Risk Management Best Practices at #MACoCon

County attendees to the 2019 December MACo Winter Conference learned the basics of risk management and the necessary tools to minimize liability at panel "Academy Core: Basics of Risk Management." on December 4. Good risk management practices are essential for local governments as they oversee many high-risk functions, including public safety, infrastructure maintenance, waste disposal, and special events. Reducing and controlling loss exposure protects a county and its taxpayers from unnecessary risk. Local Government Insurance…

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Experts Discuss Maryland’s Cannabis Conundrum at #MACoCon

The State's fiscal picture, and a pending commitment to substantial new education investments, has driven talk of authorizing new activities that carry substantial new revenue potential. Public health, social equity, local reinvestment, tax and license structures, and economic development remain at the forefront of the discussion as state lawmakers consider how to best foster the growth of a responsible and legitimate cannabis industry. And although leaders of the Maryland General Assembly’s Marijuana Legalization Workgroup recently…

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Preview the 2020 Session “Big Picture”

A compilation of Issue Papers previews major fiscal and policy issues facing the General Assembly in the year ahead. This resource is a handy guide to the top issues that your legislators will be tackling in 2020 – a great preparation document for county officials in advance of meetings with their local Delegations. Developed by the Department of Legislative Services (DLS), the 2020 Issue Papers are an annual staple for the Annapolis policy-inclined population. They are also…

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Legalized Cannabis, Public Information Act Among Issues Discussed at 2019 MACo Attorneys Conference

County attorneys and legal staff from across the state attended the 2019 MACo Attorneys Conference on November 13. The annual conference allows county legal staff to receive important policy updates and discuss emerging legal challenges. Attendees heard updates on: (1) Maryland's Public Information Act; (2) Open Meetings Act; (3) recent Attorney General opinions; (4) human resource and liability issues posed by legalized cannabis; (5) sheriff and deputy sheriff liability issues; (6) 2019 interim issues; and…

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Best Practices for Solar Siting at #MACoCon

Find out the latest on local solar siting regulations and zoning at the December 2019 MACo Winter Conference. Learn how counties are working with the recent Perennial decision and discover best practices that could help your county address this challenging land use issue. Let the Sunshine In: What You Need to Know About Solar Energy Siting Description The siting of large, utility-scale solar facilities in Maryland remains an ongoing concern for county governments. A recent Court of…

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Multiple States Challenging EPA on WOTUS Definition Rollback, Air Emission Standards

A Maryland Independent article (2019-10-14) reported that multiple states, including Maryland, are challenging recent regulatory changes made by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to the Clean Water Act, including repealing a change to the "Waters of the United States" (WOTUS) definition and proposed limits to Section 401 of the Act, which allows states to block construction of interstate projects like pipelines or dams if they would damage local water quality. Waters falling under the WOTUS…

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Staples Asks Supreme Court to Weigh In on Maryland Tax Dispute

Office-supply retailer Staples Inc. last week asked the U.S. Supreme Court to review its long-standing legal battle with Maryland over the state’s claim that the retail giant owes it $14 million in back taxes. Staples Inc., based in Massachusetts, argues that Maryland's taxation of franchise fees paid by the retailer's Maryland stores violates the Constitution's Due Process and Interstate Commerce clauses. The dispute centers around whether or not franchise fee payments received from Staples' Maryland…

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Montgomery to Take Legal Action Against E-Cig Manufacturers and Distributors

Montgomery County officials plan to investigate and sue industry giant Juul as well as other manufacturers and distributors of electronic cigarettes, aka vapes. Juul is the target of several civil lawsuits around the country that call out the company for marketing vapes to teens as well as advertising false or misleading health claims. From The Bethesda Beat: On Tuesday, the County Council is scheduled to approve the appointment of a special counsel to investigate and…

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Federal Judge Allows Maryland’s MTBE Lawsuit Against Gasoline Companies to Move Forward

A Daily Record article (2019-10-08) reported that a federal District Court judge is allowing a Maryland lawsuit to proceed against various petroleum-related companies for environmental contamination from a gasoline additive. The article stated that Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh announced the lawsuit against more than 50 petroleum related companies in December, 2017. The suit alleged significant water contamination from the gasoline additive methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE), which originated from leaking underground service station tanks. (MTBE is…

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