Governor Vetoes Kirwan, Tax, Fiscal Bills in Silent Session Cap-off

On the final day allotted for his decision regarding legislation passed by the General Assembly during its abbreviated session, Governor Hogan vetoed 37 bills, including the high profile Kirwan Blueprint school funding legislation, and others with fiscal effects. Governor Hogan, through statements and in the absence of any traditional "bill signing ceremony," revealed his decisions regarding legislation passed during the recent legislative session, itself abbreviated by coronavirus worries. The bottom line - 37 vetoed bills,…

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Franchot Demands Transparency in Federal Aid to Small Businesses

Maryland Comptroller Peter Franchot joins the Pennsylvania Auditor General and Delaware State Auditor in demanding transparency in the federal Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). Yesterday, Comptroller Franchot and State Auditors from Pennsylvania and Delaware joined together to call for transparency in the federal Paycheck Protection Program. The Program was launched by congress through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act to provide potentially forgivable loans to small businesses who continue to retain and pay…

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Procurement Problems Amid Pandemic

As state and local governments struggle to obtain necessary resources to effectively combat the spread of COVID-19, many are having to adapt their procurement practices. Procurement divisions in the state are scrambling to procure a variety of different products and services during the COVID-19 crisis. A nationwide issue is a lack of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), and governments are having difficulty securing the large volume required. An article in Yahoo Life details some of the challenges…

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MD CARES Plan: $364M, Split Between Local Health and Local Govts

The State's guidance for distribution of the federal CARES funds includes $364 million of local distributions -one half directed to local Health Departments in 19 counties, the other half to the county and municipal governments incurring new costs in combating the crisis. A letter from the Maryland Department of Budget and Management, on April 16, set forth the distribution plan for the federal CARES Act funding. Under the bill, large local jurisdictions (over 500,000 in…

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Fast Track Process For Federal COVID Funding – Applications Due April 17

The process for the largest counties to receive an allocation of direct federal funding under the recent emergency CARES federal bill is very accelerated - an application by April 17 is required. Details are available here. The federal CARES legislation included $150 billion in new federal funding targeting state and local governments. The process for distributing those funds to jurisdictions larger than 500,000 population (in the federal bill, those counties received a carved-out allocation) is…

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Federal Judge Okays Ocean City Topless Ban

The U.S. District Court issued a ruling Tuesday upholding an Ocean City law enacted in 2017 that prohibits female toplessness in public spaces such as the beaches and the Boardwalk. A central issue addressed in the case was whether the local elected government was best positioned to gauge the resident's sensibilities. In 2016 an Ocean City resident and later plaintiff in the case asked the Town of Ocean City whether women were permitted to go…

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MACo Preemption Bill Withdrawn, Amidst Legal Questions

MACo's legislative initiative to target "implied preemption" has been withdrawn, amidst questions about whether a statutory approach to the issue could accomplish its intended goals. MACo and the LOCAL Maryland worked with Delegate Karen Lewis Young and Senator Clarence Lam to develop and introduce legislation to clarify the circumstances where the Maryland courts would find that local governments are preempted from local action. In recent years, the state courts have been inconsistent, but have sometimes…

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2020 End of Session Wrap-Up: Emergency Services and Intergovernmental Relations

The segments below provide a brief overview of MACo’s work in the policy areas of emergency services and intergovernmental relations in the 2020 General Assembly.  County governments lead the delivery of public safety services in Maryland – with responsibility for county fire, police, and emergency services. MACo’s advocacy in the area of emergency services includes urging needed state support for county public safety services such as 9-1-1 call centers, front-line county services, and natural disaster…

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Tracking State Responses to Coronavirus

As state and local governments adapt to continually changing public health challenges presented by the novel coronavirus many are looking to see what measures have been implemented in other areas. States and local jurisdictions are taking a wide range of actions to combat coronavirus, from appropriating emergency funds for public health efforts, to activating their national guard units, closing schools, restricting employee travel, and placing different limits on gatherings. Several organizations including The National Conference…

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NACo Calls on Congress to Send Coronavirus Resources Directly to Counties

In a letter to congressional leadership, the National Association of Counties (NACo) has urged for a portion of critical coronavirus resources to flow directly to nation's 3,069 counties: Counties nationwide are committed to working with both Congress and the Administration to advance legislation that assists with the mitigation of this public health crisis and its potential far-reaching economic, health, and safety impacts on our nation. We respectfully urge that a portion of the federal resources…

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