Senator Cardin Holds Round Table with Maryland Business Leaders

Senator Ben Cardin discussed critical issues — taxes, healthcare, infrastructure — being debated in Congress that have are impacting Maryland’s business and residents at a round table held at the Maryland Chamber of Commerce on Friday, November 17.

Senator Cardin discusses taxes, healthcare, infrastructure, transportation priorities and more at business round table.

Senator Cardin discusses taxes, healthcare, infrastructure, transportation priorities and more at business round table.The Senator emphasized his commitment to addressing key priorities for Maryland including:

  • FBI – working on finding a path forward for moving the FBI to Prince George’s County.
  • Protecting Federal and Military Installations in Maryland – ensuring they receive the resources and support they need. There was not a round of BRAC this year but one may be coming in another year or so.
  • CSX/Howard Street Tunnel – addressing the issues with the tunnel is essential to its long-term viability and talks continue with CSX financial officers and CEOs.

Q&A with the round table participants centered a lot on their frustrations with the state of the national health care laws and rising premiums, but also involved lengthy discussions on taxes, cyber security, and small business procurement issues.

 

Conduit Street Podcast, Episode #5 – The Power of Partnership

MACo’s Winter Conference will focus on intergovernmental cooperation and ways that counties can partner with entities in the public and private sector to achieve the best results for Maryland’s residents. Sessions will highlight collaboration across county lines and service areas to address priorities like the opioid epidemic, Next Gen 9-1-1, and the environment, along with other important topics like mutual aid agreements and cooperative purchasing.

On the latest episode of the Conduit Street Podcast, Kevin Kinnally and Michael Sanderson discuss the MACo Winter Conference and its focus on reviewing timely issues that will be relevant during the upcoming Maryland General Assembly Session.

MACo has made the podcast available through both iTunes and Google Play by searching Conduit Street Podcast. You can also listen on our Conduit Street blog with a recap and link to the podcast.

Listen here:

Learn more about MACo’s 2017 Winter Conference:

Carroll Commissioners Talk Future of Broadband, Economic Development

The Board of Carroll County Commissioners recently discussed how expanding broadband service can spur economic growth throughout the County. During the last budget session, the Board of County Commissioners allocated $1 million for the expansion of the fiber network in Carroll County.

According to the Carroll County Times,

The option commissioners discussed the most on Thursday was running fiber to business parks in the county to help boost economic development. The committee laid out a handful of business parks including the Eldersburg Business Center, Liberty Exchange, Twin Arch Industrial Park and the Warfield Complex, as possible places to bring fiber network to.

A lot of places already have internet through Comcast and Verizon in place, although Commissioner Doug Howard, R-District 5, pointed out, that doesn’t always mean there’s fast internet. Some places only have DSL, he said.

“Why are we making it sound like we don’t have a need for this,” he said.

“The reason we allocated this money was to drive economic development,” he added.

Commissioner Dennis Frazier, R-District 3, was in agreement, and also said he thought the county should be pushing harder, and possibly mandating, that any new business park being built has to lay conduit to make sure fiber can be used. Conduit is the piping underground that creates the path and allows fiber strands to be laid.

“If we put it in, people will come to use it,” he said. “You don’t know what you can do with it until you have it. If they’re not using it now, they don’t know.”

In today’s world, internet connectivity is no longer a luxury—it is a necessity. Broadband is as vital a resource as running water and electricity to Maryland’s communities and is absolutely critical to the future of our economy, education, and safety.

Learn how counties can benefit from expanding access to high-speed broadband at the MACo Winter Conference session, Broadband Throughout the Land, at this year’s MACo Winter Conference, The Power of Partnerships, on Wednesday, December 6 from 1:30 pm – 2:30 pm

Learn more about MACo’s 2017 Winter Conference:

Wicomico Sheriff’s Office Launches Body-Worn Camera Pilot Program

The Wicomico County Sheriff’s Office is Launching a Body-Worn Camera Pilot Program for agency personnel. Body-worn cameras are small video and audio recording devices that can be worn on the body of first responders to record interactions with the public.

