MDOT Unveils New “Scorecard” Draft at #MACoCon Workshop

Following last year’s political firestorm over how the State should prioritize transportation spending, the Maryland Department of Transportation (MDOT) has new plans for scoring major projects in its Consolidated Transportation Program (CTP) – and MDOT Secretary Pete Rahn will unveil that draft plan and solicit input from county officials first at the MACo Winter Conference. 

County elected officials and transportation professionals surely remember the story well. The Maryland General Assembly entertained legislation officially called the Maryland Open Transportation Investment Decision Act of 2016, which requires the Maryland Department of Transportation (MDOT) to score its major capital projects according to a predefined set of goals and measures and rate them accordingly in its CTP. MACo opposed the bill, citing concerns that it may marginalize local input, overlook variations in transportation needs, and undervalue safety in project approval. The bill passed, with some amendments offered by MACo. The Governor vetoed it, and the General Assembly overrode the veto.

series of letters sent over the 2016 summer sought to transfer responsibility for the law’s implementation to the counties. The Attorney General’s Office issued a letter advising that the new law does not authorize this. MACo sent MDOT a letter offering support on developing a collaborative approach to implementing the law and drafting the regulations required by it.

MDOT published draft regulations implementing the law in September 2016 – regulations that MDOT Secretary Pete Rahn himself called “bad.” MACo offered detailed recommendations on how the Administration could instead interpret the law in a manner that is fairer to all Maryland counties.

Governor Hogan made it his top legislative priority last session to repeal what he called “The Roadkill Bill.” Reiterating concerns about the original scorecard legislation, MACo supported House Bill 402/Senate Bill 307, the Governor’s “Road Kill Bill Repeal” – advocating for either its full-on repeal, or its refinement. The General Assembly passed the legislation in an amended form that clarifies that the use of scoring from the statutory system will be purely advisory, while a designated work group convenes to consider refinements to its elements and effects. It also loosened requirements for the scoring system.

Since then, MDOT has been working hard to develop a new scoring model, which is due under the new law on January 1, 2018. MDOT Secretary Pete Rahn will unveil the draft model at MACO’s Winter Conference at a special workshop designed to solicit county officials’ input. This not-to-miss session presented by the County Engineers of Maryland offers county personnel the first opportunity to weigh in on the next chapter for Chapter 36.

Title: Workshop: An Overview of the New Transportation Scoring Law

Description: This past session, the General Assembly passed significant changes to the Maryland Open Transportation Investment Decision Act of 2016, aka the “Scorecard Bill,” “Chapter 36,” “Transportation Transparency Bill,” or the “Roadkill Bill.” This law of many names was significantly changed to be non-binding and to give MDOT more flexibility in how it scores major highway and transit projects in its capital program. Since then, MDOT has been working hard to develop a new scoring model and invites conference attendees to actively participate in the process.

Speaker: Pete Rahn, Transportation Secretary

Moderator: John Barr, MACo Past President, Washington County Commissioner

The MACo Winter Conference will be held December 6-8, 2017 at the Hyatt Regency Chesapeake Bay Hotel in Cambridge, Maryland. This year the conference’s theme is “The Power of Partnership.”

Learn more about MACo’s 2017 Winter Conference:

2017 End of Session Wrap-Up: Highway User Revenues

Below is a brief overview of MACo’s work to restore county roads funding that was cut during the Great Recession.  

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

Highway User Revenues

The General Assembly maintained an additional $8.8 million in additional local transportation aid to be allocated among 23 counties. For more than forty years, local governments have received at least 30 percent of these revenues to fund local roads and bridges – 83 percent of the public road mileage in Maryland. In 2010, the State reduced highway user revenues by 90 percent for most jurisdictions – and local governments have advocated for restored highway user revenues ever since.

Push Icons-WONThe General Assembly’s action this year to provide counties some relief connotes a small step, but marked improvement over prior years. See MACo’s coverage, including a County-by-County Breakdown of Additional Local Transportation Aid

 

This year, as in years past, MACo continued to support legislation that would fully restore highway user revenues to their previous levels. As in recent years, however, the General Assembly did not advance these bills.

