montgomery county civic federation, inc.

ALL COMMITTEES

Links to current issues covered by all MCCF committees appear below.


Education Committee

Environment Committee

Legislation/Committee for Montgomery

Parks and Recreation Committee

Planning and Land Use Committee

Public Safety Committee

Public Finance Committee

Transportation Committee

Utilities Committee

Current Issues:  Legislation

[MCCF Liaison to the Committee for Montgomery]


[Click to see Local Bills for introduction in State General Assembly, both Montgomery County and Bi-County MC/PG legislation.]

EXEMPT WSSC FROM FOREST CONSERVATION ACT

Two 2014 General Assembly local bills to exempt WSSC from Forest Conservation Act & Local Street Tree Regulations have been withdrawn.  See synopses below:  (click to view MCCF testimony on MC/PG 104-14)

PG/MC 104-14
For the purpose of exempting from certain forest conservation requirements any cutting or clearing of forest necessary for access to Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission infrastructure or otherwise associated with the rehabilitation or maintenance of Commission infrastructure; making this Act an emergency measure; and generally relating to forest conservation and the Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission.

PG/MC 105-14
For the purpose of prohibiting a county or municipality from adopting a local law or ordinance for the planting, care, and protection of roadside trees that applies to emergency or mandated maintenance of public utility rights–of–way; prohibiting a county or municipality from adopting a local law or ordinance that applies to the cutting or clearing of public utility rights–of–way or land for the repair, rehabilitation, operation, inspection, reconstruction, or maintenance of water lines, sewer lines, and appurtenances; and generally relating to roadside trees.

COUNTY REDISTRICTING

County Council approved new Council district boundaries on November 29, 2011.  Members of the Redistricting Commission proposed two different maps for redrawing the County’s Councilmanic districts.  The new districts, if approved, will be used in the County Council election in 2014.  The Commission heard public comment on 9/1/11, then made their recommendation to the County Council.  The Council held its public hearing on 11/1/11; considered the issue during their session on Tuesday, 11/8/11 (straw vote of 9 yeas to approve Bill 31-11, to accept the recommended boundaries with no change); final action to approve bill took place on 11/29/11.  [View Commission website with link to the 2011 proposed and recommended maps, or view 11/29/11 Council approved Bill 31-11.]

2012 General Assembly Session

Montgomery County State Delegation Fall Schedule
The 2012 State Legislature session will begin in January of the year. In preparation for that session, the Montgomery County Delegation has the following fall meetings that generally of widespread interest to citizens:

Consolidated Transportation Program Presentation (“Road Show”) by State Highway Administration. Thursday, 9/15/11, 7:00 p.m., 3rd Floor Hearing Room, Stella Werner Council Office Bldg., 100 Maryland Ave., Rockville, MD 20850.  The Road Show will be carried live over County Cable Montgomery (Channel 6 on Comcast and Channel 30 on Verizon).

Joint House and Senate Priorities Hearing. Wednesday, 11/16/11, 7:00 p.m., 3rd Floor Hearing Room, Stella Werner Council Office Bldg., 100 Maryland Ave., Rockville, MD 20850. This hearing is an opportunity for the public to respond to the Road Show and to bring other issues of importance for the 2012 Session to the attention of the legislators.

House Hearing for Local Bills. Monday, 12/5/11, 7:00 p.m., 3rd Floor Hearing Room, Stella Werner Council Office Bldg., 100 Maryland Ave., Rockville, MD 20850. Local bills refer to legislation affecting issues specific to Montgomery County.

House Hearing for Bicounty Bills. Wednesday, 12/7/11, 7:00 p.m.,- 3rd Floor Hearing Room, Stella Werner Council Office Bldg., 100 Maryland Ave., Rockville, MD 20850. Bi-County bills refer to legislation that requires the approval of the Montgomery County and the Prince George’s County Delegations.

Roadside Solicitation Bill
State bill HB720 would authorize county to create a roadside solicitation permit program or to ban the practice [see 2/15/12 MCCF letter urging passage]

2011 General Assembly Session

FUND PUBLIC SCHOOL VIA COUNTY PROPERTY TAX
State bill HB1352 introduced “authorizing county boards of education to impose, by resolution, a property tax to provide funding for public school operation and expenses,” in addition to county property tax. [See Current Issues: Education Committee webpage for further information.]
■ Not reported out of Ways and Means Committee for House vote

EXCLUSIVE AUTHORITY TO ISSUE PERMITS FOR SCHOOL BUILDINGS
MC 11-11, Montgomery County - School Buildings - Exclusive Authority to Issues Permits and Enforce Regulations and Codes (click to view MCCF testimony at 12/6/10 county delegation hearing on this bill)
■ 4/9/11, bill withdrawn by sponsor.

