While each General Assembly Session brings up a new set of legislative matters for MACo staff and membership to focus on, there are some overarching issues that recur in some capacity every year.
Advocating to ensure the state budget passes with no new county cutbacks, cost shifts, or unfair new burdens. Resisting mandated proposals to erode county tax bases (income taxes, property taxes). Recent issues include: cost-shift of the assessments office to local governments; new or expanded tax exemptions; disparity grants.
Supporting flexible authority to address local issues locally. Opposing overbroad state prohibition or preemptions of local actions. Recent issues include: tax incentives for new or small businesses; animal control; social services; local licensing; security systems; small cell technology.
Supporting a major multi-year infusion of local road funding. Legislators and local governments collaborated on the biggest step forward since the deep cuts of 2009. Under a new 5-year plan, State funding for local roads will nearly double for FY 2020-2024. Recent issues include: Restoration of Highway User Revenues (HUR)
Supporting important advances in school construction to generate a smarter process and stronger state funding. Advocating for fair and adequate education financing formulas and accountability measures. Recent issues include: 21st Century Schools and Facilities Commission; Commission on Innovation and Excellence in Education.
Fighting against costly and unfair proposals concerning county lawsuits. Raising governmental concerns on broad-based bills affecting local government employers. Pushing back against broad and costly employer mandates and bills that overstep into local pension management. Protecting privacy of employee records, avoiding frivolous complaints and opening personnel files. Recent issues include: attorneys’ fees in government lawsuits; community college collective bargaining; altering worker’s compensation; Maryland Public Information Act.
Supporting reforms that improve the criminal justice system and save costs. Fending off troubling and overreaching mandates on local jails. Recent issues include: Justice Reinvestment; pretrial reform; appointed attorneys representing indigent pre-trial clients.
Engaging with the General Assembly and Administration to build most flexible and supportive paths forward through the opioid crisis and other public health threats. Recent issues include: local health department core funding; county-based health innovation; funding for drug treatment, education/prevention, and response programs.
Protecting long-standing local oversight of planning and zoning by opposing intrusive bills. Recent issues include: solar siting; forest conservation; funding for program open space; bottle deposit programs; lawn care pesticides on athletic fields.
During the session and throughout the interim, MACo regularly provides updates on news related to our major legislative issues.