Push Icons-NOT IDEALSenate Bill 586/House Bill 1322 “Local Infrastructure Fast Track for Maryland Act,” a MACo initiative for the legislative session, did not pass out of committee in either chamber. Bill Information | MACo Coverage

 

 

Push Icons-NOT IDEALHouse Bill 552, a bill to restore highway user revenues to local governments, ensure that new gas tax revenues resulting from Chapter 429 of 2013 are shared equitably with local governments, and amend the Maryland Constitution to prevent depletion of highway user revenues from local governments in the future did not move out of committee. Bill Information | MACo Testimony

Push Icons-NOT IDEALSenate Bill 161, a bill to phase in restoration of highway user revenues to counties over seven years did not move out of committee. Introducing the bill, its sponsor Senator Steve Waugh expressed the need to “find an affordability trigger” to move the restoration forward – an element that has not been present in other similar proposals in recent years. Bill Information | MACo Coverage

Transportation Funding Decisions

The subject of transportation funding decisions has become a contentious debate between the Governor’s Administration and the General Assembly. MACo tracks this issue as it relates to local roads funding and advocates for the decision process that supports county government efficiency and effectiveness.

Push Icons-WONVoicing concerns about the scorecard legislation passed in 2016, MACo supported House Bill 402/Senate Bill 307 the Governor’s “Road Kill Bill Repeal” – advocating for either repeal or replacement. The General Assembly passed the legislation in an amended form that clarifies that the use of scoring from the statutory system will be purely advisory, while a designated work group convenes to consider refinements to its elements and effects.  Bill Information | MACo Coverage

Click here for a round up of the wrap-ups for all policy areas

MACo Backs Compromise on Transportation Scorecard

MACo Executive Director Michael Sanderson testified in favor of the amended Administration bill (SB 307) which would repeal the controversial transportation scorecard law passed last year. This bill passed unanimously out of the Senate and was heard by the House Appropriations and Environment and Transportation committees on March 23.

Governor Hogan’s Administration introduced and supported the bill.

MACo’s testimony states,

This amended bill substantially reframes the 2016 legislation creating a “scorecard” for major transportation projects. The amended bill clarifies that the use of scoring from the statutory system will be purely advisory for a two-year period, while a designated work group convenes to consider refinements to its elements and effects. By eliminating the uncertainty regarding the potential immediate effect on project funding, SB 307 addresses the chief county concerns with the current law. Counties welcome an opportunity to help inform the ongoing work group efforts proposed in the amended bill.

Useful Links

Senate Bill 307

MACo’s testimony

Transportation Scorecard Compromise Passes Senate Unanimously

Follow MACo’s advocacy efforts during the 2017 legislative session here.

Transportation Scorecard Compromise Passes Senate Unanimously

SB 307, the Administration bill to repeal the controversial transportation scorecard law passed last year, has passed out of the full Senate in an amended form. The final floor vote was unanimous, after discussions and additional amendments yesterday described the revised bill as a compromise acceptable to the Administration.

The third reader bill, including all amendments is available online.

MACo had testified on the original “repeal” bill urging the legislature to either repeal or refine the current law, to address multiple issues with the bill and its related implementing regulations.

The House has not yet acted on its cross-filed version of the same proposal.

Senate Compromise on Transportation Scorecard Bill Advances

The Budget and Taxation Committee has passed an amended version of the Administration’s bill to repeal the controversial transportation scorecard law. The amended version would delay full implementation of the scoring process as a guide for project funding for two years, and empower a work group to study possible changes to the law.

From coverage in the Baltimore Sun:

The law, passed over Hogan’s veto last year, requires officials to study local transportation projects, rank them and offer an explanation if any project receives state funding over one that is ranked higher.

Hogan argues the law forces him to eliminate state funding for almost every project in Maryland and could mire projects in litigation. General Assembly Democrats and the Maryland attorney general’s office disagree, saying the scoring system is only advisory.

The new legislation, which has the backing of Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller, amends a bill proposed by Hogan to repeal the scoring law. It would create a panel of legislators and administration officials that would study the new scoring system for two years.

In the meantime, Hogan would be allowed to assign transportation funding under the old rules, which did not require the governor to create a scoring system or explain why he chose to fund one project over another.

For previous coverage of the Senate compromise amendment, see Conduit Street coverage of the original bill hearing.

During Senate floor discussions on Tuesday, President Miller indicated “we’re working with the second floor [the Administration] on this,” and suggested that Administration-supported amendments could be forthcoming during floor debate on Wednesday.

