MACo Requests Amendment to Community College Workforce Training Bill

On March 17, MACo Policy Associate Drew Jabin submitted testimony to the Senate Finance Committee and the Senate Budget and Taxation Committee to support SB 894 Post Crisis Jobs Act of 2021 with amendments. This bill authorizes individuals to complete certain education requirements through a digital learning program and establishes grant programs with the purpose of improving workforce training. From the MACo Testimony: While well-intentioned, this bill also imposes a uniform mandate requiring that 75%…

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Kirwan Clean-Up Bill: Hearings Done, Fiscal Note Available

The Fiscal and Policy Note, a staff summary of the bill's effects and fiscal consequences, is available for HB 1372/SB 965, the late-filed legislation to adjust timetables and provisions of the recently enacted "Blueprint for Maryland's Future" school legislation. Among the many resources available for counties to better understand the State requirements for school funding, the fiscal note on HB 1372 is likely the single most useful guiding light. It lays out the effects -…

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American Rescue Plan Offers Broad School Support

$122 billion from the American Rescue Plan will help to open the majority of K-8 schools, and support ongoing safety and equity offerings. Today, less than a week after President Biden signed the American Rescue Plan (ARP), the U.S. Department of Education (Department) announced the amount of ARP Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) funding that each State, Puerto Rico, and the District of Columbia will receive to support their efforts to reopen K-12…

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Counties Provide Perspectives on Kirwan Revisions

On March 15th, 2021 MACo submitted a letter of information to the House Ways and Means Committee regarding HB 1372 Blueprint for Maryland's Future - Revisions. This bill updates the "Blueprint for Maryland's Future" legislation, HB 1300 of 2020.  Overall, counties believe the bill makes appropriate adjustments to ensure a reasonable implementation of the multi-year school plan, and addresses technical matters arising from both its delay in implementation and the immediate effects of enrollment count…

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U.S. Senator Ben Cardin Discusses the American Rescue Plan with MACo Members

On March 12th, 2021 United States Senator Ben Cardin hosted a virtual town hall with MACo members to discuss the American Rescue Plan. Nearly 100 participants joined Senator Cardin this morning to discuss the recently passed American Rescue Plan and its impact on local governments. Senator Cardin praised counties' actions during the pandemic saying, "county leaders have done an incredible service to people of our state during these challenging days". Senator Cardin answered questions from…

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March 11: School Reopening Plans by County

As the 2020-21 school year continues, local Maryland school systems have been actively revising reopening plans due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Conduit Street has the latest. Governor Hogan recently called for schools to return to in-person learning by March 1, requiring local school systems to send the Maryland State Department of Education the information on local plans for returning to school buildings. The following information covers each jurisdiction and will be updated as local school…

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MACo: Workers’ Compensation Law Further Limits Local Funding

On March 9, MACo Policy Associate Drew Jabin testified before the Senate Finance Committee in opposition to SB 860 - Workers' Compensation - COVID-19 Occupational Disease Presumption - Public School Employees. This bill expands presumptions for workers' compensation claims to include the effects caused by COVID-19 for public school employees, the cost of which falls on county schools and governments. From the MACo Testimony: SB 860 would add COVID-19 as a compensable occupational disease for…

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Counties Seek Alternatives To Solve Student Connectivity Issues

On March 9, MACo Policy Associate Drew Jabin submitted testimony to the Senate Education, Health, and Environmental Affairs Committee in opposition to SB 770 Education - Technology Resources - Funding (Ending the Digital Divide Act). This bill would require county boards of education to designate funds to provide digital tools for students, effectively creating an unfunded mandate. From the MACo Testimony: SB 770 would mandate local school boards use at least 7% of the target…

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Baltimore County Library to Eliminate Loan Fees for Youth Accounts

Effective March 8, Baltimore County Public Library (BCPL) will no longer charge extended loan fees for accounts belonging to cardholders under 18 years old. BCPL announced that all fines and fees on more than 13,000 youth accounts are in the process of being cleared and reinstating blocked accounts. While a complete fine-free model is being considered, extended loan fees do remain in place for adults at this time. For youth accounts, this changes aligns with…

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Kirwan Blueprint Follow-Up Bill Filed, Expect A Fast Track

An "emergency bill" has been filed, to correct citations and timing issues with the recently enacted "Blueprint for Maryland's Future" school plan. HB 1372/SB 965 should receive rapid attention, as delays caused by the veto/override of last year's Kirwan bill has left multiple matters unclear. HB 1372 / SB 965 has been introduced by the Speaker and President to remedy technical and substantive matters with the broad "Blueprint for Maryland's Future" legislation passed in 2020,…

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