Supreme Court Allows States to Legalize Sports Betting

The United States Supreme Court today struck down the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA), the federal law that barred states from legalizing sports betting. In a 7-2 decision, the high court sided with New Jersey in the case, Murphy v. NCAA, and reversed a ruling from the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

PASPA, enacted in 1992, forbids state-authorized sports betting in all but four states that met a 1991 deadline to legalize it: Delaware, Montana, Nevada, and Oregon. Nevada is the only state to allow single-game wagering.

New Jersey challenged the PASPA before the Supreme Court, arguing the law is a violation of the 10th Amendment, calling it a “dramatic, unprecedented” usurpation of New Jersey’s authority. “Just as Congress lacks the power to order a state legislature not to enact a law authorizing sports gambling, it may not order a state legislature to refrain from enacting a law licensing sports gambling,” Justice Samuel Alito wrote on behalf of the court.

While the decision effectively opens the door for Maryland to legalize sports betting, it’s unlikely to do so, at least not any time soon. According to the Maryland Constitution, the General Assembly may only authorize additional forms or expansion of commercial gaming if approved through a referendum by a majority of the voters in a general election.

A 2018 bill to legalize sports betting via a referendum failed to pass the General Assembly. That effectively halts the state from legalizing sports wagering in the short term. Even if the state were to pass a bill in 2019, it would still require the approval of voters in the 2020 presidential election.

Conduit Street Podcast: Procurement, Property Taxes, & Public Works

On the latest episode of the Conduit Street Podcast, Kevin Kinnally and Barbara Zektick discuss the importance of procurement in county government, review a number of tax bills from the 2018 General Assembly Session, and explain the relationship between local departments of public works and the United States Federal Highway Administration. MACo has made the podcast available through both iTunes and Google Play Music by searching Conduit Street Podcast. You can also listen on our Conduit Street blog with a recap and link to the podcast.

May is Maryland Podcast Month! Visit Marylandpodcastmonth.com for more information.

Listen here:

You can listen to previous episodes of the Conduit Street Podcast on our website.

Useful Links

Previous Conduit Street Coverage: 2018 End of Session Wrap-up: Property Taxes

Previous Conduit Street Coverage: Yellow Lights: Don’t Mess With the Manual

Federal Highway Administration’s Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD)

Hogan Signs Landmark Community College Promise Scholarship Legislation

Governor Larry Hogan today signed HB 16 – Near Completers and Maryland Community College Promise Scholarships, which allocates $15 million per year in need-based tuition aid for eligible community college students. Senate President Mike Miller and Speaker of the House Michael Busch joined Governor Hogan to sign the landmark legislation. The Governor and Presiding Officers were joined by the bill’s lead sponsor, Delegate Frank S. Turner, presidents of several Maryland community colleges, and staff from the Maryland Association of Community Colleges (MACC).

According to a press release:

“This is a win – win for our students and our state,” said Dr. Bernie Sadusky, MACC executive director. “It’s a win for our students, most of whom are low-income, work, and have family responsibilities. And it’s a win for Maryland because a more educated workforce is the engine of economic growth.”

By 2020, 69% of Maryland jobs will require a postsecondary education according to the Georgetown Center on Education and the Workforce, while about 40% of Maryland’s high school graduates don’t enroll in any postsecondary education within one year of graduation. Meanwhile, Maryland employers in high-demand fields contend with unfilled positions and insufficiently skilled applicants.

The program, which begins academic year 2019 – 2020, requires students access all other eligible financial aid before Maryland’s College Promise scholarship funds, up to $5,000 per year, are awarded. Recipients must work in Maryland one year for each year of scholarship awarded, or the scholarships convert to loans and must be repaid.

Other requirements include full-time enrollment in a community college for a vocational certificate, a credit certificate, or an associate degree, within two years of graduating high school or completing a GED; high school GPA of 2.3 or higher; and an annual adjusted gross income of not more than $100,000 if the applicant is single or resides in a single-parent household, or $150,000 if applicant is married or resides in a two-parent household.

The bill also provides $2 million over five years to students who are close to finishing degrees at community colleges and four-year institutions. Near-completer students are eligible to receive up to one-third of their tuition dues.

Read the full press release for more information.

Conduit Street Podcast: Kirwan Commission, Take Two. Fiscal Forecast, Session Resources, & Interim Intrigue

On the latest episode of the Conduit Street Podcast, Kevin Kinnally and Michael Sanderson highlight some of the best resources for information on the General Assembly, provide insight on the [Kirwan] Commission on Innovation and Excellence In Education (which reconvened this week), discuss Maryland’s fiscal picture, and preview some hot-button issues for the 2018 interim.

MACo has made the podcast available through both iTunes and Google Play Music by searching Conduit Street Podcast. You can also listen on our Conduit Street blog with a recap and link to the podcast.

May is Maryland Podcast Month! For more information, visit Marylandpodcastmonth.com.

Listen here:

You can listen to previous episodes of the Conduit Street Podcast on our website.

