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MML Speed Camera Priority Update

MML's priority bill, HB 282, as passed by the House would have permitted municipalities that do not maintain a police force to use a technician, as opposed to a law enforcement officer, to review speed camera images and sign the citations.

The bill garnered significant support but failed to receive a vote in the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee before the close of the General Assembly Session.

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Transportation Legislation

Local governments will soon have the authority to permit the use of golf carts on certain roads in their jurisdiction per the passage of HB 43 / SB 316, which was supported by MML There are certain criteria that must be met in order for the golf cart to operate and for the local government to designate certain road segments for golf cart use.

"Exhibition driving" is now a defined term and is prohibited on public roads in the State, as a result of the passage of HB 601 / SB 442. MML Municipalities may also designate a "special event zone" for certain automotive events that occur on a roadway, which allows additional safety measures to be put in place such as signage, traffic control devices, and a reduction in the speed limit.

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Cannabis Legislation

HB 805 made alterations to aspects of the adult-use cannabis law that pertain to land use; MML supported amendments were adopted. The changes include:

  • Adding places of worship to the list of pre-existing properties that may not be located within 500 feet of a dispensary.
  • Increasing the distance a local government may set between dispensaries from 1,000 feet to half a mile.
  • Allowing local governments to set the distance a dispensary may operate from a residential zone to up to 100 feet or the same distance from a residential zone required for alcohol retail stores. 
  • Prohibiting local governments from adopting an ordinance that places zoning requirements on dispensaries that are more burdensome than those placed on alcohol retail stores. 
  • Clarifying that there is a restriction on local governments regarding zoning requirements only for certain exclusively outdoor growers.
  • Adding a complaint process against dispensaries.

Another bill made changes to the cannabis law beyond land use. HB 253 alters a drafting error in the law and clarifies that the local government where an on-site consumption facility is planning to locate sets the laws and policies that govern that on-site consumption facility.

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Employer and Personnel Legislation

More modifications were made to the State's Paid Family and Medical Leave Insurance Program in HB 571 / SB 485, a bill supported by MML with amendments. The first change is that the implementation of the program is pushed back: claims open now on July 1, 2026 (delayed from January 1, 2026) and for those employers that plan to use the State plan, mandatory contributions begin on July 1, 2025 (delayed from October 1, 2024). Secondly, for those employers that plan to use a third-party insurer, the State will levy an application fee to cover administrative costs.

With the passage of HB 649 / SB 525, all employers in the State will now need to include the wage range and benefits associated with a position when publishing a job posting. Onerous provisions relating to employer liability were removed via amendment, leaving only small fines for non-compliance. 

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Municipal Budgeting Resources

April 2, 2024 

TO: MML Membership 

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MML Speed Camera Priority has Senate Hearing

MML's priority bill, HB 282, had its hearing in the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee on March 26, after passing through the House chamber. As a result of amendments added by the House the bill now allows municipalities that do not maintain a police force to use a trained technician, as opposed to a law enforcement officer, to review speed camera images and sign citations. MML will continue to advocate for passage of this legislation through the Senate. For questions, please contact Bill Jorch, [email protected].

 

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Start Thinking About Your Legislative Action Requests

As the 2024 General Assembly session winds down, it is time to start thinking about submitting legislative action requests (LARs) for the 2025 session. The basis for MML's legislative priorities, LARs are ideas for a legislative fix submitted by a member municipality, MML chapter, or MML department for the Legislative Committee's consideration. MML will make the LAR form available on April 1, a few weeks earlier than usual. 

2024 priorities formed from LAR submissions include authority to create local tourism zones, providing options for who may review speed camera images, and expanding the services included in the admissions and amusement tax.

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MML Positions on Legislation

View MML's positions on legislation introduced in the General Assembly.

Each week the MML legislative committee, made up of elected municipal leaders and municipal staff, reviews General Assembly bills that have impact on the operations of municipal government. Check back as new bills are added to the list each week.

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MML Supported Transportation Bills Moving in General Assembly

Now that we are more than halfway through the General Assembly session, bills are starting to move. Below are a few transportation-related bills, supported by MML, all of which have already received favorable reports by their respective committees and passed out of their chamber of origin. 