Miller Offers “Grand Bargain” on Transportation Scorecard Bill

At the high profile hearing for SB 307, Governor Hogan’s proposal to repeal the transportation scorecard legislation enacted last year, Senate President Miller testified in support of a proposed “compromise” that would delay the scoring system’s effect for two years while a select work group would be empaneled to work through the system. The Administration and Department officials testifying in support of the repeal legislation expressed an initial reluctance, but indicated appreciation for the movement on the sticky issue.

From coverage in the Baltimore Sun:

Republican Gov. Larry Hogan‘s administration is refusing to compromise with Democrats on a controversial transportation scoring law, demanding its full repeal before they entertain anything else.

“We can’t salvage this law,” Transportation Secretary Pete K. Rahn told the Senate Budget and Taxation Committee on Wednesday. Hogan’s chief legislative officer, Christopher Shank, said if the administration discusses a compromise, “that conversation has to begin with repeal.”

MACo Executive Director Michael Sanderson testified in support of Senate Bill 307, indicating that MACo would support either a “repeal” or “replace” path forward. He indicated he was “heartened” by the proposed movement from the Senate President, who had reaffirmed that “we’re not going to pass a repeal,” but distributed amendment language to Committee members.

Sanderson outlined several areas for any workgroup to focus on — including specifying the Department’s ability to score projects differently based on region or mode, to specify the intended analytical responsibilities between the Department and counties, and to clarify the “advisory” nature of the legislation. He also urged local input into any review going forward.

Background

The bill as introduced repeals the 2016 legislation creating a “scorecard” for major transportation projects. That bill, with its many prescriptive elements, and the subsequent implementing regulations, have left counties deeply concerned about the process for selecting major transportation projects. MACo urges the General Assembly to remedy the current two-part scheme of legislative and regulatory interpretation that collectively place projects in jeopardy, and may overwhelm county transportation planning staff.

During the 2016 legislative session, MACo raised concerns with HB 1013, the legislation targeted by this year’s SB 307. In testimony, MACo raised concerns about respecting county input into project selection, overburdening county public works departments, and the potential for unfairness in the legislated scoring system. Many of these points were addressed, in whole or in part, through both House and Senate amendments.

During the interim, MACo was again alarmed by exchanges with the Maryland Department of Transportation, suggesting that a failure of counties to rapidly provide dramatically expanded information to defend proposed projects would result in them being “de-funded.” And finally, after the implementation of last year’s act was delayed pending adoption of regulations, MACo again expressed concern with the proposed Departmental regulations that failed to implement flexibility that we believe the legislation afforded. Taken together, counties fear the law and regulations’ scoring system will prove counterproductive and cumbersome.

From MACo testimony:

Imperfect scores undermine the entire system. An ideal scorecard system could advance the public’s ability to understand the State’s project selection process. Counties fear that the status quo, as a combined result of legislation and regulations, will substantially miss this mark. The Maryland public would not be well served if the Department were obliged to routinely offer a multitude of “rational basis” letters to assert an exception for a wide range of projects in order to retain funding, despite their project scores. Even though this process is spelled out in the law, a system that creates an unreasonable number of exceptions loses its utility.

Follow MACo’s advocacy efforts during the 2017 legislative session here.

Maryland Reporter Muses On Scorecard Bill, Solutions

In a commentary piece timed with the beginning of session, veteran Annapolis reporter hogan-road-kill-charts-1170x781Len Lazarick of the news site MarylandReporter.com bemoans the role of “facts” in political debate, and eventually focuses his attention on the high-profile “transportation scorecard” legislation passed last year and still causing a furor.

Governor Larry Hogan has made it clear that his top priority this session is to repeal the transportation scoring legislation passed overwhelmingly last session, which the Governor vetoed and the General Assembly overrided. Lazarick categorizes the history:

Why some road or highway or transit projects are funded and others are not is often a mystery. There is never enough money for everything, particularly after the Great Recession, so some projects win and some project lose.

The legislature wanted to make that decision process “more transparent” by creating a complicated scoring system with nine goals and 23 measures. Some projects would score higher than others, justifying funding.

The principal problem with the law is that its goals and measures are blatantly biased in favor of mass transit. On top of that, once the scores are arrived at, they are then weighted by population, putting a thumb on the scales for the largest counties.

Hogan’s veto of a measure that seems to restrict his authority to fund projects was understandable.

MACo testified, in opposition to the bill, at both hearings — arguing that the bill’s detailed provisions could marginalize local input, overlook regional or demographic variations in transportation needs, and under-value safety as a driving factor in project approval. Both the House and Senate accepted substantial amendments to the bill, many of which were drafted to address county concerns. The amendments made several changes to the bill, including directing the Maryland Department of Transportation (MDOT) to develop the final “percentage” weightings in the various components of the scoring system and adding an additional scoring component, “Local Priorities and Planning.” Amendments also ensured the bill would not affect the county priority letter process and MDOT’s visit to each county to discuss transportation priorities.

Lazarick states that the Governor “denied that there were escape clauses in the law,” and points out:

…in fact there are two. One allows the administration to fund a project, despite a low score, by writing a letter giving a “rational basis” for the decision. The other says the law should not prohibit the funding of any project.

Lazarick also calls attention to MDOT’s regulations drafted to implement the bill, which “provide little leeway on scoring.” MACo testified at a hearing held on the regulations on November 18, and provided formal comments on how to the regulations could be amended to provide more leeway.

Lazarick closes by opining on what comes next:

With bad regs due to take effect in February to implement a flawed bill, legislators seem prepared to tackle a rewrite of the scoring system. “Repeal and replace,” is how Democratic Del. Sandy Rosenberg phrased it, as he co-chaired the hearing on the regulations Nov. 18, echoing the Republican phrasing on Obamacare.

That could be a model for “repeal” of the “road kill bill” — repeal the bad bill, but create a new, more flexible “advisory” scoring system that Hogan could live with.

One note of potential optimism on the issue popped up as the Governor addressed the Senate Chamber in its initial session today. Senate President Mike Miller followed the Governor’s comments by noting multiple areas of potential collaboration, and added, “We’re also going to look at a road bill, Governor… we’re going to look to you for some ideas to make it more palatable for you and your Administration.”

Click here to see MACo’s ample coverage on this issue.

Transportation “Scorecard” Bill Still Sparking Back-and-Forth

2016 legislation variously known as the “Scorecard Bill,” the “Road Kill Bill,” or the “Transportation Transparency Bill” continues to stir up emotions in the State capital, as the legislative session approaches. The content of the bill itself, the process for its legislative consideration, and larger funding issues with the Department of Transportation are all in the crosshairs for this still-raging debate.

Department of Legislative Services (DLS) Executive Director Warren Deschenaux has weighed in on HB 1013 – the bill requiring scoring for major transportation projects – disputing the claim that it actually kills roads. In a letter sent to the Maryland General Assembly leadership, the head of the legislature’s nonpartisan staff agency points out that the Administration retains authority to override the scoring system and fund any project it favors and seeks to fund. Deschenaux also specified that 31 of the 71 projects being claimed as “killed” were not previously programmed in the draft Consolidated Transportation Program (CTP).

Deschenaux instead draws attention to a $1 billion shortfall in expected transportation revenue as a likely “road killer.” The Baltimore Sun quotes from the letter:

In his letter, Deschenaux said the most important current threat to transportation spending was a shortfall in expected transportation revenue that has forced the department to decrease capital spending by “nearly $1 billion.”

“Based on this analysis, it would appear that fiscal realities are likely to have a much bigger impact on MDOT’s ability to include projects in the [six-year plan] than the requirement under the act that projects be scored,” Deschenaux wrote.

Deschenaux points to $761 million placed in reserve by Governor Hogan to provide transportation funds to counties and municipalities for local roads and bridges – funds that the General Assembly could instead reserve for state projects.

Governor Hogan’s chief spokesperson, Doug Mayer, called Deschenaux’s view on the law “preposterous,” stating that the Administration does not believe the law provides the Maryland Department of Transportation (MDOT) legal authority to move forward with lower-scoring projects.  “There is no way the session ends without a major change to this law,” stated Mayer.

Read the article in  The Baltimore Sun.

The exchange has reignited a firestorm of social media attention from various sources. Some individuals and organizations are weighing in with memes and comments protesting that the bills the Governor says would be killed were never slated to be funded to begin with. Others take issue with the legislature and how HB 1013 was passed – there has been some disagreement over the hearings the cross-filed bill received.

On the issue over whether the Act had hearings in both chambers: it did, just in varying forms.  The Daily Record (available to subscribers only) sums it up well:

The governor is right in the fact that the legislature “rushed the bill through.” He’s wrong when he says the bill received no hearings or no public input.

Both the House and Senate versions of the bill [(House Bill 1013 and cross-file Senate Bill 908, respectively)] received hearings in their respective chambers on Feb. 17 and March 2, respectively. Both hearings are available on video, and state Transportation Secretary Pete K. Rahn testified against the bill at both.

The House completed its work on House Bill 1013 on March 19 and sent it to the Senate. ….

By tradition, bills that are cross-filed in the House and Senate receive a full hearing in their original chamber and a sponsor-only hearing when they are sent to the opposite chamber.

What should have been a sponsor-only hearing for House Bill 1013 was scheduled for March 29 in the Senate Budget and Taxation Committee. That hearing never happened. Instead, the bill legislators said is supposed to promote transparency was amended and voted out of committee session March 28. That session does not appear on any calendar.

The unusual procedural skip-ahead by Kasemeyer and the Senate Budget and Taxation Committee made it possible to fast-track the legislation and get it on the Hogan’s desk by April 1 — forcing governor to sign or veto the bill during session and allowing the General Assembly to take up a veto override.

Read more Conduit Street coverage on the Maryland Open Transportation Investment Decision Act of 2016 by clicking here or searching for the tag, “scorecard.”

The Department of Legislative Services letter is available here.

 

Battle Raging Over “Scorecard”/”Road Kill” Bill

Yesterday The Baltimore Sun ran an editorial about Governor Hogan’s announcement on his top legislative priority this session: repeal the “Road Kill Bill”  (i.e., the Maryland Open Transportation Investment Decision Act of 2016). Spoiler alert: it’s not nice.

Like any good dancer, actor or used car salesman, Gov. Larry Hogan has a “move.” It’s just a bit more elaborate than a feather step, a raised eyebrow or a pitch for $200 undercoating. His is the “straw man” — a distortion of reality that allows him to vigorously attack, knock down and refute something that doesn’t even exist.

Battle Lines Drawn

The Sun editorial board accuses Governor Hogan of grossly misrepresenting the law. While admitting that they saw no need for the law given the extent of existing transportation planning requirements, they nevertheless point out that it is strictly advisory:

Governor Hogan or any other governor still retains authority to decide how transportation money shall be spent; the law merely requires him to publicly justify expenditures.

Ah, but there’s the rub. The governor has chosen to make the law as unworkable as possible by drafting doomsday regulations that he claims would kill highway projects. He’s even labeled the legislation on which the General Assembly already overrode his veto as the “road kill bill.” He might as well have called it the “rain tax 2.” …

As the state attorney general’s office advised lawmakers earlier this year, projects with lower scores can still be funded if the transportation department “provides, in writing, a rational basis for the decision.” In other words, it’s all non-binding (unless the governor insists on “irrational” transportation projects — water slides, vacuum tubes, compressed air cannons perhaps — for which he might theoretically be stymied). …

Now Governor Hogan has upped the ante further by declaring this week that repeal of the “road kill” bill will be his highest priority in the upcoming legislative session. Wow. Guess he doesn’t have much of an agenda for his third year (normally, a governor’s most productive, by the way). Here’s our prediction: There is about a zero probability that lawmakers are backing down now.

Read the full editorial here.

The Governor immediately fought back by posting this on Facebook:

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Governor Hogan: “The Baltimore Sun editorial writers are so biased and misinformed, they have lost all credibility. They often print whoppers with no truth to them whatsoever.”

The Governor states in the post that “The Road Kill Bill will kill 66 out of 73 transportation projects across the state,” and that the “bill was written in back rooms by lobbyists and special interests, and partisan legislators rammed it through with very little debate and without appropriate public input.”

MACo’s Involvement

MACo opposed the bill last session, with concerns that it may marginalize local input, overlook regional or demographic variations in transportation needs, and under-value safety as a driving factor in project approval. MACo subsequently offered amendments, which the Maryland General Assembly approved.

In a series of letters sent over the summer, the Administration sought to transfer substantial and costly responsibility for the law’s implementation to the counties. The Attorney General’s Office issued a letter advising that the new law does not authorize the Maryland Department of Transportation (MDOT) to shift analytical responsibilities to the counties. MACo sent MDOT a letter offering support in the upcoming months on developing a collaborative approach to implementing the law and drafting the regulations required by it.

We remain optimistic that the days ahead will allow a practical solution to the issues at hand – one that avoids seeing worthy projects becoming “de-funded.”

Upon the regulation’s publication in late September – regulations that Transportation Secretary Pete Rahn himself called “bad regulations”MACo offered detailed recommendations on how the Administration could instead interpret the law in a more reasonable manner, and in a manner that is fairer to all Maryland counties. MACo suggested that MDOT offer flexibility in determining the population to be served by a project and by offering a scoring regime based upon differing project conditions and local government input, among other recommendations.

On November 18 before the Maryland General Assembly’s Joint Committee on Administrative, Executive, and Legislative Review (AELR), MACo testified to this point alongside public works representatives from the County Engineers of Maryland and Cecil, Queen Anne’s, Prince George’s, and Harford counties. Two weeks ago, AELR sent Secretary Rahn a letter stating that it was placing the regulations on hold, citing agreement with MACo and requesting that the Department

…work in a bipartisan, good faith manner with the legislature and local government officials to propose alternative regulations.

Barring further action from MDOT or the General Assembly, the regulations go into effect in February.

Just The Facts: What The Law Does

The Maryland Open Transportation Investment Decision Act of 2016, a.k.a. the “Scorecard Bill” or “Road Kill Bill,” requires MDOT to score certain major transportation projects programmed in MDOT’s capital program, called the Consolidated Transportation Program (CTP). The law requires scoring for State Highway and Maryland Transit Administration projects that cost over $5 million and that increase or improve capacity, or improve transit stations or areas.

Scores are based on 9 overarching goals (such as “Quality of Service” and “Cost Effectiveness and Return on Investment”) and 23 supporting measures (such as “the degree to which the project has a positive impact on travel time reliability”). Each goal can count for up to 100 points, for a total of 900 points. The law requires MDOT to weight each goal and each measure, and provide for a method for doing so in regulations – further altering the score. Finally, the total score is weighted based upon the “population to be served by the project” – which MDOT is also tasked with defining in regulations.

Finally, MDOT may move forward with any project it chooses, so long as it provides a “rational basis for the decision” to move forward with any low-scoring projects.

For more information about the Act and political debate surrounding it, search Conduit Street for the tag, “scorecard.”

Hogan’s Top Priority: Repeal The “Road Kill Bill”

Governor Hogan announced today, December 14, 2016 that his top legislative priority for the upcoming session is the immediate and full repeal of the Maryland Open Transportation Investment Decision Act of 2016, otherwise known as the “Scorecard” bill, or to Governor Hogan, the “Road Kill Bill.” Maryland Transportation Secretary Pete Rahn joined the Governor in announcing the administration’s plan to submit emergency legislation to repeal the Act, which passed and became law with substantial support and over the Governor’s veto during the 2016 legislative session. Stated the Governor,

The repercussions of this law are quite simply disastrous, and I will not stop fighting on behalf of our citizens until this catastrophic bill is repealed.

MACo opposed the bill last session, and subsequently offered amendments to address concerns about ensuring equitable treatment for more rural jurisdictions. The Maryland General Assembly approved the amendments. A series of letters sent over the summer sought to transfer substantial responsibility for the law’s implementation to the counties.

In accordance with the law, the Maryland Department of Transportation (MDOT) filed draft regulations to implement the law, which were sparse in nature. On November 18 before the Maryland General Assembly’s Joint Committee on Administrative, Executive, and Legislative Review (AELR), MACo testified alongside public works representatives from the County Engineers of Maryland and Cecil, Queen Anne’s, Prince George’s, and Harford counties that MDOT’s proposed regulations could have implemented the Act in a more reasonable manner. At the hearing, Secretary Rahn stood firm in advocating for a full-on repeal of the law.

MDOT followed up with formal comments to the regulations sent to MDOT and copied AELR.  Committee Chairs Senator Roger Manno and Delegate Samuel Rosenberg attached MACo’s comments to their letter sent to Secretary Rahn on December 6, and stated in that letter that the Committee agreed with the main points in MACo’s comments. The letter indicated that the Committee was placing the draft regulations on hold for further review. The regulations are due to become effective in February.

For more information about the Act and political debate surrounding it, search Conduit Street for the tag, “scorecard.”