Charles County to Host Citizens Academy this Spring

Charles County Government will host a Citizens Academy beginning Thursday, March 12, 2020. The 8-week program will provide residents with an opportunity to gain exposure and learn about Charles County Government through first-hand experience with a wide range of government functions, services, activities and issues. From Charles County Maryland's website: Classes will take place each Thursday from 7 to 9 p.m. and two Saturdays from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at various locations throughout the…

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Maryland Ranks #2 in Most Educated State List

A new study ranks Maryland as the second most educated state in the country, right behind Massachusetts. Maryland was also ranked second for "highest percentage of graduate- or professional-degree holders." In the study, WalletHub examined the key factors of a well-educated population and compared all 50 states across 18 metrics. From Fox 45 News: The ranking is based on two factors: "educational attainment" and "quality of education." Maryland was ranked third and second in those,…

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Counties Raise Concerns for Unfunded School Route Mandate

On January 22, 2020, Policy Associate Drew Jabin testified before the Senate to raise practical and cost-driven concerns and oppose SB 65 - Counties - Construction of Sidewalks and Crosswalks - Safe Alternative Routes to Public Schools.  Although MACo supports the goal of this bill, as written it would create a significant unfunded mandate of an unknown amount for county governments to carry out a new state policy.  From the MACo Testimony: As a rule, MACo…

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Baltimore County Passes SAFE Act for Gun Store Security

Spurred by a spat of gun store burglaries, Baltimore County has passed the Secure All Firearms Effectively (SAFE) Act. The act sets security standards for gun stores and sets a license requirement for temporary gun shows. The Baltimore Sun reports: The proposal would require gun shops and shows to install alarm systems registered with the county and video systems. Shops also would have to install bollards or another physical barrier to prevent burglars from using…

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New High-Tech Fulfillment Center to Bring Hundreds of Jobs to Frederick

The Kroger Co., the nation’s largest grocery retailer, today announced plans to construct a high-tech fulfillment center in Frederick County. Kroger is partnering with the Ocado Group, the world’s largest online grocery retailer, which will provide and maintain the digital and robotic equipment used at the facility. The project, which will include construction to an existing facility at 7106 Geoffrey Way, will develop a 350,000 square-foot robotic customer fulfillment center to serve the region and…

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MACo Opposes Unnecessary, Costly Polling Place Mandate

MACo Legislative Director Natasha Mehu testified to the Senate Education, Health, and Environmental Affairs Committee in opposition to SB 22 - Election Law - Polling Places at Continuing Care Retirement Communities.  This bill would mandate that local boards of elections establish voting precincts in any continuing care retirement community that requests a separate polling place for its residents. From the MACO Testimony: Local boards of elections, working in concert with community organizations, regularly conduct voter…

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MACo Opposes Overly-Broad Tax, Fee Exemptions

MACo Associate Director Kevin Kinnally testified today, January 22, before the Senate Budget and Taxation Committee to oppose SB 109 - Disabled Active Duty Service Members, Disabled Veterans, and Surviving Spouses - Exemption From Property Tax and Other Charges and Refunds. MACo is concerned with the carryover county fiscal effects of this legislation and would prefer approaches that provide local autonomy to determine the best way to provide these incentives, rather than those that mandate…

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MACo to Ways and Means Committee: Prioritize Schools, Behavioral Health, Local Decision-Making

MACo’s 2020 President, Baltimore City Council Member Sharon Green Middleton, First Vice President, Caroline County Commissioner Wilbur Levengood, Chair of MACo's Education Subcommittee, Montgomery County Council Member Craig Rice, and MACo Associate Director Kevin Kinnally today presented MACo’s 2020 Legislative Initiatives to the House Ways and Means Committee. The MACo panel followed the Department of Legislative Services’ analysts, who presented the annual Overview of State Aid to Local Governments. Substance use disorders and mental illness…

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New Term Helping Students Path to Success?

The label 'at-risk' is falling out of favor in the education field and being replaced with 'at-promise' to help lower stigmatizing students. As of January 1, California has replaced 'at-risk' in all educational and penal codes with 'at-promise,' While supporters argue that this term is less negative, there is criticism that it is still vague and not specific enough to drive effective policy. From Education Week: Despite the wide usage of at-risk, the term has…

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Fiscal Briefing Highlights Budget Big Picture

The Department of Legislative Services (DLS) today presented its annual fiscal briefing to the General Assembly budget committees. This briefing provides a comprehensive overview of the Governor’s proposed FY 2021 operating and capital budgets, aid to local governments, and the State’s economic and revenue outlook. The Quick Look at Fiscal 2021 Budget shows that the Governor’s proposed budget leaves a general fund balance of $414.4 million at the end of FY 2020 and $108.5 million at…

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