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EPA Announces Final Regulatory Determinations for PFAS

On April 10, 2024, the EPA announced the final National Primary Drinking Water Regulation (NPDWR) for six PFAS. The NPDWR establishes legally enforceable levels, called Maximum Contaminant Levels (MCLs), for six PFAS in drinking water: PFOA, PFOS, PFHxS, PFNA, and HFPO-DA as contaminants with individual MCLs, and PFAS mixtures containing at least two or more of PFHxS, PFNA, HFPO-DA, and PFBS using a Hazard Index MCL to account for the combined and co-occurring levels of these PFAS in drinking water. EPA also finalized health-based, non-enforceable Maximum Contaminant Level Goals (MCLGs) for these PFAS. 

The final rule requires:

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NLC Webinar: SCOTUS Decision on Social Media

On March 15th, in Lindke v. Freed, the Supreme Court established the test for when local government officials are considered "state actors" for the purposes of the First Amendment when they post on social media.  The case is a win for local governments, as the test provided by the Supreme Court safeguards the free speech rights of elected officials while balancing the rights of their citizens. 

The National League of Cities (NLC) has created two resources to help local governments navigate this in practical terms:

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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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Updates on Legislation with State and Local Budget Implications

The following legislation has budgetary implications for Maryland municipalities and was passed or died in the last week of the Maryland General Assembly’s 2024 session.

Budget/BRFASB 360/HB 350 & SB 362/HB 352 (Passed) – As passed by the Senate in early March, this year’s budget and accompanying Budget Reconciliation and Financing Act (BRFA) would have reduced local Highway User Revenues (HUR) in FY 26 & FY 27. MML and MACo pushed back against the need to codify those out-year reductions in this year’s budget. The House of Delegates also pushed back and identified some new revenue sources to fund transportation and education moving forward. The compromise deal resulted in an additional $350 million for the State which allows for HURs to be fully funded.  

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Housing Legislation

HB 538, the Governor's Housing Expansion bill, passed with several amendments. This bill requires local jurisdictions to allow (1) new manufactured homes and modular dwellings in zones that allow single-family residential uses and (2) increased densities and uses in specified zoning areas for “qualified projects” (which include specified amounts of affordable housing). The bill prohibits a local jurisdiction from imposing unreasonable limitations or requirements on a qualified project or requiring a qualified project to be reviewed at more than a specified number of public hearings. The bill also establishes a Historic Property Revitalization Director within the Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD). The bill takes effect January 1, 2025.

HB 693, the Governor's Renters' Rights and Stabilization bill, also passed with amendments. This measure increases the cost of filing eviction and other landlord-tenant cases in court. The bill also establishes the Office of Tenant and Landlord Affairs (OTLA) in the Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD), extends the period between granting judgment for possession in favor of a landlord and the execution of the warrant of restitution, establishes a tenant’s right of first refusal (and an exclusive negotiation period) prior to the sale of certain residential rental property, and expands the categories of eviction data that must be collected by the Judiciary and provided to DHCD.

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ARPA Reporting Deadline Approaching

The American Rescue Plan Act State and Local Fiscal Recovery Fund (SLFRF) reporting deadline is April 30, 2024. All NEUs who have received ARPA funding are required to submit this annual report, which covers expenditures incurred between April 1, 2023 and March 31, 2024. For NEUs who report quarterly, the report will cover expenditures during the period of January 1, 2024, through March 31, 2024. Keep in mind that the Municipal Technical Assistance Program (MTAP) continues to support Maryland municipalities to inform them of their reporting responsibilities throughout the month, including through individual phone calls beginning this week. 


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Congratulations to the 2024 If I Were Mayor….I Would Essay Contest Winners

This year’s fourth grade "If I Were Mayor I Would..." essay contest winners were able to capture the volunteer readers and finalist judges’ attention with their dynamic essays. Volunteer readers were enlightened with new ideas to take to their own municipalities, on how to better their Maryland communities, sometimes forgetting that the ideas came from a nine-year-old.

Please join us in congratulating the eleven winners of MML’s If I Were Mayor, I Would…essay contest, their teachers, and the municipalities they represent:

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MML Addressing Francis Scott Key Bridge Concerns

MML is keeping in close contact with the Moore Administration and relevant stakeholders regarding the Francis Scott Key Bridge tragedy. 

For any of our Bay coastal towns who have shoreline and debris concerns, please utilize the following hotline to report any washed up items likely from the incident to +1-410-205-6625.

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Municipal Budgeting Resources

April 2, 2024 

TO: MML Membership 

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Information Regarding National Disaster Distress Helpline


Please see the statement below from our federal partners at the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) regarding the National Disaster Distress Helpline, which can be used by constituents who need crisis counseling related to the collapse of the Key Bridge yesterday morning.

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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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Municipal Tuesday Celebrates Local Government

Join us Tuesday, June 25 as we celebrate Maryland's municipalities and the staff who support its elected officials.  It will offer a full conference experience in a single day with multiple ways for staff to attend at an exclusive rate and the most cost-effective way for municipal professionals to attend our conference. The day consists of: 

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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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Biden-Harris Administration Announces $3.3 Billion in Grants To ‘Repair the Harm Caused By Infrastructure Choices Of The Past’

This week, the Biden-Harris Administration announced $3.33 billion in grant awards for 132 projects through the Reconnecting Communities Pilot and Neighborhood Access and Equity discretionary grant programs as part of President Biden’s Investing in America Agenda. The funding is for communities that were cut off by transportation infrastructure years ago that left many neighborhoods without direct access to opportunities such as schools, places to worship, medical offices, and jobs.

The Department of Transportation is awarding 72 Planning grants, 52 Capital Construction grants, and 8 Regional Planning grants.

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MML Tourism Zones and Speed Camera Legislation Pass Senate and House Ahead of Critical Deadline

(March 19, 2024) Annapolis, Md. Ahead of the crossover deadline, two Maryland Municipal League (MML) priority bills passed out of their original chambers. Approved by the House on Saturday, HB 282 would enable more municipalities to utilize speed cameras by allowing those without a police department to utilize trained technicians to review the images and sign citations. HB 1281, cross-filed with SB 14, which would grant local governments the authority to create tourism zones and provide local incentives, advanced through the House on Monday, March 18. 

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MML Main Street - Featuring You

Our team is excited for our national award-winning conference this June and I think you will be too when you see the new enhancements.
At the 2024 MML Summer Conference, we have increased ways to engage and participate for all attendees. Taking the lead from our members on survey feedback, you will see a new spotlight on Maryland’s municipalities including our new, MML Main Street.

MML Main Street is a chance to engage with 30 member municipalities in a featured exhibit area at the conclusion of Governor Moore’s (invited) closing speech on Tuesday afternoon. From one corner of the state and across our waterways and to the mountains, this will allow member municipalities to showcase their home right there in Ocean City.

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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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