Governor Signs MACo’s HUR Initiative Bill

Governor Hogan signed HB 807/SB 516 -Transportation — Highway User Revenues — Distribution into law on Tuesday, April 24, 2018. These bills codify an important step toward restoration of Highway User Revenues (HUR) for Maryland counties and municipalities. For five years,  FY 2020 through 2024, the bill would increase the county share of Highway User Revenues from 1.5% to 3.2%, with additional funding also supporting Baltimore City and municipal government. It is estimated local government revenues will increase by over $70 million in 2020, significantly aiding local efforts to repair, replace, and maintain county roads and bridges that have suffered or deteriorated in the last several years.

The signing marked a pivotal moment in the almost 10 year journey to restoring local government Highway User Revenues (HUR) since funding was decimated — cut by 90% in 2010 — due to the recession. The share of funds for 23 counties plummeted from nearly $300 million in 2007 to only $40 million today. Baltimore City alone had an 87 percent reduction, nearly $100 million less each year than before the recession cuts. The cumulative loss of local roadway investment since fiscal 2010 was well over $3 billion.

For more information:

MACo to Governor: Please Sign Highway User Revenue Restoration 

MACo’s Letter to Governor Hogan

County Highway User Revenue Breakdown (FY19)

2018 End of Session Wrap-Up: Road Funding

 

Hogan Signs MACo’s 9-1-1 Initiative Bill

Governor Larry Hogan this week signed HB 634/SB 285 – Commission to Advance Next Generation 9-1-1 Across Maryland – Establishment, a 2018 MACo Legislative Initiative that will help Maryland prepare for the deployment of a statewide Next Generation 9-1-1 (NG911) system that our residents expect and deserve.

Photo Credit: Executive Office of the Governor

Maryland citizens demand and expect 9-1-1 emergency service to be reliable and efficient. Next-generation technology is required to keep up with this increasingly complex public safety function – improving wireless caller location, accommodating incoming text/video, and managing crisis-driven call overflows. Maryland must accelerate its move toward NG911, deliver these essential services equitably across the state, and assure effective coordination with communications providers.

Counties encourage efforts to enhance emergency communications in Maryland. SB 285/HB 634 urges a statewide effort to guide this critical transition, harnessing public safety industry leadership and expertise to address complex public safety concerns. Last week, MACo sent a letter to Governor Hogan urging him to sign the bill. MACo as an organization stands ready work with the Administration and other stakeholders to populate the Commission quickly, so they can begin their important work.

Senate Bill 285, sponsored by Senator Cheryl Kagan, passed the Senate unanimously on February 20. Its cross-file, House Bill 634, sponsored by Delegate Michael Jackson, passed the House of Delegates unanimously on March 15.

Useful Links

Read the full MACo letter online

Read MACo’s testimony on HB 634/SB285

Previous Conduit Street Coverage

MACo to Governor: Sign MACo’s 9-1-1 Initiative Bill

MACo sent a letter to Governor Hogan today, urging him to sign HB 634/SB 285 – Commission to Advance Next Generation 9-1-1 Across Maryland – Establishment, a 2018 MACo Legislative Initiative that unanimously passed both the Senate and House of Delegates. This legislation is essential to ensure that Maryland is prepared for the deployment of a statewide Next Generation 9-1-1 (NG911) system that our residents expect and deserve.

Maryland citizens demand and expect 9-1-1 emergency service to be reliable and efficient. Next-generation technology is required to keep up with this increasingly complex public safety function – improving wireless caller location, accommodating incoming text/video, and managing crisis-driven call overflows. Maryland must accelerate its move toward NG911, deliver these essential services equitably across the state, and assure effective coordination with communications providers.

From the MACo Letter:

Today, the key underpinnings of the legacy 9-1-1 framework are based on the same wireline, analog, circuit-switched technology that was the foundation of the original 9-1-1 architecture in 1968. Aside from an enhanced data environment and the ability to support wireless and Internet telephony, the system has not significantly changed in more than 40 years.

In order to close this gap and benefit from the monumental advancements that are taking place in commercial communications, this bill establishes the Commission to Advance Next Generation 9-1-1 (NG911) Across Maryland. MACo believes this legislation is vital for the development of a statewide strategy to create a common framework for the implementation of NG911 in Maryland.

The Commission will examine the strategic aspects of NG911 implementation in coordination with the existing efforts of the Emergency Number Systems Board (ENSB), with a particular emphasis on addressing areas outside of the statutory responsibilities of the ENSB. The Commission will study and make recommendations for the implementation, technology, funding, governance, and ongoing statewide development of NG911 to the Governor and Maryland General Assembly.

In the letter, MACo praises Governor Hogan for his leadership on the Maryland Text to 9-1-1 Initiative:

The importance of this legislation cannot be overstated. Counties applaud your leadership on the Text to 9-1-1 initiative, and hope to build upon that momentum as we work to implement NG911 in Maryland. MACo as an organization stands ready to work with you, your Appointments Office, and other stakeholders to populate the Commission quickly, so they can begin their important work.

Counties encourage efforts to enhance emergency communications in Maryland. SB 285/HB 634 urges a statewide effort to guide this critical transition, harnessing public safety industry leadership and expertise to address complex public safety concerns.

Read the full MACo letter online.

Read MACo’s testimony on HB 634/SB285.

