MACo to Governor: Sign MACo’s 9-1-1 Initiative Bill

MACo sent a letter to Governor Hogan today, urging him to sign HB 634/SB 285 – Commission to Advance Next Generation 9-1-1 Across Maryland – Establishment, a 2018 MACo Legislative Initiative that unanimously passed both the Senate and House of Delegates. This legislation is essential to ensure that Maryland is prepared for the deployment of a statewide Next Generation 9-1-1 (NG911) system that our residents expect and deserve.

Maryland citizens demand and expect 9-1-1 emergency service to be reliable and efficient. Next-generation technology is required to keep up with this increasingly complex public safety function – improving wireless caller location, accommodating incoming text/video, and managing crisis-driven call overflows. Maryland must accelerate its move toward NG911, deliver these essential services equitably across the state, and assure effective coordination with communications providers.

From the MACo Letter:

Today, the key underpinnings of the legacy 9-1-1 framework are based on the same wireline, analog, circuit-switched technology that was the foundation of the original 9-1-1 architecture in 1968. Aside from an enhanced data environment and the ability to support wireless and Internet telephony, the system has not significantly changed in more than 40 years.

In order to close this gap and benefit from the monumental advancements that are taking place in commercial communications, this bill establishes the Commission to Advance Next Generation 9-1-1 (NG911) Across Maryland. MACo believes this legislation is vital for the development of a statewide strategy to create a common framework for the implementation of NG911 in Maryland.

The Commission will examine the strategic aspects of NG911 implementation in coordination with the existing efforts of the Emergency Number Systems Board (ENSB), with a particular emphasis on addressing areas outside of the statutory responsibilities of the ENSB. The Commission will study and make recommendations for the implementation, technology, funding, governance, and ongoing statewide development of NG911 to the Governor and Maryland General Assembly.

In the letter, MACo praises Governor Hogan for his leadership on the Maryland Text to 9-1-1 Initiative:

The importance of this legislation cannot be overstated. Counties applaud your leadership on the Text to 9-1-1 initiative, and hope to build upon that momentum as we work to implement NG911 in Maryland. MACo as an organization stands ready to work with you, your Appointments Office, and other stakeholders to populate the Commission quickly, so they can begin their important work.

Counties encourage efforts to enhance emergency communications in Maryland. SB 285/HB 634 urges a statewide effort to guide this critical transition, harnessing public safety industry leadership and expertise to address complex public safety concerns.

Read the full MACo letter online.

Read MACo’s testimony on HB 634/SB285.

Round-up of the 2018 Session for Counties

MACo’s legislative efforts earned an 80% success rate – and as usual, the counties’ voice makes a difference in Annapolis. Bills we support are more likely to pass, and bills we oppose are more likely to fail.

2018 Legislative Results Infographic

MACo’s legislative initiatives, priorities, and positions are directed by its Legislative Committee. This body comprises elected representatives from all of MACo’s members – the 24 county jurisdictions (including Baltimore City).

The “one county, one vote” system of deciding the Association’s legislative strategies, ensures that all counties have an equal voice. All 24 jurisdictions participated regularly in the weekly meetings throughout the session – where they also engaged with policy leaders and advocates who joined the meeting to address county leadership.

Our policy staff have compiled updates and results on all of the bills the Legislative Committee decided to take action on this year.

For the 2018 End of Session Wrap-up for each subject MACo covers, click below:

