MACo Announces 2021 Legislative Initiatives

MACo to prioritize county budget security, elections, broadband access, and public health support in the 2021 session.  MACo’s Legislative Committee voted at the September 16, 2020 meeting to adopt the Association’s four priorities for the 2021 Maryland General Assembly Session. These issues cover a broad range of important county concerns that MACo will proactively advocate for in front of the General Assembly. DEFEND COUNTY BUDGET SECURITY The State and Counties together face an unprecedented public…

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St. Mary’s Allocates $100,000 for Internet Provider Assessment

The Commissioners of St. Mary’s County have voted to allocate $100,000 toward assessing local internet providers. Funds will go toward a report that will help assess available internet service provider options in the county, and identify opportunities to potentially bring in more service. The County's Chief Information Officer went before the Commissioners to ask for the allocation at a meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 15. Funding for the assessment will come from a federal CARES Act…

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Howard Seeks Public Input for Website Revamp

Howard County Executive Calvin Ball yesterday released a public survey for residents and businesses to provide feedback on the Howard County Government website (www.howardcountymd.gov). “Our residents and businesses deserve a fast, user-friendly experience when visiting our website, so they can find critical information and access important services and resources,” said County Executive Ball. “As we undergo a re-design process, we want to first and foremost hear from you. Through this survey, we want to listen…

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Calvert Names New Director of Technology Services
Amy Lawson (photo courtesy of Calvert County Government)
Calvert Names New Director of Technology Services

The Calvert County Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) recently appointed Amy Lawson as director of the Department of Technology Services. Lawson has extensive experience in both the public and private sectors. Most recently, she held leadership roles in the elite Technology Transformation Service at the General Services Administration, where she focused on user experience, customer experience, and on FedRAMP, the federal government’s cybersecurity framework for cloud platforms. “Amy’s diverse background, with a number of key…

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FAA Announces Drone Line-of-Sight Waiver for Public Safety Agencies

Public safety agencies that operate drones can now apply for a beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) waiver from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). In the past, public safety agencies have always had to maintain a visual line of sight when operating unmanned aircraft (UAS). Recognizing the need to support public UAS operators acting in an active first responder capacity, the FAA last week announced the “First Responder Tactical Beyond Visual Line of Sight” (TBVLOS)…

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Frederick Launches OpenBook Budget Portal

Frederick County Executive Jan Gardner yesterday unveiled a new initiative to ensure open government and provide greater access and transparency to the County’s budget. OpenBook — an online portal that allows the public to explore revenues and expenditures in the County’s operating budget and details about specific projects in the capital budget — offers charts and graphs, maps, photographs, and timelines. For example, viewers can click on a specific construction project and learn its status,…

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St. Mary’s Increases Broadband Opportunities for Students

St. Mary's County will receive $1,685,521 in grant funding to support expanded broadband access for students through the Broadband for Unserved Students Grant. St. Mary's County Government and St. Mary's County Public Schools (SMCPS) identified 580 households currently underserved. Funded through the grant, cable installation is scheduled to begin in September and SMCPS will order mobile hotspots to fill internet service gaps as well. From the press release: Following the meeting, Commissioner President Randy Guy…

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Maryland Launches Statewide Text-to-911 Service

Effective Thursday, August 20, 9-1-1 call centers across Maryland will begin accepting text messages via text-to-911 service. Customers of the three major wireless carriers (AT&T, former Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon) who are enrolled in their carriers’ text messaging and/or data plan can send text messages to 9-1-1 in an emergency when they are unable to place a phone call. Text-to-911 is intended for use in three scenarios: For individuals who are deaf, hard-of-hearing, or have…

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New Federal Legislation Could Provide Up to $28 Billion for State and Local IT and Cybersecurity

The United States House of Representatives recently introduced new legislation that could potentially deliver $28 billion in federal funds to state and local governments in order to upgrade IT and cybersecurity infrastructure. The State and Local IT Modernization and Cybersecurity Act would create a federal funding mechanism for state and local governments to address IT and cybersecurity issues. The bill would create three new federal grant programs in order to help state and local governments.…

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