2021 End of Session Wrap-Up: Government Liability & Courts

This post summarizes the status of various government liability & courts legislation that MACo took a position on during the 2021 Regular session.  County governments enforce laws, employ county residents, and maintain facilities throughout Maryland. Therefore county governments may be subject to acting as defendants in court, litigating cases involving employment benefits, injuries sustained on county properties, and various other subjects. MACo advocates on behalf of county governments to clarify the unique role that they…

Comments Off on 2021 End of Session Wrap-Up: Government Liability & Courts
Sweeping Police Reforms Passed, Await Governor’s Action

Following extended debate across both chambers, the General Assembly passed a suite of bills intended to add to police accountability and standards. The mostly party-line vote has stakeholders awaiting the Governor's action on the several proposals. Police reforms have gathered public attention for many months, and Maryland is among many states contemplating broad reforms to discipline and accountability for officers. Following a complex, and sometimes contentious, debate on multiple bills, the General Assembly finally passed…

Comments Off on Sweeping Police Reforms Passed, Await Governor’s Action
Police Reforms Moving Toward Senate/House Agreement

A complex package of police reform and accountability proposals appear to be moving toward a resolution in the days ahead. Among the most widely-watched topics in Annapolis (and in State Houses across the country) this year is legislative reforms to law enforcement oversight. With pressure from multiple stakeholders continuing well after the widespread demonstrations during the summer of 2020, the Maryland General Assembly now appears to have a plan coming together, with multiple bills advancing.…

Comments Off on Police Reforms Moving Toward Senate/House Agreement
County Re-opening Plans: Most With State, Some Staying Stricter

This week's announcement relaxing most statewide COVID restrictions on businesses and group events allowed counties to exercise "local authority" to remain more strict - and some are responding to still-troubling local caseloads and staying more cautious. This week saw a flurry of local action, which arose amidst legal questions about the Governor's latest executive order repealing many statewide restrictions. The elimination of state-granted authority left counties to quickly untangle their own processes and authority, in…

Comments Off on County Re-opening Plans: Most With State, Some Staying Stricter
Governor Rescinds State Authority For Greater Local COVID Restrictions … So, Now What?

During the Governor's press conference on March 9, he noted new Executive Orders, relaxing many of the statewide capacity and activity limitations in response to the coronavirus pandemic. A provision in one Order explicitly withdraws State authority for counties to retain stronger restrictions, apparently leaving counties to rely on their own local processes... though the Governor urged county leaders to "get in line."  The legal effects are... unclear. From a release sent to county leaders…

Comments Off on Governor Rescinds State Authority For Greater Local COVID Restrictions … So, Now What?
Washington County Commissioners Vote to Remove Meinelschmidt Over Ethics Stir, Suit to Follow

The Washington County Commissioners voted to dismiss fellow Commissioner Cort Meinelschmidt from his seat, after a recent ethics matter. The action may end up in court, with authority for the move not fully clear. Cort Meinelschmidt, elected as County Commissioner in 2018, was removed from his seat by a vote of the other sitting Commissioners this week. Their action came in the wake of ethics concerns arising from a fledgling business connected to Meinelschmidt receiving…

Comments Off on Washington County Commissioners Vote to Remove Meinelschmidt Over Ethics Stir, Suit to Follow
Davis Bill To Help OPEB Investment Trust Sails Through House

A bill introduced to assist MACo's OPEB Investment Trust has passed the House of Delegates. House Bill 378, sponsored by Delegate Debra Davis, has passed through the House of Delegates with  unanimous support. The bill was introduced to classify MACo's OPEB Investment Trust as a "local government" for liability purposes, which likely would save its participating counties and other governments on overhead costs with insurance. From MACo's testimony on HB 378: The more immediate case…

Comments Off on Davis Bill To Help OPEB Investment Trust Sails Through House
Police Reform: Senate in Work Sessions, House Has Wave of Bills

With police reforms being among the most high-profile topics expected to mass out of this General Assembly session - what are the bills in play, and where do they stand? Here's a quick update. Police reform has gathered the national attention since multiple deaths at the hands of officers elevated the tenor and debate - pushing action in many cities and States. Maryland's General Assembly has been working toward advancing multiple bills this session since…

Comments Off on Police Reform: Senate in Work Sessions, House Has Wave of Bills
MACo: Proposed Change To Tort Laws Misses the Mark

MACo Executive Director Michael Sanderson today testified before the House Judiciary Committee in opposition to HB 353 Civil Actions – Violation of Rights – Government Liability. This bill allows courts to rule judgments against individuals officers rather than their employer, the government agency. From the MACo Testimony: HB 353, apparently in pursuit of individual officer accountability, seems to unravel much of this balance. Broadly enabling judgments against individual officers creates a veneer of promoting best…

Comments Off on MACo: Proposed Change To Tort Laws Misses the Mark
MACo: Protect “Good Faith” Actions By Heath Care Workers

MACo Executive Director Michael Sanderson submitted testimony to support SB 311 Catastrophic Health Emergencies – Health Care Providers – Definition and Immunity (Maryland Health Care Heroes Protection Act) to the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee. This bill creates liability protections for health care workers who act in good faith during the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. From the MACo Testimony: SB 311 suggests such a balanced approach. Its “good faith” standard offers a reasonable measure to separate substantial…

Comments Off on MACo: Protect “Good Faith” Actions By Heath Care Workers
Close Menu