2018 End of Session Wrap-Up: Assessments and Taxation

2018 End of Session Wrap-Up: Business Affairs

2018 End of Session Wrap-Up: Disparity Grants

2018 End of Session Wrap-up: Economic Development Tax Credits

2018 End of Session Wrap-Up: Education

2018 End of Session Wrap-Up: Elections

2018 End of Session Wrap-Up: Employee Benefits & Relations

2018 End of Session Wrap-Up: Environmental Legislation

2018 End of Session Wrap-Up: Finance and Procurement

2018 End of Session Wrap-Up: Government Liability & Courts

2018 End of Session Wrap-Up: Health & Human Services

2018 End of Session Wrap-Up: Housing & Community Development

2018 End of Session Wrap-Up: Intergovernmental Relations *MACo Initiative Area*

2018 End of Session Wrap-Up: Parks & Recreation

2018 End of Session Wrap-Up: Pensions

2018 End of Session Wrap-Up: Planning & Zoning

2018 End of Session Wrap-Up: Property Taxes

2018 End of Session Wrap-Up: Public Information & Ethics * MACo Initiative Area *

2018 End of Session Wrap-Up: Public Safety and Corrections

2018 End of Session Wrap-Up: Road Funding * MACo Initiative Area *

2018 End of Session Wrap-Up: School Construction * MACo Initiative Area *

2018 End of Session Wrap-Up: State Budget & Fiscal Affairs

2018 End of Session Wrap-Up: Tax Sale Bills

2018 End of Session Wrap-Up: Transportation and Public Works

2018 End of Session Wrap-up: Wynne Tax Bills

2018 End of Session Wrap-Up: County Tax Revenues

2018 End of Session Wrap-Up: Other Tax Bills

Prince George’s Sheriff’s Office Earns National Law Enforcement Accreditation

The Prince George’s County Sheriff’s Office recently earned its national accreditation from one of the nation’s most prestigious law enforcement evaluation agencies. The accreditation process included a comprehensive review of the sheriff’s office’s policies and practices.

According to The Washington Post:

It is the first time the sheriff’s office has received such a certification from the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies in the agency’s 321-year history. The colonial governor of Maryland appointed the county’s first sheriff in 1696.

“We passed with a 100 percent compliance,” Chief Assistant Sheriff Darrin C. Palmer said last week, after the agency announced the certification was officially awarded in March. “These standards are considered best practices for where law enforcement is now. They run the full gambit of policies from use of force, to the way you handle complaints, to field operations.”

Though such accreditation is not mandatory, law enforcement agencies consider the certification a benchmark for law enforcement standards across the country.

Read the full article for more information.

2018 End of Session Wrap-up: Public Safety and Corrections

An overview of MACo’s advocacy on public safety and corrections legislation in the 2018 General Assembly. 

Follow links for more coverage on Conduit Street and MACo’s Legislative Database

Push Icons-DEFEATED

MACo successfully opposed a bill that would have set a broad prohibition on the ability of local jails to impose fees for pretrial services, which may result in unintended consequences affecting the ability to provide pretrial services. House Bill 480 / Senate Bill 484 received an unfavorable report from its committee. Bill Information | MACo Coverage: Pretrial Cost Recovery is Critical to Provision of the Service

Push Icons-DEFEATED

MACo opposed a bill that would have restricted the ability
for local jails to recoup limited costs for an inmate’s participation in pre-release or work release programs, which could result in the unintended consequence of depleting the availability of these valued offerings. House Bill 1313  received an unfavorable report from its Committee. Bill Information

Push Icons-DEFEATED

MACo opposed a bill that would have required each county that receives State funding for public safety purposes to establish a pre-release program that provides specified rehabilitative activities and authorized a certain judge to approve the transfer of inmates to a pre-release centers. House Bill 1733 was a late introduction an was never granted a hearing. Bill Information

Push Icons-WON

MACo successfully supported a bill that as it strives to address the
pressing issue of defendants with serious mental illness being held in jail despite an order of commitment to a state treatment facility. House Bill 111 / Senate Bill 233 was passed by the General Assembly and awaits the Governor’s signature. Bill Information | MACo Coverage: General Assembly Passes Bill to Expedite Inmate Mental Illness Placements

Push Icons-NOT IDEAL

MACo supported a bill that strives to address the pressing issue of defendants with serious mental illness being held in jail despite an order of commitment to a state treatment facility. Unfortunately, House Bill 385 received an unfavorable report from its committee. Bill Information | MACo Coverage: Failure to Follow a Prompt Placement of Defendants Leads to Penalties

 

Push Icons-WON

MACo successfully supported a bill that creates a fund to help with
the establishment and advancement of pretrial services in jails across the state.  House Bill 447 / Senate Bill 1156 was passed by the General Assembly and awaits the Governor’s signature. Bill Information | MACo Coverage: Pretrial Programs Limit Unnecessary Incarceration

 

Push Icons-NOT IDEAL

MACo supported a bill that would have established the Youth Crime Prevention and Diversion Parole Fund to provide grant assistance to local law enforcement agencies to police high-crime areas.  Unfortunately, House Bill 1732 was introduced late and never received a hearing. Bill Information

 

Push Icons-IMPROVED

MACo supported with amendments a bill to ensure counties retain the authority to take swift action against alarm system contractors that shirk their responsibilities and violate local laws. MACo advanced that the bill’s original 10-day time frame would hinder the ability of local governments to effectively hold bad acting
contractors accountable. House Bill 1117 / Senate Bill 927 was passed by the General Assembly with MACo’s amendments and now awaits the Governor’s signature. Bill Information | MACo Coverage: Proper Alarm System Registration Helps Counties Marshal Resources

Push Icons-DEFEATED

MACo supported with amendments a bill to authorize
rather than mandate additional terms for length of service awards programs. MACo’s proposed amendments would ensure that counties can continue to effectively administer the programs in the best interests of their counties and volunteers. When MACo’s amendments were not added by the sponsor, House Bill 1515 did not advance as a mandate. Bill Information | MACo Coverage: Mandate Across Counties Establishes an Unpredictable Fiscal Impact

For more information on public safety and corrections legislation tracked by MACo during the 2018 legislative session, click here.

Pretrial Programs Limit Unnecessary Incarceration

MACo Legislative Director Natasha Mehu testified in support of House Bill 447 and Senate Bill 1156, “Pretrial Services Program Grant Fund – Establishment”, before the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee on April 5, 2018.

This bill would establish pretrial programs in counties that do not already have them through a grant fund operated by the Governor’s Office of Crime Control and Prevention (GOCCP). The grant is funded by proceeds from the state police sales of forfeited property, in addition to any governor appropriations, grants, or other sources. The bill would alleviate the concerns of starting a pretrial program, and maintains some flexibility for counties to tailor the program to their specific jurisdiction.

From MACo Testimony:

The bill helps to mitigate the cost concerns of starting or enhancing a pretrial program, providing local governments a source for start-up grant funding. This funding supplements but does not supplant existing sources of funding, enabling counties to leverage other opportunities to help fund the launch and continued support of pretrial programs. While the bill has some evidence-based requirements, it keeps the eligibility requirements flexible enough for counties, who are best situated to determine the parameters of their pretrial programs based on the needs of their communities, to do so without mandating a “one size fits all” model.

The fund established under HB 447 to help improve and expand the establishment of pretrial services in county jails will help advance the efforts to address the operational and societal costs of incarceration.”

 

 

Law Professors: Comprehensive Crime Bill “Comprehends Too Much”

A number of law professors have contacted General Assembly leadership with concerns that the prominent SB 122, Comprehensive Crime Bill of 2018 violates the “single-subject rule.”

The single-subject rule, codified in Article III, Section 29 of the Maryland Constitution, states that “every law enacted by the General Assembly shall embrace but one subject.”

The law professors, who include professors from the University of Maryland School of Law and University of Baltimore School of Law, argue that the bill in its current form covers 29 subjects ranging from health and public safety to procurement.

Now styled as the “Comprehensive Crime Bill,” this legislation simply seeks to comprehend too much.

The Coalition for a Safe and Just Maryland makes the full letter available:

Harford Announces New School Safety Plan

County Executive Glassman Announces $1.2M for School Safety

Harford County Executive Barry Glassman on Tuesday announced plans to strengthen security in local public schools with nearly $1.2 million in new funding to be included in his proposed FY 2019 county budget. In a joint press conference with the Harford County Sheriff’s Office, Harford County Public Schools, and the Town of Bel Air, the county executive said that $773K of the total would be dedicated to expanding the school resource officer program. The remainder will fund the school system’s FY19 requests for security camera upgrades and bi-directional amplifiers to improve radio communications in schools.

According to a press release:

All of the county’s public high schools and four middle schools currently have school resource officers, which are funded by either Harford County government or the municipalities of Aberdeen, Bel Air and Havre de Grace. Plans announced Tuesday would result in SROs in all nine of the county’s public middle schools. The new positions would bring the total county funding for SROs to over $2.1 million annually.

The Harford County Sheriff’s Office screens, hires, and trains the county-funded SROs, a process estimated in this case to take nine months. Once the process is complete, the new county-funded SROs would be assigned to Fallston MS, North Harford MS, Patterson Mill MS and Southampton MS, in addition to the Alternative Education Program at the Center for Educational Opportunity. The Town of Bel Air announced Tuesday that it plans to fund the SRO for Bel Air MS.

In elementary schools, the Glassman administration has funded more than $7 million toward enclosing classrooms designed decades ago as “open classrooms” that now raise safety concerns. Most recently, the administration contributed nearly $4 million in FY 2018 to enclose classrooms at Bel Air Elementary School, the last such school in the county. That project is now underway.

Responding to the national mental health crisis, the county executive previously announced that $250K would be included in his proposed FY 19 budget for a 24-Hour Crisis Center for mental health and addiction. That project is planned in partnership with University of Maryland Upper Chesapeake Health, the Harford County Health Department, and Healthy Harford.

Read the full press release for more information.

General Assembly Passes Bill to Expedite Inmate Mental Illness Placements

The General Assembly has passed a bill that provides an accelerated process for placing defendants unable to stand trial because of serious mental illness into treatment instead of being held in jail.

MACo supported HB 111, sponsored by Delegate Erek Barron, as it addressed the crucial issue of lack of treatment beds and prompt placement of defendants court-ordered into treatment due to serious mental illness. These defendants are often held in county jails awaiting a treatment bed — an unfortunate and unacceptable situation that is bad for the defendants in need of treatment and problematic for the jails.