Learn the Language of the General Assembly

Frederick News-Post article (2018-04-12) recounted the linguistic take-aways from a reporter covering Session for the first time. There are numerous coded phrases that those who participate in the legislative process hear regularly and understand but those outside of the process may not fully appreciate. The article summarized the reporter’s seven favorite phrases – here are two:

“It’s a simple bill.” This extremely common preamble to an explanation of a proposed law is designed to instill confidence in colleagues and signal something along the lines of “hey, let’s just pass this thing because it ain’t that complicated.”

“A second bite at the apple.” This fruit-themed phrase is often used to express humility when given the chance to speak twice or ask repeated questions on the same issue on the floor, as in “Thank you, Speaker, for allowing me a second bite at the apple.”

The article also briefly covered the increasingly contentious Frederick County Executive republican primary race between Frederick County Council Member Kirby Delauter and Maryland Delegate Kathy Afzali.

 

Round-up of the 2018 Session for Counties

MACo’s legislative efforts earned an 80% success rate – and as usual, the counties’ voice makes a difference in Annapolis. Bills we support are more likely to pass, and bills we oppose are more likely to fail.

2018 Legislative Results Infographic

MACo’s legislative initiatives, priorities, and positions are directed by its Legislative Committee. This body comprises elected representatives from all of MACo’s members – the 24 county jurisdictions (including Baltimore City).

The “one county, one vote” system of deciding the Association’s legislative strategies, ensures that all counties have an equal voice. All 24 jurisdictions participated regularly in the weekly meetings throughout the session – where they also engaged with policy leaders and advocates who joined the meeting to address county leadership.

Our policy staff have compiled updates and results on all of the bills the Legislative Committee decided to take action on this year.

For the 2018 End of Session Wrap-up for each subject MACo covers, click below:

2018 End of Session Wrap-Up: Assessments and Taxation

2018 End of Session Wrap-Up: Business Affairs

2018 End of Session Wrap-Up: Disparity Grants

2018 End of Session Wrap-up: Economic Development Tax Credits

2018 End of Session Wrap-Up: Education

2018 End of Session Wrap-Up: Elections

2018 End of Session Wrap-Up: Employee Benefits & Relations

2018 End of Session Wrap-Up: Environmental Legislation

2018 End of Session Wrap-Up: Finance and Procurement

2018 End of Session Wrap-Up: Government Liability & Courts

2018 End of Session Wrap-Up: Health & Human Services

2018 End of Session Wrap-Up: Housing & Community Development

2018 End of Session Wrap-Up: Intergovernmental Relations *MACo Initiative Area*

2018 End of Session Wrap-Up: Parks & Recreation

2018 End of Session Wrap-Up: Pensions

2018 End of Session Wrap-Up: Planning & Zoning

2018 End of Session Wrap-Up: Property Taxes

2018 End of Session Wrap-Up: Public Information & Ethics * MACo Initiative Area *

2018 End of Session Wrap-Up: Public Safety and Corrections

2018 End of Session Wrap-Up: Road Funding * MACo Initiative Area *

2018 End of Session Wrap-Up: School Construction * MACo Initiative Area *

2018 End of Session Wrap-Up: State Budget & Fiscal Affairs

2018 End of Session Wrap-Up: Tax Sale Bills

2018 End of Session Wrap-Up: Transportation and Public Works

2018 End of Session Wrap-up: Wynne Tax Bills

2018 End of Session Wrap-Up: County Tax Revenues

2018 End of Session Wrap-Up: Other Tax Bills

2018 End of Session Wrap-Up: Other Tax Bills

The segments below provide a brief overview of MACo’s work to protect and grow county revenues in the 2018 General Assembly. 

Follow links for more coverage on Conduit Street and MACo’s Legislative Database

Recordation Tax Exemptions

Push Icons-IMPROVEDMACo supported a bill that would exempt certain property transfers from recordation taxes – some of which are already exempt under existing law, or else a solid policy reason exists to make them exempt through this bill. The Senate amended out of the bill the exemption for general partnerships, at MACo’s request. General partnerships—unlike corporations, LLCs, and limited partnerships—are not required to file formation documents with the State Department of Assessments and Taxation (SDAT). What constitutes a general partnership is also sometimes a question of subjective intent.

Also, as originally introduced, the proposed legislation would have expanded an exemption by including in the definition of “original mortgagor” any entity that acquired title by a deed that is exempt from recordation taxes. However, the Senate limited this expansion to a reasonable number of transactions. MACo worked closely with the bill sponsor and with stakeholders to solidify county concerns. The bill passed both the House and the Senate unanimously and awaits the Governor’s signature.

Bill Information | MACo Coverage: Stakeholders Agree to Amendments on Recordation Tax Exemptions

School Field Trip Tax Exemption

Push Icons-NOT IDEALMACo supported legislation that would authorize local governments to exempt school field trips from the admissions and amusement tax. Counties generally support legislation enabling counties to authorize tax exemptions by local ordinance, as opposed to bills which mandate those exemptions across the board. Unfortunately, the bill did not advance out of committee.

Bill Information | MACo Coverage: Counties: Clarify Tax Exemption Authority