Affordable Housing Program Supported by Counties

On January 31, 2023, Associate Policy Director Dominic Butchko testified before the House Environment and Transportation Committee in support of HB 0060 - Housing Innovation Pilot Program and Housing Innovation Fund - Establishment (Housing Innovation Pilot Program Act of 2023). The bill's cross-file, SB 0315, was referred to the Senate Education, Energy, and the Environment Committee on January 27, 2023. This bill calls for the establishment of the Housing Innovation Pilot Program to provide funds…

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Affordable Housing Crisis Reduced Through Home Repairs Program

On January 31, 2023, Associate Policy Director Dominic Butchko testified before the House Environment and Transportation Committee in support of HB 0079 - Housing and Community Development - Whole-Home Repairs Act of 2023. The bill's cross-file, SB 0296, was referred to the Senate Education, Energy, and the Environment Committee on January 27, 2023. Among other provisions, HB 0079 establishes the Whole-Home Repairs Program as a special, non-lapsing fund. The Program's purpose is to provide local…

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Report Outlines Need for Low-Income Retrofits to Meet Climate Goals

A new report by a group of environmentally focused nonprofits outlines the need for investment in low-income housing retrofits.  Earthjustice, the Green and Healthy Homes Initiative, the Rocky Mountain Institute, and Sierra Club Maryland recently released a report titled,"Charting a Pathway to Maryland’s Equitable Clean Energy Future: Electrification and Building Upgrades for Low-Income Residences." The report outlines the need for investment in retrofits for low-income households to meet the state's climate goals under Climate Solutions…

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“Think Regionally” – A Conversation with Montgomery Council Member Kate Stewart

The Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments' podcast "Think Regionally" features its new Board Chair, Montgomery County Council Member Kate Stewart. The Council of Governments, or WashCOG to many, represents and serves the governments in the national capital area, and connects leaders across borders to help shape strong communities and a better region. Every month, more than a thousand officials and experts come to COG to make connections, share information, and develop solutions to the region’s…

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Frederick, Prince George’s Receive Reallocated ERA Funds

The federal government recently reallocated Emergency Rental Assistance (ERA) funds, redirecting some resources to Frederick and Prince George's Counties.  The U.S. Department of the Treasury announced that 89 state and local grantees have been awarded $690 million in reallocated funds under the Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERA) to assist renters facing financial hardship. To date, Treasury has reallocated over $3.5 billion of funds that may have otherwise gone unused, deploying funds to areas with high…

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Maryland Eviction Numbers Close to Pre-Pandemic Levels

In the wake of a shift away from COVID-era eviction prevention measures, statewide eviction numbers are starting to reach pre-pandemic levels.  In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, federal, state, and county actors implemented a slew of policy measures in an effort to prevent a wave of evictions and homelessness during the crisis. Following the pandemic, the housing market has been reeling from a mixture of supply chain and labor disruptions, as well as a multi-year…

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PA Lagging on Chesapeake Blueprint Implementation, Holding MD and VA Back

The Chesapeake Bay Foundation’s 2022 State of The Blue Print shows progress, but more work is needed.  The Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF) recently released its 2022 State of The Blueprint. The report showed significant strides in meeting the Chesapeake Clean Water Blueprint by the 2025 implementation deadline. The Blueprint is a plan outlining pollution reduction targets for Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Virginia, the three states that make up 90% of the Chesapeake Bay’s pollution. https://twitter.com/chesapeakebay/status/1612495938794176512 Maryland and Virginia…

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EPA & Army Finalize Rule Defining Waters of the United States

The EPA and the US Army recently finalized rules defining WOTUS and restoring fundamental water protections.  Earlier this week the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Department of the Army (the agencies) announced a final rule establishing a durable definition of “waters of the United States” (WOTUS) to reduce uncertainty from changing regulatory definitions, protect people’s health, and support economic opportunity. The final rule restores essential water protections that were in place prior…

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Counties discuss “Where Do Rurals Fit into All of This?”

At MACo’s Winter Conference panelists discussed rural counties and Maryland’s larger political landscape.  Rural counties play a unique both within MACo and within Maryland at large. While most of the population is centered around eight central jurisdictions, sixteen outlining counties account for a large portion of the state’s landmass and represent several of the state’s key industries. The positioning of Maryland’s rural jurisdictions in the broader political universe is unique and, when used effectively, can…

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State Supreme Court Upholds State Preemption on Solar Siting
courtesy of Maryland Court of Appeals
State Supreme Court Upholds State Preemption on Solar Siting

Earlier this month the Supreme Court of Maryland upheld state preemption on solar siting over local zoning policy.  The Maryland Supreme Court announced the decision in Frederick County v. Maryland Public Service Commission that uphold's the state's ability to preempt local zoning decisions when it comes to solar siting. This case upheld the ruling from Board of County Commissioners of Washington County, Maryland v. Perennial Solar, LLC, which established that the Maryland Public Service Commission (PSC)…

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