State Opens Application Window for $95 Million to Further Expand Broadband Access

Internet Service Providers, Local Governments, Can Apply for Grants to Connect Unserved and Underserved Areas The Office of Statewide Broadband is now accepting applications for $95 million in funding to expand high-speed internet access across the state through Connect Maryland, an initiative to supercharge the state’s investment in broadband and address the digital divide. The Connect Maryland Network Infrastructure Grant Program provides between $1 million and $10 million to local governments or their Internet Service Provider partners…

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Mail-In Ballots On the Way, Ballot Boxes Open Statewide

The Maryland State Board of Elections confirmed that mail-in ballots for the 2022 General Election were sent to requesting voters. SBE expects it will take up to five days for voters to receive their ballots in the mail. Voters who have not yet requested a mail-in ballot but would like to do so are encouraged to submit their request as soon as possible. The deadline to request a mail-in ballot sent via the US Postal…

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MACo’s Sarah Sample Advances to Associate Policy Director

MACo's newest hire is advancing from Research Coordinator to Associate Policy Director. Sarah Sample, new to the MACo staff in August and making her first appearance at the recent summer conference, will advance to a fully fledged role with the MACo policy team, taking on a portfolio of issues including public health, public safety and corrections, and legal/liability issues. D'Paul Nibber, a member of the policy team for a bit more than one year, resigned…

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New State and Local Directors of Cybersecurity Have Local Roots

Governor Larry Hogan today announced that the State of Maryland hired John A. Bruns as the director of State Cybersecurity and Netta Squires, Esq. as the director of Local Cybersecurity. These positions as part of an overarching cybersecurity legislative package passed early this year. Both directors will work at the Department of Information Technology and report to the State Chief Information Security Officer. Bruns has over 15 years of experience developing, managing, and delivering mission-critical…

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FCC Improves Emergency Alert System Messages

TV and Radio Alerts Will Be Clearer and More Accessible to the Public. The Federal Communications Commission is updating its Emergency Alert System rules to ensure delivered over television and radio are more informative and easier to understand by the public, particularly people with disabilities. The Emergency Alert System, which government agencies use to send alerts and warnings to the public over television and radio, is made up of both a legacy system and an…

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$280 M in Federal Funding Available to Support School Mental Health

The U.S. Department of Education is now accepting applications for two federal grant programs aimed at increasing mental health supports for students.  The U.S. Department of Education (USDE) has opened grant applications for two new federal programs to strengthen mental health resources and staff in public schools. USDE published grant requirements in August and noted that that funding would be directly distributed to states and school districts to expand school-based mental health services. Together, the two grants will "encourage…

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SDAT Forms New Office to Boost Customer Service, Standards

The Maryland State Department of Assessments and Taxation (SDAT) announced the formation of the Office of Customer Experience, which will continually evaluate how SDAT employees interact with customers and make internal recommendations for management and staff to streamline services, provide support, and ensure overall satisfaction. "An informed workforce creates satisfied customers," said SDAT Director Michael Higgs. "By gaining better insight into how we relate to the public, we can give our employees the tools they…

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Maryland to Debut New (227) Area Code in 2023

The Maryland Public Service Commission (PSC) announced the assignment of 227 as a new area code, eventually serving the same geographic area in Maryland currently served by the 240 and 301 area codes. In August, the Commission approved a petition filed by the North American Numbering Plan Administrator (NANPA), the neutral third-party entity that allocates telephone numbering resources. Dwindling Supply of Existing 240/301 Phone Numbers The 240/301 calling area serves residents and businesses in Allegany,…

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Amazon Partners with Counties to Support Veterans

The National Association of Counties (NACo) and the National Association of County Veteran Service Officers (NACVSO) introduced Amazon as an official partner for Operation Green Light for Veterans. America’s counties have a long and proud history of serving our nation’s veterans. This legacy continues today as counties work with our federal, state, and local partners to ensure that former service members can access the resources they need to thrive. Naco invites the nation’s 3,069 counties,…

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FEMA Awards Washington County $1.9M for Lifesaving Equipment

In collaboration with the Potomac Valley Volunteer Fire Company, the Washington County Division of Emergency Services received a $1.9 million Regional Assistance for Firefighters Grant (AFG) from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to fund equipment for firefighters. "On behalf of the entire Board of County Commissioners for Washington County, MD, I extend our appreciation to Potomac Valley Volunteer Fire Company for your efforts to assist our County in obtaining a FEMA Grant Award," said…

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