2020 End of Session Wrap-Up: Government Liability & Courts

This post summarizes the status of various government liability and courts bills that MACo took a position on during the 2020 Regular Session. County governments enforce laws, employee residents, and maintain facilities throughout Maryland. These various roles may place county governments, much like their counterparts in the private sector, as defendants in court, litigating cases involving employment benefits, injuries sustained on county properties, or other subjects. MACo’s advocacy in this area seeks to clarify the…

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Webinar Tomorrow: Your Authority, Resources In The Corona Crisis

A webinar hosted by the Local Solutions Support Center of the Local Solutions Support Center will focus on local government authority, and its limits, amidst the current public health crisis. The coronavirus (COVID-19) has quickly become a public health pandemic across the globe, and has put cities and states at the forefront of immediate responses needed to protect people. This has also brought many new types of legal issues, challenges, and questions for elected officials…

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MACo Opposes Hiring Limitations for Jail Procurement Processes

MACo Legislative Director Natasha Mehu submitted written testimony on March 10, 2020 before the House Health & Government Operations Committee to oppose HB 1524 (CF SB 858) – Procurement and Correctional Facilities –  Employment Opportunities for Formerly Incarcerated Individuals. Although well-intentioned, the bill places concerning and complicated requirements on the local jail procurement process that may hamper rather than help the process for employing formerly incarcerated individuals. MACo also submitted testimony last month to oppose the…

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Counties Oppose Increased Inspection Requirements for Non-Residential Buildings

MACo Policy Associate Alex Butler testified March 4, 2020 with Justin Fiore from Maryland Municipal League to oppose HB 1540 (CF SB 1067) - Environment – Mold Inspections – Standards, Reporting, and Penalties.  The bill would require local jurisdictions to conduct expansive annual mold inspections in many different buildings and facilities. In all jurisdictions, this would require the addition of significant new resources resulting in costly expenditures. From the MACo Testimony: Additionally, counties do not…

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MACo Opposes Proposed Fee Shifting in Workers’ Compensation Cases

On March 3, 2020, MACo Policy Associate Drew Jabin testified before the House Economic Matters Committee and the Senate Finance Committee along with Anne Arundel Deputy County Attorney Hamilton Taylor and Bill Jorch from the Maryland Municipal League to oppose SB 619 (CF HB 767) - Workers’ Compensation – Fees for Legal Services. This bill would upend the basic structure of workers’ compensation law and potentially leave counties and other employers liable for payment of…

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MACo Opposes Complicating Water Quality Certification

MACo Policy Associate Alex Butler testified to oppose HB 1128 - Environment - Water Quality Certifications - Requests (Water Quality Certification Improvement Act). The bill would complicate a certification process for water quality, grant unprecedented legal standing to entities without a direct effect, and ultimately would significantly increase project costs for local governments. MACo understands the bill's sponsor intends to offer amendments that would help address some of the concerns raised. From the MACo Testimony:…

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MACo Opposes Court Collective Bargaining Mandate

MACo Legislative Director Natasha Mehu testified on February 20, 2020 before the Senate Finance and Judicial Proceedings Committee to oppose SB 388 - Circuit Courts and District Court of Maryland Employees – Collective Bargaining. This bill would establish collective bargaining for Circuit Court and District Court clerical, administrative, constabulary, maintenance, and housekeeping staff. From MACo Testimony: The move to collective bargaining outlined in this bill will lead to unknown and potentially significant cost increases to…

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Counties Support Witness Protection from PIA Disclosures

MACo Policy Associate Alex Butler testified to the Senate Education, Health, and Environmental Affairs Committee on February 13, 2020 to support SB 535 - Public Information Act - Denial of Part of a Public Record - Victims and Witnesses. This bill provides reasonable protections against the release of certain personally identifying information relating to witnesses under the Maryland Public Information Act (PIA) for 9-1-1 communication records. From the MACo Testimony: SB 535 would redefine the…

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Local Preemption Targeted by LOCAL Maryland Coalition, and MACo Bill

The LOCAL Maryland Coalition and MACo joined forces to discuss the goals of their collaboration to fight against state preemption, and to discuss a forthcoming bill designed to clarify the process for any future legislative preemption. LOCAL Maryland, a coalition formed to defend communities' rights to respond to local matters, and when appropriate to tailor state laws to fit their needs, raised awareness of these issues during a press event on January 17. MACo and…

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Prince George’s, NAACP File Suit Against U.S. Census Bureau

The NAACP and Prince George's County have sued the U.S. Census Bureau on the grounds that the agency's preparations have been insufficient for the 2020 census. From WBAL: The civil rights group and Prince George’s County, a majority African American county in Maryland, filed the lawsuit last Friday in federal court in Maryland. It claims the Census Bureau wasn’t planning to put enough workers in the field and hadn’t opened up a sufficient number of…

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