“Women of Color In Leadership” – a Featured Speaker at #MACoCon

Senator Jill P. Carter will join a dual-sponsored luncheon at MACo's Summer Conference - reflecting on recent legislation, and the role for "Women of Color in Leadership" Two of Maryland's Chapter Organizations, the Diversity Caucus and the Women of MACo, will jointly hold a luncheon meeting on Thursday, August 19, 2021; 11:30 am – 12:30 pm at the MACo Summer Conference. The luncheon, as always, will be open to all conference attendees - not just…

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States Moving Toward Accepting Purdue Pharma’s Bankruptcy

Purdue Pharma, the largest player in ongoing litigation over opioid manufacturer lawsuits, has proposed a complex bankruptcy - many states (but not yet including Maryland) have withdrawn initial opposition to the plan. States across the country have sued opioid manufacturers and distributors, seeking offsets for the massive social and fiscal costs from the widespread addiction problems arising from their overuse and misuse. One major element of this still-unfolding story is the planned bankruptcy of Purdue…

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Housing Advocates Press Governor to Fund Tenants’ Counsel

Legislation passed in 2021 to provide legal counsel to tenants facing eviction, but did not compel the Governor to fund it - advocates are calling for the funding and service to be provided. HB 18 passed the General Assembly, with many amendments, providing a variety of protections for tenants facing eviction - most notably a right to legal counsel. Multiple provisions spell out the creation of a special fund and its uses, and a process…

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Baltimore Climate Change Liability Case Returns to 4th Circuit

Yesterday, the Supreme Court ruled that a Baltimore City lawsuit targeting the oil and gas industry should return to federal court. In 2018, Baltimore City filed a lawsuit against several oil and gas companies alleging that they concealed the environmental impacts of their products. The City seeks damages to help cover costs associated with climate change adaption. The Supreme Court agreed to address a question of process - whether the case should remain in federal…

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Tax Court Upholds Reduced Rate for Wynne Refunds

The Maryland Tax Court rejected assertions that the Maryland Comptroller's decision to apply a reduced interest rate for unpaid refunds resulting from the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2015 decision in Comptroller of Maryland v. Wynne violated the Fourteenth Amendment's established right to due process, the Fifth Amendment's protection against takings without just compensation, and the prohibition on legislation impairing vested rights established by the Maryland Constitution and Maryland Declaration of Rights. The decision is the latest chapter in…

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NC Reaches Breakthrough Opioid Settlement Agreement

The North Carolina County Commissioners Association, collaborating with its state leadership, announced an agreement on distribution of anticipated opioid settlement funds, resulting from State and local lawsuits against the drug manufacturers. Under the agreement, 80% of funds received will be used by local governments "on the ground" to combat the ongoing crisis. Attorney General Josh Stein and the North Carolina Association of County Commissioners today unveiled a historic agreement to fight the opioid epidemic. The…

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MD “Bump Stock” Ban Will Stand, after SCOTUS Denies Appeal

Maryland's ban on "bump stock" gun additions has survived court challenges, after an appeal to the Supreme Court was denied. The Maryland law, passed in 2018, preceded a federal ban on similar equipment. Gun rights advocates had protested the move. From coverage from the Associated Press: The high court on Monday turned away a challenge to the ban, which took effect in October 2018. A lower court had dismissed the challenge at an early stage…

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Two New Boards Your County Will Need, After 2021 Police Reforms

2021 police reform legislation changed many laws regarding use of force, police training, and accountability -- but amidst that all-encompassing bill are two provisions requiring counties to create new structures to promote clearer processes for officer discipline. The far-reaching police reform bill, Speaker Jones's HB 670, has become law following a veto override in the waning days of the 2021 session. The much-discussed bill is the cornerstone of a major legislative focus this year --…

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Anne Arundel Sues Fossil Fuel Companies Over Climate Change

Anne Arundel County Executive Steuart Pittman and Anne Arundel County Attorney Greg Swain yesterday announced that the County filed suit in Anne Arundel County Circuit Court to hold more than two dozen fossil fuel companies accountable for costs the County is incurring to battle the consequences of climate change. “Filing this suit is about protecting our taxpayers and businesses from the growing fiscal impacts of climate change,” County Executive Steuart Pittman said. “The damage inflicted…

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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…

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