“Peace Cross” Can Stand, Supreme Court Says
Governor Larry Hogan addresses a crowd at the "Peace Cross" in Prince George's County
“Peace Cross” Can Stand, Supreme Court Says

The U.S. Supreme Court today, in a 7-2 decision, ruled that a 40-foot World War I memorial in the shape of a Christian cross on public land does not violate the U.S. Constitution. The justices held that the First Amendment’s establishment clause, which bars the government from unduly favoring one religion over another, does not require the removal of the monument from its location in a traffic median in Bladensburg “This is a great victory…

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Harford Resolution Urges Congress to Pass the “911 SAVES Act”

The Harford County Council yesterday passed a resolution urging Congress to pass the bipartisan "911 Supporting Accurate Views of Emergency Services (SAVES) Act" to reclassify 9-1-1 call-takers and dispatchers from “Office and Administrative Support Occupations” to “Protective Service Occupations” in the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) catalog. The resolution, introduced by Councilmember Joe Woods, also acknowledges the work of 911 Specialists in Harford County as protective service. The current classification…

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Feds Squash SALT Cap Workarounds

The U.S. Department of the Treasury and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) this week squashed attempts by some states to circumvent the federal cap on the deductibility of state and local taxes (SALT). Tax reform capped SALT deductions at $10,000 – a move of particular import in states like Maryland. In response, some states passed legislation to allow local governments to create charitable funds to pay for local services and offer property tax credits to incentivize…

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NACo Webinar: Preserving Your County History through Arts-Driven Main Street Initiatives

NACo is teaming with Main Street America host an online webinar, June 19, titled: "Preserving Your County History through Arts-Driven Main Street Initiatives" WEBINAR Creative Counties: Preserving Your County History through Arts-Driven Main Street Initiatives Jun. 19, 2019 , 2:00 pm – 3:15 pm Contact Jenna Moran (202) 942-4224 jmoran@naco.org Counties across America are taking steps to preserve their community history while transforming their main street to revitalize local economy and attract residents downtown. Join us on June…

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Feds Grant Talbot $5.5M for Easton Airport Runway Extension
Photo courtesy of Talbot County Government
Feds Grant Talbot $5.5M for Easton Airport Runway Extension

Maryland U.S. Senators Chris Van Hollen and Ben Cardin today announced $5.55 million in federal funding for the Easton Airport (Easton/Newman Field) through the Department of Transportation (DOT) and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). The grant will fund the first phase, including land acquisition, of a project to shift and extend one of the airport’s runways to meet demand. The Airport is owned and operated by Talbot County, which has been working toward this extension…

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Montgomery County Recreation Earns NACo Achievement Awards

The National Association of Counties (NACo) has recognized two of Montgomery County Recreation’s (MCR) innovative programs with 2019 Achievement Awards. The award-winning MCR programs are Senior Planet Montgomery and the Summer Leadership Challenge. According to a press release: “These awards highlight the strength and diversity of our programming for youth and seniors at Montgomery County Recreation,” said MCR Director Robin Riley. “I am proud of our creative and hardworking staff’s work that resulted in this…

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FCC Ruling Allows Carriers to Block More Robocalls

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) today affirmed that telecom providers may block unwanted robocalls before they reach consumers. The FCC’s ruling will allow telecom companies to automatically block suspected robocalls from going through to customers’ phones. The order also permits customers to opt into more dynamic call-blocking services by allowing carriers to block all calls not originating from a pre-approved list or address book. According to a press release: Specifically, the Commission approved a Declaratory Ruling…

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Congress Approves Short-Term Extension of National Flood Insurance Program

Congress averts a lapse in the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) by approving a short-term extension of the program until June 14. The U.S. House of Representatives last week approved a two-week extension (S.1693) of the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) by voice vote, ensuring passage before the May 31 deadline. The House action follows the U.S. Senate passing the legislation on May 23. President Trump officially signed the bill into law on May 31.…

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Federal CREP Funding Renewed for Stream Buffers on Farms; Many Existing Contracts Set to Expire

A Bay Journal article (2019-05-29) reported that the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) will reopen signups for the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP) after an 8-month freeze. CREP, which has proven to be a key program in Chesapeake Bay restoration efforts, subsidizes farmers to replace cropland or marginal pastureland with native vegetation or forested stream buffers. In return for planting trees or other vegetation to enhance and protect water quality, CREP provides annual payments through 10-…

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NACCHO Letter to Congress Highlights Climate Change Health Threats

In a letter sent to the House Subcommittee on Environment of the House Committee on Oversight and Reform the National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO) highlighted health threats posed by climate change as well as the vital role local health departments play in mitigating those threats and challenges they face doing so. From NACCHO's letter to the subcommittee: Across the country, local health departments are tasked with addressing the many health risks…

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