USDA Supports Rural Communities During COVID-19 Outbreak

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) is stepping in to help rural communities suffering from financial hardships due to the outbreak of novel coronavirus. Actions include a moratorium on evictions for residents that have received a home loan through USDA, waving many different program requirements, and extending certain deadlines. From the press release: USDA Rural Development has taken a number of immediate actions to help rural residents, businesses and communities affected by the COVID-19…

Comments Off on USDA Supports Rural Communities During COVID-19 Outbreak
Librarians Continue to Serve Education Community Needs

Although school libraries may be closed, the librarians continue to help fill needs online. While many facilities lack the tools need to implement this change rapidly, libraries are scrambling to fill the needs for students by assembling syllabi for access to student learning materials. Many academic libraries are finding creative ways to keep students in touch and supporting teachers with online learning platforms. From Education Dive: For home-schoolers, librarians can serve as a resource for parents…

Comments Off on Librarians Continue to Serve Education Community Needs
2020 End of Session Wrap-Up: Housing and Community Development

An overview of MACo’s advocacy on housing and community development legislation in the 2020 General Assembly. Under the umbrella of housing and community development, MACo advocates in support of legislation that advances local efforts to address public and affordable housing, blight, foreclosure, and community development. This year, for the first time in since the Civil War, the General Assembly closed session early on March 18, due to precautionary social distancing measures taken to curb the…

Comments Off on 2020 End of Session Wrap-Up: Housing and Community Development
U.S. Census Bureau to Suspend Field Operations Until April 1

The U.S. Census Bureau today announced that it will suspend field operations until April 1 in order to help curb the spread of the coronavirus. The bureau will refocus its resources on phone calls instead of in-person visits. Census data is used to allocate billions of dollars in federal funding for education, health, transportation, housing, community services, and job training. Moreover, businesses and industries decide where to locate new facilities and services based on census…

Comments Off on U.S. Census Bureau to Suspend Field Operations Until April 1
County Supported Library Bill Heads to the Governor
StockSnap (CC0), Pixabay
County Supported Library Bill Heads to the Governor

HB 1000 - Building Lifelong Library Learners Act has moved through the House and Senate and is now heading to the Governor for signature. This bill would boost funding for county library capital projects, accelerate increases to the library funding formulas, and encourage minors to continue to utilize their public libraries by eliminating certain fees. From MACo's testimony: Maryland’s counties share funding responsibility with the State for our libraries and support additional resources for them.…

Comments Off on County Supported Library Bill Heads to the Governor
Modest Homes Act Passes House With Amendments

HB 1406 The Planning for Modest Homes Act of 2020 has passed the Maryland House of Delegates 99-35, and has been referred to the Senate Education, Health, and Environmental Affairs Committee. Initially, MACo opposed the bill as it would have required all counties to arbitrarily amend their comprehensive zoning plans to allow triplexes in areas zoned for single-family housing. HB 1406 has since been amended to require that comprehensive plans, to the extent practicable, include…

Comments Off on Modest Homes Act Passes House With Amendments
Counties Support Bill to Clarify Eligibility for Local Option Tax Credit

MACo Associate Director Kevin Kinnally submitted testimony to the House Ways & Means Committee in support of HB 1200 - Property Tax - Credit to Offset Increases in Local Income Tax Revenues - Eligibility. This bill alters the eligibility criteria for a property tax credit that local governments are authorized to provide homeowners in order to offset increases in local income tax revenues. Under the bill, in order to remain eligible for the property tax credit,…

Comments Off on Counties Support Bill to Clarify Eligibility for Local Option Tax Credit
Counties Raise Concerns Over “One Size Fits All” Housing Bill

MACo Policy Associate Alex Butler submitted testimony to the House Environment & Transportation Committee to oppose HB 1406 - Land Use - Development - Middle Housing (Modest Home Choices Act of 2020). This bill would force all counties to arbitrarily amend their comprehensive zoning plans with a "one-size-fits all" approach that will not directly address housing affordability across the state. From the MACo Testimony: Some of the biggest affordable housing shortages are in rural jurisdictions…

Comments Off on Counties Raise Concerns Over “One Size Fits All” Housing Bill
Hearing Canceled on Ill-Conceived Rental Licensing Program

The hearing on HB 1199 - Real Property – County Rental Property Licenses – Requirements and Limits was canceled the morning the bill was set to be heard. MACo Legislative Director Natasha Mehu was set to oppose the bill as it would require counties to establish a licensing program for single-family dwelling units operated as residential rental property and cap licenses for these properties at 15% of all the single-family dwelling units in the county.…

Comments Off on Hearing Canceled on Ill-Conceived Rental Licensing Program
Counties Support Makerspace Pilot Program

MACo Associate Director Kevin Kinnally on Friday testified in support of HB 1455 (CF SB 826) - Makerspace Initiative Pilot Program before the House Ways and Means Committee. This bill creates a grant program to help counties, nonprofits, and other eligible applicants establish or expand makerspaces. Makerspaces provide the space and means for community members to design, prototype, and manufacture items using tools that would otherwise be inaccessible or unaffordable such as 3-D printers, digital…

Comments Off on Counties Support Makerspace Pilot Program
Close Menu