As passed by the General Assembly, the bill expands the types of facilities the Maryland Department of Health (MDH) may place an individual for treatment, recognizing the efforts the MDH has made to contract with hospitals and other private facilities for beds. Additionally instead of the court specifying a placement date, it sets an “as soon as possible, but no later than 10 days” time frame for placement. Finally, sanctions are limited to any that are reasonably designed to compel compliance, including reimbursement to the jails for holding a defendant beyond 10 days.

From The Baltimore Sun :

The 10-day requirement represents a compromise between proponents of the bill and the department. Barron’s original bill called for immediate admission once ordered by a judge.

Barron, a Prince George’s County Democrat, called the bill’s passage “a significant step toward relieving a longstanding issue of healthcare treatment, due process and public safety.”

“I’m hopeful Maryland is now trending towards being a national model for the decriminalization of mental illness,” he said.

For more on this and other legislation, follow MACo’s advocacy efforts during the 2018 legislative session here.

For more information:

Maryland legislature OKs deadline for state-run psychiatric hospitals to admit patients from jails (The Baltimore Sun)

Bill Fast-Tracking Inmate Psych Bed Placements on the Move (Conduit Street)

Accelerate Placement of Defendants With Mental Illness (Conduit Street)

County Jails Are Not Mental Health Facilities

MACo submitted written testimony to the House Judiciary Committee in support of Senate Bill 233, “Maryland Department of Health – Defendants Found Incompetent to Stand Trial or Not Criminally Responsible – Commitment”, on March 29, 2018.

SB233 provides an expedited process for placing defendants unable to stand trial. The Maryland Department of Health (MDH) is required to place these individuals in a care facility by a court-specified date. If MDH fails to place the individual within that period of time, they must show the reason for this delay. Penalties are possible if the court determines that there was not sufficient reason to delay placement.

From MACo Testimony:

While some progress has been made by the State to address internal processing issues and the lack of beds, more must be done. The State must continue to build on the progress made and take steps to ensure the crisis is abated now and for the future. Due to the severity of their mental illness, holding these inmates in jail longer than absolutely needed is unconscionable. County jails cannot continue to be de facto mental health facilities.

SB 233 establishes a process for defendants in need of treatment to be promptly placed in state facilities for care they need without languishing inappropriately in county jails.”

SB 233 passed the Senate 45-0 on March 14. For more on this and other legislation, follow MACo’s advocacy efforts during the 2018 legislative session here.

Hackers Target Baltimore City 9-1-1 Dispatch System

Baltimore City’s 9-1-1 dispatch system was breached by hackers last weekend. The breach lasted for 16 hours and was perpetrated by an unknown actor or actors. An investigation is underway.

Mayor Catherine Pugh’s office emphasized that the incident was a “limited breach” and that critical services were not impacted or disrupted. The breach forced details from incoming callers seeking emergency support to be relayed manually, instead of electronically. Technicians were able to isolate the affected server and now the systems have been fully restored.

According to The Baltimore Sun:

City personnel “identified a limited breach” of the CAD system, which supports the city’s 911 and 311 services, about 8:30 a.m. Sunday, Frank Johnson, chief information officer in the Mayor’s Office of Information Technology, said in a statement.

Johnson said 911 and 311 “were temporarily transitioned to manual mode” and continued to operate without disruption.

“This effectively means that instead of details of incoming callers seeking emergency support being relayed to dispatchers electronically, they were relayed by call center support staff manually,” Johnson said.

Cyber attacks are a major concern for 9-1-1 call centers across the country. The transition to Next Generation 9-1-1 (NG911) provides an opportunity for stakeholders to collaborate and share best practice information.

HB 634/SB 285 – Commission to Advance Next Generation 9-1-1 Across Maryland – Establishment, a 2018 MACo Legislative Initiative, creates a Commission to look at the strategic aspects of NG911 implementation in coordination with the Emergency Numbers Systems Board’s (ENSB) existing efforts, particularly ensuring that those areas outside of the statutory responsibilities of the ENSB are addressed.

The Commission will study and make recommendations for the implementation, technology, funding, governance, and ongoing statewide development of NG911 to the Governor and Maryland General Assembly. One of the charges of the Commission is to make recommendations on how to best anticipate and prevent cybersecurity threats to NG911 infrastructure. The bill has passed both chambers of the Maryland General Assembly.

Useful Links

Previous Conduit Street Coverage: General Assembly Passes MACo 9-1-1 Initiative

Previous Conduit Street Coverage: Malware Disrupts 9-1-1 Call Centers in 12 States