Montgomery, Howard Get Connected Via Bus Rapid Transit

Montgomery County Executive Ike Leggett and Howard County Executive Allan Kittleman are partnering to get connected via the  U.S. 29 Bus Rapid Transit project. From your4state.com:
The route would connect the two counties with service from Columbia to Silver Spring. Both county executives are hoping this plan would reduce traffic congestion and spur economic growth.
“Montgomery County and Howard County, as you know, are [in] close proximity, and we have an opportunity now to build on that proximity. Something that’s very important to us is the Route 29 Corridor,” said County Executive Leggett.
Leggett said he expects the project to be done by 2020.

Chairman Davis: Local Preemption Bill Will Die in Committee

A bill in the House Economic Matters Committee that would prohibit counties and municipalities from increasing wages and benefits above state levels lacks the votes needed to move forward this session.

According to The Washington Post,

“I don’t believe the support is there,” said Del. Dereck E. Davis (D-Prince George’s), the bill’s sponsor and chairman of the House Economic Matters Committee.

He said that the bill will die in committee.

Davis said he introduced the measure last month because he thought it would help the state recruit and retain businesses. He said he was influenced by his participation last year on the Augustine Commission, a task force aimed at making Maryland more business-friendly.

“One of the key issues — above taxes — was inconsistency and constantly changing rules,” Davis said.

Davis faced fierce opposition to his proposal from labor unions, who argued that the measure would suppress wages, and local elected officials, who viewed it as a power grab.

MACo opposed the one-size-fits-all approach of HB 317, which limits local decision-making. The preemption of local authority outlined in this bill would significantly undermine a local government’s ability to implement policies that reflect the diversity of local economies.

Useful Links

Previous Conduit Street Coverage: MACo, Counties Defend Autonomy On Labor Issues

The Washington Post Article

Sick Leave Bill Voted Out of House Committee

A bill that would require Maryland employers to provide many of their workers with paid sick and safe leave was voted out of the House Economic Matters Committee Thursday. The Committee voted 14-9 to send the measure to the full chamber for consideration.

According to The Baltimore Sun,

The bill would require companies with at least 15 employees to offer up to seven days of paid sick leave to full-time workers per year. Smaller companies would have to offer unpaid sick leave.

Part-time workers would earn sick leave based on the hours they work.

“I’m very excited that we’ve gotten this far again,” said Del. Luke Clippinger, a Baltimore Democrat who is the lead sponsor of the bill.

The bill has been designated House Bill 1, which signals its place as a top priority of the Democratic leadership in the legislature.

Last year, a version of the legislation cleared the House but got hung up in the Senate and failed to pass, though negotiations went down to the final day of the 90-day General Assembly session.

The bill would also require county governments to provide sick leave to all employees. While county governments generally provide generous benefits, at a much higher rate than the legislation would require, MACo opposed the legislation, raising concerns with the bill’s potential effects on provision of emergency and essential services and with the bill’s broad requirements for providing leave to part-time, seasonal, and contractual employees in the same manner as full-time employees.

Useful Links

MACo Testimony on HB 1

The Baltimore Sun Article

MACo’s Weekly County News & Notes…from Twitter

The social media site Twitter has become a fast-moving setting for news, information, and advocacy on public affairs. We welcome followers of MACo’s own twitter feed for updates from the Conduit Street blog and other MACo hot topics, and often use Twitter to reach our own audience, and to hear from others following the same issues as county leaders.

Here are some tweets that caught our eye this week:

For more news and information:

Follow MACo
Follow Executive Director Michael Sanderson
Follow NACo
See Tweets on #mdpolitics

MACo Resists Effort to Dictate Local Land Use Policy

MACo Policy and Legal Counsel, Les Knapp, provided written testimony in opposition to Senate Bill 532, “Temporary Family Health Care Structures – Permits” before the Senate Finance Committee on February 22, 2017.

SB 532 would require a local legislative body to acknowledge a temporary family health care structure as a permitted accessory use in areas with single-family detached dwellings if the structure is used by a family member for the care of a related mentally or physically impaired individual. The legislative body may not require a caregiver to obtain a special use permit for the structure or impose any zoning law on the structure (subject to certain exceptions). The bill also defines the size, design, and requirements the structure must meet and limits a local government to charging a $100 application fee and a $50 annual renewal fee. Finally, the bill exempts the services provided by the caregiver from being included as an “assisted living program” under the Health – General Article.

From MACo testimony:

The care of a physically or mentally impaired relative affects many families and counties will typically work with an individual who is in such unfortunate circumstances. However, the bill imposes a “one size fits all” solution and usurps local land use control rather than acknowledge that a variety of approaches exist.

Follow MACo’s advocacy efforts during the 2017 legislative session here.

MACo Strongly Endorses Restoring Highway User Revenues

MACo Associate Director, Barbara Zektick, provided written testimony in support of House Bill 552, “Transportation – Motor Fuel Tax and Highway User Revenue – Increased Local Share,” to the House Environment and Transportation Committee on February 23, 2017.

This bill restores highway user revenues to local governments, ensures that new gas tax revenues resulting from Chapter 429 of 2013 are shared equitably with local governments, and amends the Maryland Constitution to prevent depletion of highway user revenues from local governments in the future. This bill will supply desperately needed revenue to repair and maintain local roads and bridges.