According to a Wicomico Sheriff’s Office press release:

This program is guided by a policy that incorporates the best practices of the departments around the state that are successfully utilizing this tool. The objectives of  body-worn cameras are to enhance deputy safety, facilitate evidentiary integrity, acquire audio and visual information, enhance courtroom testimony proceedings and assist with internal inquiries. Body-worn Cameras may also be useful in capturing events such as demonstrations and civil disorder and may be utilized to provide impartial basis for self-critiques, field evaluations and recruit deputy training.

In 2015, the Maryland General Assembly enacted legislation to permit first responders to develop and implement Body-Worn Camera Pilot Programs. Since that time, questions have been raised about how body-worn camera footage should be treated under Maryland’s Public Information Act (PIA).

The PIA was largely created to handle paper documents and only recently updated to better handle static electronic records. Body-worn cameras raise a number of privacy and transparency concerns for state and local governments. In order to address these concerns, MACo has adopted aligning public access laws with modern technologies as one of four 2018 Legislative Initiatives.

Align Public Access Laws with Modern Technologies

Maryland’s Public Information Act creates a balanced framework for guaranteeing public access to open information, while protecting sensitive and private material. The rapid ascension of new technologies has strained the implementation and effect of these laws – potentially chilling their otherwise beneficial use. Maryland should clarify and reframe its Public Information Act to better accommodate citizen electronic engagement, personal surveillance footage from first responders and other county officials, and the release of sensitive personal information.

Click here to learn more about MACo’s 2018 Legislative Initiatives.

Aligning public access laws with modern technologies will be a topic of discussion at the MACo Winter Conference.

 

Learn more about MACo’s 2017 Winter Conference:

Maryland Launches “NSA Day of Cyber” School Challenge

The Maryland State Department of Education has announced the launch of the Maryland “NSA Day of Cyber” School Challenge, a free, online program that allows students to experience a day in the life of the nation’s top cybersecurity experts – in just three hours. The program enables students to take a seat beside the NSA Cyber Threat Director and test drive a day in the life of six NSA cyber professionals.

According to a press release:

Thousands of open and unfilled cybersecurity jobs are present in Maryland and across the country. The demand for cybersecurity professionals is growing twelve times faster than the overall job market. The NSA Day of Cyber School Challenge is a way for Maryland to help prepare students for the rewarding and impactful careers in this high-demand field.

WHEN: November 7, 2017- February 28, 2018

A kick-off event will be held Tuesday, November 7 from 5:00 pm – 6:30 pm at the Universities Space Research Association, 7178 Columbia Gateway Drive, Columbia, Maryland 21046.

HOW IT WORKS: The challenge will kick-off on November 7, 2017 with the Maryland STEM Festival’s Night of Cybersecurity and will culminate on February 28, 2018. Educators from across the state are encouraged to select a day during that time period to run the NSA Day of Cyber experience. The program can be utilized in a classroom setting or educators can choose to have students participate at home. No teacher training is required and students only need a computer with internet access.

The schools and teachers with the highest student participation in the program will be recognized by the Maryland State Department of Education. The schools with the highest student participation will be based on the number of students who have completed the introductory portion of the NSA Day of Cyber platform and have generated their “Cyber Resume.”

Helpful Tips for running the NSA Day of Cyber in the classroom are available in the Instructor Resource Guide found on the NSA Day of Cyber website, https://www.nsadayofcyber.com/.

Schools can register for the Maryland Day of Cyber School Challenge by using the following link: http://bit.ly/MDDayofCyberChallenge.

Contesting Speeding Tickets, Online

In every county in North Carolina, drivers can request and receive reductions on speeding tickets – all online.

From ThePilot.com:

The efficient, user-friendly service provides 24/7 convenience for motorists who receive a speeding ticket and meet eligibility criteria to potentially reduce and process their citation without ever having to appear at the courthouse.

“Online reductions of speeding tickets are more efficient and convenient to process the most commonly cited traffic offenses,” said Judge Marion Warren, director of the N.C. Administrative Office of the Courts. “Court technology and online services are modernizing the way the public does business with our courts.”

Technology can help counties save money, too. Learn about programs and tools servicing county budget officers at the session, “Programming Power: Technological Tools to Tighten the Budget,” at this year’s MACo Winter Conference, “The Power of Partnerships,” on Thursday, December 7 from 2pm to 3pm.

Learn more about MACo’s 2017 Winter Conference:

Broadband Throughout The Land #MACoCon

In today’s world, internet connectivity is no longer a luxury—it is a necessity. Broadband is critical to the future of our economy, education, and safety. Many Marylanders have either limited or no access to broadband, creating a gap in the ability of some communities to participate in the global economy. In order to address the service gap, counties are employing new and innovative solutions. Attend this session to learn about the challenges and best practices associated with expanding broadband access in Maryland.

Broadband Throughout the Land

Description: Public-Private Partnership, or P3, has become a buzzword in recent years, especially when it comes to infrastructure – and for good reason. As Maryland counties look to expand the availability and adoption of robust, high-quality, affordable broadband services in their communities, P3s have taken center stage. This session will provide an overview of common broadband partnership models and identify several factors that communities should consider when developing a successful partnership – what to look for in a partner, methods to structure resourceful partnerships, and how to build effective relationships.

Speakers:

  • Mark E. Ripper, Director, Dept. of Technology Services, Carroll County
  • Victor Tervala, Chief Solicitor, General Counsel Division, Law Dept., Baltimore City
  • James D. McCormick Jr., CIO, Caroline County

Date/Time: Wednesday, December 6, 2017; 1:30 pm – 2:30 pm

 

The MACo Winter Conference will be held December 6-8, 2017 at the Hyatt Regency Chesapeake Bay Hotel in Cambridge, Maryland. This year the conference’s theme is “The Power of Partnership.”

Learn more about MACo’s 2017 Winter Conference:

Hogan Executive Order Calls For New Cybersecurity Plan

Governor Larry Hogan today issued an executive order Thursday directing his Office of Homeland Security to coordinate, improve, and implement an updated cybersecurity plan to ensure that Maryland is prepared to confront today’s cyber threats.

According to a press release:

The order lays out a collaborative process for the Governor’s Office of Homeland Security, led by Walter “Pete” Landon, to work with key state agencies, including the Department of Information Technology (DoIT), the Maryland Military Department, and the Maryland Emergency Management Agency (MEMA), and to seek input and information from other branches of state and federal government, the private sector, and the academic community in order to analyze existing plans, share innovative new strategies, and determine the best cybersecurity practices for Maryland to adopt.

The new plan will also incorporate recommendations from the Maryland Cybersecurity Council and the Cyber Disruption Contingency Plan prepared by DoIT and MEMA in April 2017. Once implemented, it will improve the processes and procedures designed to shield state government from a broad array of virtual threats, and to manage and minimize the risk of any breach of government systems at a time where global cyber threats are on the rise.

The draft plan is expected to be delivered to Hogan by May 2018.

Read the full press release for more information.

MACo 2018 Initiatives: Infrastructure, Schools, Sunshine, and 9-1-1

Each year MACo adopts a slate of top legislative initiatives, typically representing the wide swath of services counties deliver to Maryland residents. 2018 is no exception, as the MACo initiatives cover education, public safety, public works, and citizen access issues.

Below is the set of top issues for the year ahead, adopted by the Legislative Committee on September 27:

Local Infrastructure Fast Track for Maryland (LIFT4MD)

Investing in infrastructure – a call addressed to every level of government – improves safety, economic development, and quality of life. Nonetheless, funding for local transportation assets, water delivery systems, public safety centers and more all lack predictable centralized funding commitments.

MACo calls on state leaders to take action in 2018 to:

– Approve meaningful new FY 2019 funding for local transportation infrastructure – building on last year’s gains
– Restore the historic 30% local share of transportation revenues – phasing back to the tried-and-true formula in place for decades
– Inventory the condition of local infrastructure across the state, using existing resources – assessing the needs and revenue sources targeted for each area
– Prioritize additional funding for local infrastructure, should the State receive extra infrastructure support from the Federal government

Strong and Smart State Funding for School Construction

The State’s commitment to school construction funding needs to remain strong and smart – to best serve the modern needs of our schoolchildren, educators, and communities. State funding needs to recognize modern cost factors as we achieve new environmental and energy standards, satisfy heightened needs for technology, ensure student safety, fulfill community resource needs, and mesh with evolving teaching methods.

County governments share responsibility for financing K-12 school construction with the State, whose funding depends on statutory formulas and regulations. MACo advocates efforts to promote the smartest and most effective funding for modern schools, and urges State policymakers to retain the State’s strong commitment to this top funding priority. In addition, MACo supports reasonable school construction improvements including alternative financing, public-private partnerships, and innovative models of school construction and design.

Align Public Access Laws with Modern Technologies

Maryland’s Public Information Act creates a balanced framework for guaranteeing public access to open information, while protecting sensitive and private material. The rapid ascension of new technologies has strained the implementation and effect of these laws – potentially chilling their otherwise beneficial use. Maryland should clarify and reframe its Public Information Act to better accommodate citizen electronic engagement, personal surveillance footage from first responders and other county officials, and the release of sensitive personal information.

Advancing Maryland Next-Generation 9-1-1 Systems

Maryland citizens demand and expect 9-1-1 emergency service to be reliable and efficient. Next-generation technology is required to keep up with this increasingly complex public safety function – improving wireless caller location, accommodating incoming text/video, and managing crisis-driven call overflows. Maryland must accelerate its move toward Next Generation 9-1-1, deliver these essential services equitably across the state, and assure effective coordination with communications providers. MACo urges a concerted statewide effort to guide this critical transition, harnessing the expertise and needs of front-line county managers.

= = = = =

At MACo’s Winter Conference, December 6-8, we will again hold a closing session on “Paths to Success in 2018” detailing means for county officials to get engaged in the fight for each of these top issues. Register today for the conference!

Annapolis Deploys Drones to Tackle Traffic Problems

For years, motorists have complained about traffic along Forest Drive, a major traffic route that serves most of Annapolis. Many of the complaints center around traffic jams resulting from accidents and road work.

Anne Arundel County Executive, Steve Schuh and Annapolis Mayor, Mike Pantelides last week announced a memorandum of understanding between the two governments to mitigate the traffic woes – and it involves drones.

The city and county will share data on land use, traffic patterns, and other transportation information to refine the county’s regional travel forecast model. The Annapolis Police Department will also deploy drones to investigate traffic accidents, which officials believe will streamline investigations while keeping traffic moving.

According to CBS Baltimore,

With gridlock as a result of accidents and roadwork, the Annapolis Police Department is turning to drones to better asses accidents and take on most of the work.

“It’s going to allow us to re-deploy our resource. Instead of having three or four officers out there directing traffic, blocking lanes,” says Chief Baker. The drones will be used to take measurements, gather evidence and investigate damages, which is work that officers are currently doing out on the roadways.

“The average accident sometimes can take three hours, now it can be done as quick as an hour so, really looking forward to this,” says Mayor Pantelides.

Legislation enacted in 2015 made Maryland one of only three states to grant the state government exclusive power to regulate drone usage, preempting municipalities and counties from enacting their own ordinances. MACo opposed this legislation as a preemption of county authority and was able to secure an amendment to assess the need for new laws or local tools after three years of industry maturation.

MACo, along with the Maryland State Police, are among the stakeholders charged with evaluating any safety or security problems arising from drone use as the industry expands in the years ahead. The stakeholder group will report its findings to the governor in 2018.

Useful Links

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