HB 43 - This bill is slightly amended from the version initially introduced and now includes a few additional guardrails. It now allows local governments to designate roads under their jurisdiction as roads on which golf carts may operate, under certain conditions; the road must be 30 MPH or lower and the golf cart must operate only between dawn and dusk unless it has State Highway Administration (SHA) approved lights, drive on the far right of the lane, and contain no more passengers than there are seats. This new authority would allow a new and unique transportation option to local governments.

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Reporting Election Results to SBE

Due to a new state law that took effect on October 1, 2023, municipalities are now required to electronically send the results of their election to the State Board of Elections (SBE) within 30 days after the results are certified to be posted on their website.

There is no specified format and you can see examples of results submitted so far on the SBE website here.

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Municipal Economic Impact Study Released!

Last week, a new report titled "The Economic Significance of Maryland's Municipalities," was unveiled in partnership with Sage Policy Group, a Baltimore-based economic and policy consultancy. The report details how the operation of municipal governments positively impacts the local and State-wide economy to the tune of thousands of jobs and billions of dollars of economic output. The results in this report will be invaluable to solidify the message that Maryland’s municipalities are where people want to work, live, and play.

A few highlights include that Maryland municipal governments:

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Details on Paid Family Leave: MML Alternative Plan

In response to the upcoming implementation of the State's Paid Family and Medical Leave Insurance program, also known as the Time to Care Act, MML is elated to negotiate and bring an alternative option to our members. We have partnered with other local government entities to present an alternative to the State plan for municipalities with 15 or more employees. This local government collaborative insurance plan can reduce your staff’s administrative burden and decrease the impact on your budget and your staff’s paycheck. A draft memorandum of agreement explains the operation of the collaborative.   

 Potential benefits of joining the collaborative:

  •     Increased market power in securing a vendor to administer benefits for the broad co-op membership
  •     Lower premiums than the State plan saves the employer and employee money
  •     Avoid 15 months of pre-paying premiums before benefits become available (under the State program)
  •     Reduced/shared administrative overhead costs in overseeing and managing the program
  •     Security/simplicity of having one coordinated approval of plan structure and benefits for all participants

MML hosted a webinar with Bolton, the company that will administer the collaborative, on September 8. If you missed it or want to learn more, both the PowerPoint slides and a recording are available.  

The next step is time sensitive. If your municipality would like to participate in the collaborative, a letter of intent must be completed and returned to Bill Jorch, [email protected]no later than September 29. If meeting that deadline will be a problem, please contact Bill for more information.

Please note that there is a membership fee to join the collaborative, which is required to be paid by October 15, if you submit a letter of intent. Once a third-party insurance carrier is selected, a municipality may opt to not sign if the terms and rates are not acceptable, but the membership fee will not be refunded. The membership fee is an annual fee and will be in addition to the premium rate paid to the insurance carrier.

 Membership fees are as follows (payment details will be made available once the letter of intent has been received):










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Webinar - Alternative to State Family Leave Plan - An Option for Local Governments

This Friday, learn about an opportunity to join other local governments in a collaborative insurance plan that may reduce your administrative burden and save your municipality time and money. The Paid Family and Medical Leave Insurance program, also known as the Time to Care Act, impacts all employees and specifically employers (including municipal governments) with 15 or more employees. So, if your municipality has at least 15 employees or plans to expand to 15 or more in the future, you won't want to miss this webinar

David Johnson, Vice President from Bolton USA, will talk in detail about the collaborative opportunity and answer your questions. Sign-ups for the collaborative plan are due in the next few weeks, so this is the best opportunity to learn if it is the right option for your municipality!

Learn How to Host a State Fellow - Register for Webinar

You're invited to attend a webinar with the new Maryland Department of Service and Civic Innovation on how local governments can host Service Year fellows and Maryland Corps participants.


Use the link below to register for the webinar. You must register in advance to receive the Zoom link. 

  • Wednesday August 23, 3:30pm
  • Zoom registration here.
2023 legislation supported by MML created the State's new Department of Service and Civic Innovation and the Service Year Option program. These entities are specifically aimed to assist local governments fill open positions and strengthen the pipeline of future local government employees.
For more information on the program click here or register to be a partner here. The deadline to sign up to be a partner is August 31, so don't delay!

Featured Inquiry - New to MD CommUnity

The "Featured Inquiry" is a new element to MD CommUnity, the League's members-only portal. The posts will highlight an interesting inquiry received by MML with the answer and resources posted to the community's "Ask MML" Discussion thread.

 

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