From MACo testimony:

It is unquestionable that local governments maintain the lion’s share of the roads and bridges in our state. Unlike most other states, in Maryland, local governments own and maintain 83% of the roads. Even recognizing that state arterials have more lanes than local roads do, local governments still own and maintain 77% of the lane miles in Maryland. Every resident depends on local roadways. Highway user revenues fund roads and bridges throughout our entire state, through an equitable, time-tested formula based on road mileage and vehicle registrations. This touches the roads our kids ride to school, the roads our first responders travel to keep us safe, and the roads where we all live.

Support MACo’s #Lift4MD initiative!

Follow MACo’s advocacy efforts during the 2017 legislative session here.

You’re Invited: Join Us for Our Weekly Legislative Update Conference Call

Every Friday during the legislative session MACo will host a conference call that will update you on the Maryland General Assembly hot topics and bills that affect local governments. Join the conversation at 3:00 pm each week as MACo explores different topics and hosts guest speakers.

This week’s topic (February 24): Transportation / “Scorecard Bill”

MACo Policy Associate, Kevin Kinnally will be joined by MACo Executive Director, Michael Sanderson to discuss transportation, with an emphasis on the highly controversial “Scorecard Bill.”

Conference call information: 1.877.850.5007, passcode: 2690043#

We look forward to your participation! Submit your questions in advance by e-mailing Kevin Kinnally.

Fun Fact: Did you know that John Denver’s song, “Take Me Home, Country Roads,” was inspired by a road in Montgomery County?

Question: Did you know that John Denver’s song, “Take Me Home, Country Roads,” was inspired by a road in Montgomery County?

It’s true! The song, “Take Me Home, Country Roads,” made popular by John Denver in the 1970s was inspired by Montgomery County’s very own Clopper Road, which back then was still a country road. Singer/songwriters Taffy Nivert and Bill Danoff (Fat City) were driving to a family reunion along Clopper Road in the fall of 1970 and to pass the time they made up a song about winding roads in the country. Denver met up with them in December after Danoff and Nivert opened for him at the Cellar Door in Georgetown and they stayed up all night re-writing and re-arranging the song. John Denver first sang the song at the Cellar Door on December 30, 1970 and received a standing ovation. He then went on to record “Take Me Home, Country Roads” on the album “Poems, Prayers & Promises” that came out the spring of 1971 — and the rest is history.

montgomerySource: Germantown Historical Society

Do you have a fun fact to share about your county? If so, please send it to Kaley Schultze to be featured in MACo’s weekly Fun Fact on Conduit Street.

Save Money With the New Maintenance, Repair, and Operating Supplies Contract from U.S. Communities

New MRO Contract Provides Comprehensive Solutions Making It Easier Than Ever to Get the Supplies You Need at Competitive Prices

2016 US CommU.S. Communities recently announced a new national cooperative contract for maintenance, repair, operating supplies, industrial supplies and related products and services. This contract was awarded to The Home Depot, HD Supply Facilities Maintenance, Applied Industrial Technologies, and SupplyWorks, A Home Depot Company through a competitive solicitation process conducted by the lead public agency, Maricopa County, Arizona. The contract term is for five years with the option to renew for five additional one year periods. To learn more about this new contract and the solutions available, view details below or register for a complimentary one-hour webinar.

This contract makes it easier to get the products and services you need under one contract while saving time and money. This multi-award provides public agencies these options when looking for MRO solutions.

The Home Depot: Access to millions of products for maintenance, repair, and operations needs and capital improvements; available the same day at one of The Home Depot’s 1,960+ store locations.

  • Simple sourcing options available. Purchase online, in-store or special order with PCI compliant process.
  • Bulk and volume pricing discounts on orders over $1,500 plus earn a potential 5% annual rebate on all Home Depot purchases.

Get Started with the Home Depot

HD Supply: Competitively-awarded MRO products and property improvement services on a single contract.

  • Discounts on over 70,000 MRO and property management products.
  • Tiered rebate based on you Agency’s annual purchases and early pay invoice discount for HD Supply credit accounts.

Get Started with HD Supply

Applied Industrial Technologies: Access to more than 6 million products from more than 4,000 trusted manufacturers.

  • Expertise- our associates’ ability to evaluate operations and suggest improved products or processes.
  • Local support and inventory- more than 550 facilities and a robust, nationwide sales force.

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SupplyWorks, A Home Depot Company: Supply a full spectrum of maintenance and hardware products.

  • Team of 700+ national and local facility maintenance experts with a reputation for integrity and dedication, ready to serve you.
  • Problem-solving expertise and smart solutions including: Stockwise Inventory Management Solutions, SupplyWorks In-Site For Education, and SupplyWorks Assessment Tool for Restrooms (SWAT).

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Webinar Dates:

Is civility up for negotiation?

In these days of partisan rhetoric, division within government, and a growing need to work together, it is more important than ever that public officials consider this question.

academylogoGraduates of the Academy for Excellence in Local Governance will have the opportunity to explore the dynamics of civility in government through a new course: Government, Civility, and Negotiation. This one-day session is designed for Academy Graduates – elected and appointed officials of Maryland’s counties and municipalities who are seeking approaches to work more effectively in their communities. This interactive workshop will present a negotiation framework based on the work of Roger Fisher and William Ury.

Captain Mark Adamshick, faculty on leadership and ethics at the US Naval Academy, West Point, and the University of Maryland, will lead participants through case studies and group discussions with the goal of finding methods for negotiation in governance that create atmospheres of respect and collaboration.

To register for the course, participants must be Graduates of the Academy for Excellence in Local Governance. Local government officials with questions about their Academy transcript or status should call the registrar at 301.314.2641 or email her at awashin1@umd.edu.

Details: