State Psychiatric Facilities Best Equipped To Handle Mental Illness

On Febraury 23rd, 2021 MACo Executive Director Michael Sanderson testified before the House Judiciary Committee in opposition to HB 851 - Corrections - Restrictive Housing - Serious Mental Illness. This bill seeks to ensure proper care for inmates kept in restrictive housing. Mr. Sanderson joined Major T.D Reece from the Calvert County Detention Center, expressing concern that the bill's application to county facilities was misplaced, despite the compelling argument for inmate welfare. From the MACo…

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MACo: Streamline Emergency Management, Support for NG911

MACo Legislative Director Kevin Kinnally yesterday testified in support of SB 658 Maryland Department of Emergency Management - Establishment and Transfer of Maryland 9-1-1 Board before the Senate Education, Health, and Environmental Affairs Committee. This bill elevates the Maryland Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) to the Governor's cabinet and transfers the Maryland 9-1-1 Board to MEMA. From the MACo Testimony: As a Cabinet-level entity, MEMA will be in a strong position to work directly with county…

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Eviction Bill Could Further Burden Sheriffs

MACo Executive Director Michael Sanderson today testified before the House Judiciary Committee to support HB 1312 COVID-19  Eviction and Housing Relief Act of 2021 with amendments. This bill's goal is to prevent large groups of tenants from being evicted during the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. From the MACo Testimony: MACo’s position on this bill is in two parts – recognizing its far reach. Components of the bill supporting local efforts to stem the effects of eviction…

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Police Reform: Senate in Work Sessions, House Has Wave of Bills

With police reforms being among the most high-profile topics expected to mass out of this General Assembly session - what are the bills in play, and where do they stand? Here's a quick update. Police reform has gathered the national attention since multiple deaths at the hands of officers elevated the tenor and debate - pushing action in many cities and States. Maryland's General Assembly has been working toward advancing multiple bills this session since…

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Why Are Jail Costs Rising, Even As Crime Rate Falls?

A Governing article examines troubling trends in local correctional costs nationally, including trends that affect Maryland facilities. Crime rates have gone down in recent decades, but facility costs and mandates have prevented the overall spending on local jails from dropping during that same period. A Governing magazine evaluation reaches this, and related conclusions, after reviewing the fiscal status of local jails nationwide: In a report released last month, the Pew Charitable Trusts analyzed local jail…

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Counties Prefer Local Autonomy On Public Safety Contracts

MACo Executive Director Michael Sanderson today submitted testimony to the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee in opposition to SB 478 Correctional Services – Immigration Detention – Prohibition (Dignity Not Detention Act). This bill would prohibit the State or any local government in Maryland from entering into agreements with private immigration detention centers. From the MACo Testimony: SB 478 limits the manner in which counties may operate their local detention facilities in regards to federal immigration detention.…

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Agencies Need Time For Body-Worn Cameras, Laws

MACo Executive Director Michael Sanderson today testified before the House Judiciary Committee in opposition to HB 187 Public Safety - Law Enforcement - Body-Worn Cameras. This bill requires all law enforcement agencies, including those run by counties, to equip officers with body-worn cameras by October 1st of this year. Mr. Sanderson offered his view that another bill, requiring cameras but after a certain time period, would allow Maryland a window to address its still-deficient Public…

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Federal FEMA Match Waived for COVID Crisis

President Biden issued a new executive memo that waives the 25% non-federal share for FEMA Category B public assistance related to the COVID national emergency - fulfilling a major priority for state and local governments. The announcement today includes specific retroactive eligibility from January 20, 2020 (start of the Stafford Act declarations for COVID) through January 20, 2021.  This has been a major ask of NACo and the "Big 7" state and local government advocacy…

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Locals: Shield “Good Faith” Actors From COVID-19 Claims

MACo Executive Director Michael Sanderson today testified before the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee to support SB 190 COVID-19 Claim – Civil Immunity. This bill would create civil immunity protection for actions taken during the Covid-19 pandemic unless there was gross negligence or intentional wrongdoing behind an individual’s actions. The bill's sponsor, Senator Christopher West, at the hearing expressed an interest in an amendment limiting the protections to those who "acted in good faith," with which…

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