MACo to Ways and Means Committee: Prioritize Schools, Behavioral Health, Local Decision-Making

MACo’s 2020 President, Baltimore City Council Member Sharon Green Middleton, First Vice President, Caroline County Commissioner Wilbur Levengood, Chair of MACo's Education Subcommittee, Montgomery County Council Member Craig Rice, and MACo Associate Director Kevin Kinnally today presented MACo’s 2020 Legislative Initiatives to the House Ways and Means Committee. The MACo panel followed the Department of Legislative Services’ analysts, who presented the annual Overview of State Aid to Local Governments. Substance use disorders and mental illness…

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General Assembly Will Again Consider Carbon Tax

The Maryland General Assembly will again consider legislation that adds a tax on greenhouse gas emissions with a goal of zero emissions by 2040. The bill sponsors say Marylanders are already paying for pollution through costs associated with damage to public health and the environment.  “Our Children’s Future Act” will be introduced by Delegate Fraser-Hidalgo and Senator Kramer during the 2020 session. This will be the third time carbon tax legislation is introduced in the…

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Maryland’s Overdose Numbers Show a Third Quarter Decline

The Opioid Operational Command Center's 2019 third-quarter report found an overall slight decline in opioid deaths. However, while some areas in the state saw declines other saw there overdose numbers increase. The bottom line is the work to battle the opioid crisis must continue. From the third-quarter report: Between January and September 2019, there were 1,574 opioid-related fatalities in Maryland. These fatalities accounted for 88.7 percent of the 1,774 total intoxication deaths in the same…

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OOCC Releases New Opioid Action Plan

The Opioid Operational Command Center (OOCC) has released the 2020 Maryland Inter-Agency Opioid Coordination Plan. From the coordination plan: Opioids have presented Maryland with a dire and unprecedented crisis – a crisis that stole the lives of more than 2,000 citizens in both 2017 and 2018. The effects of opioids on our state have been far reaching, and no jurisdiction or citizen has been spared from their wrath. We are thankful that 2019 brought Maryland…

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Economic Opportunity Could Help Opioid Recovery Efforts in Rural Areas

Appalachia has been hard hit by the opioid crisis and local officials are taking deep looks at all the obstacles and opportunities in the path of abating the crisis. One issue they are keying in on -- jobs and economic opportunity. Route Fifty reports on a recent summit of Applachian officials: “If you’ve got a society of addiction, how do you change that addiction?” Greg Puckett, a commissioner for Mercer County, West Virginia, said at…

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Webinar Jan 14 — Preemption: Opportunities and Challenges for Local Public Health

Topic Policy, Partners, and Preemption: Opportunities and Challenges for Local Public Health Local public health policy can have a positive impact on the health of the community, creating healthier conditions for living through everything from water fluoridation to tobacco use to minimum wage laws. But did you know that state governments can limit – or even eliminate – the impacts of locally developed policies? Fortunately, options for local public health partnerships are available to manage…

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Frederick Appoints Kay as Director of Citizens Services Division
Christine Kay (photo courtesy of Frederick County Government)
Frederick Appoints Kay as Director of Citizens Services Division

The Frederick County Council on Tuesday approved County Executive Jan Gardner's appointment of Christine Kay as Director of the Frederick County Citizens Services Division. “Christine brings outstanding leadership experience in human services,” Executive Gardner said. “She has a reputation for strong collaboration across agencies. She brings energy, big ideas, and a wealth of expertise. I am confident she will do an outstanding job for the citizens of Frederick County." According to a press release: As…

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FCC Begins Rulemaking on 988 Mental Health Emergency Hotline

The FCC has begun formal rulemaking on 988 -- a three-digit number that would allow people to connect with crisis centers in times of a mental health emergency much like they can connect with first responders when using 911 for a general emergency. From Yahoo News: Currently, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline uses a 10-digit number, 800-273-TALK (8255). That number routes callers to one of 163 crisis centers, where counselors answered 2.2 million calls last year.…

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New Jersey to Have Adult Use Marijuana on State’s 2020 Ballot

New Jersey lawmakers have approved putting adult-use cannabis before state voters on the 2020 ballot. The measure passed with a supermajority of the State Senate and Assembly. The Philadelphia Inquirer reports: In recent polls, 60% of New Jersey’s voters indicated they favored legalizing cannabis for recreational use. If approved by the voters, New Jersey would become the 11th state, along with the District of Columbia, to legalize recreational marijuana. .. If voters approve the referendum…

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New Report on Transportation and Health Equity

Smart Growth America conducted a field scan that identified six areas representing the most pressing systemic challenges to health equity facing our transportation system in the United States. Transportation can impact health in major ways, both positively and negatively. The 2019 Smart Growth America field scan report deep dives into each of the six biggest challenges to health equity facing transportation, the tools to address these problems, and the necessity of all stakeholders working together…

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