounted for in the 2020 Census with 26% counted by census takers and other field data collection operations, and 65.8% of housing units responding online, by phone, or by mail. According to the data — which includes each state's housing enumeration progress through both self-response and by census takers through a process known as Nonresponse Followup —  91.8% of America's housing…

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State Announces $300 Weekly Unemployment Boost, New BEACON Website

The Maryland Department of Labor last week announced that the Lost Wages Assistance (LWA) program -- which offers claimants an additional $300 per week in retroactive federal benefits -- will be launched ahead of schedule. After being initially approved for three weeks of LWA funding, Maryland has now been approved by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for three additional weeks, for a total of six weeks of $300 federal payments. Labor will also launch…

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Federal Judge: Pennsylvania’s Pandemic Restrictions Unconstitutional

A federal judge in Pittsburgh today found that orders issued by Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf restricting the size of gatherings and closing non-essential businesses to guard against the spread of COVID-19 were unconstitutional. The governor’s efforts to slow the spread of the coronavirus “were undertaken with the good intention of addressing a public health emergency,” U.S. District Judge William Stickman IV wrote. “But even in an emergency, the authority of government is not unfettered.” Courts…

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Superintendent Asks for Empathy As Virtual Learning Begins in Howard County

Today marks the end of the first week of virtual learning for thousands of students in Howard County. Superintendent Michael Martirano asks the community to have empathy for each other as they continue to navigate the relatively new way of learning. From WBAL News Radio: "The superintendent of Howard County Schools is asking that everyone in the community have empathy for the teachers, students and families as virtual learning begins again. Martirano says if a…

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U.S. Senate Kills “Skinny” COVID-19 Relief Package, Path Forward Remains Unclear

The United States Senate failed Thursday to advance a targeted COVID-19 relief package, dampening the prospects that Congress will pass another round of much-needed financial relief to mitigate the economic and health care crises. The legislation, Delivering Immediate Relief to America’s Families, Schools, and Small Businesses Act, would have provided $500 billion in federal spending and loans, but also contained offsets in the form of rescissions of hundreds of billions in unspent funding authorized under…

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