ALLOW VOTERS TO PETITION TO REFERENDUM ZONING
MC/PG 101-11, Montgomery County - allow voters to petition to referendum Zoning Text Amendments and Zoning Map Amendments [View MCCF testimony at 12/9/10 county delegation hearing on this bill]
■ Bill withdrawn.

ROADSIDE SOLICITATION TASK FORCE
The county’s Roadside Solicitation Task Force issued its Final Report in November 2010.  The recommendations could result in State or County legislation [View Task Force Final Report and Attachment G-Photos)
■ On January 31, 2011, County Executive Leggett transmitted the Roadway Solicitation Task Force Final Report to the County Council: Attachment G, the set of photos accompanying the Report, was not included (click to view CE’s Transmittal Memo to Council)
■ State legislation has been introduced to authorize the county to create a roadside solicitation permit program: MC 20-11, Montgomery County - Solicitation of money or donations from occupants of vehicles - adoption of a permit program; a 2/11/11 meeting of the Montgomery County House Delegation was held (click to view state legislation)
■ At 2/14/11 MCCF meeting, delegates voted unanimously to support passage of this legislation; MCCF presented oral testimony to the county House delegation on 2/20/11 supporting passage of the bill and urging acceptance of a friendly amendment to allow an outright ban.
■ On 3/11/11, Delegate Kaiser, sponsor of MC 20-11, withdrew the immediately bill prior to the scheduled vote of the county House delegation

MERGE PARK POLICE INTO COUNTY POLICE
A bill, MC/PG 112-11, has been introduced in the Maryland General Assembly to merge the Montgomery County Park Police into the county Police Department, and effect transfer of Park Police property to MCPD [View bill on County delegation website; see also the Public Safety Committee Current Issues webpage on this website.]
■ At 2/14/11 MCCF meeting, majority of delegates voted to urge action on this bill be deferred.
■ Bill withdrawn.

ALLOW ELECTIONEERING WITHIN 25 FEET
MCCF tracking MC 9-11, a bill to allow electioneering within 25 ft. from entrance to polling places, rather than the current 100 ft.
■ At 2/14/11 MCCF meeting, majority of delegates voted to support passage of this legislation if amended to change distance to 50 ft. from entrance to polling places, not 25 ft. as currently called for in the bill.

MARYLAND ELECTRICITY SERVICE QUALITY AND RELIABILITY ACT
MCCF tracking HB391/SB692, Maryland Electricity Service Quality and Reliability Act.  Bills require the Public Service Commission (PSC) to set electricity standards for frequency of outages and outage duration and would apply to all major electric distribution companies operating in Maryland. Strongly suggest that national measures be used and specifies that the policy of the state would be that the standard must be in the fourth (or highest) quartile of electric companies nationally. The bills require the standards be adopted by July 2012 (or 2013 in Senate bill) and that PSC determine by July 2013 whether the standards are being met. Requires a penalty if standards not met, which can’t be passed onto the ratepayer.  Funds collected under penalty would be returned to affected ratepayers.
■ At 2/14/11 MCCF meeting, majority of delegates voted to support passage of this legislation (click to view MCCF testimony delivered to House committee on 2/20/11--same as Senate testimony, except for bill number and committee name)
■ 4/11/11 measure approved by General Assembly.

BOE WAIVER FROM MAINTENANCE OF EFFORT REQUIREMENT
MCCF tracking HR44/SB53, Education - Waiver from Maintenance of Effort Requirement - Process and Factors.  The bills would alter the date by which a county governing body must make a request to the State Board of Education for a waiver from the maintenance of effort (MOE) requirement; would require the State Board to consider additional factors (including the ability of the county to fund an increase during difficult economic times) when making a decision whether to grant a waiver; would require the State Superintendent of Schools to make a preliminary assessment of waiver applications by a specified time.
■ At 2/14/11 MCCF meeting, delegates voted unanimously to support passage of this legislation (click to view MCCF testimony delivered to House committee on 2/20/11 — same as Senate testimony, except for bill number and committee name)

TRANSPORTATION TRUST FUND PROTECTION ACT
MCCF tracking HB518/SB677, Transportation Trust Fund Protection Act, which would amend the Maryland Constitution to establish the Transportation Trust Fund to be used only for purposes of transportation with an exception that it can be used in the case of a major catastrophe or during a declared state of emergency when the funds are necessary for the immediate preservation of public health or safety.
■ At 2/14/11 MCCF meeting, majority of delegates voted to support passage of this legislation (click to view MCCF testimony delivered to House committee on 2/20/11--same as Senate testimony, except for bill number and committee name)
■ Measure failed.

Lorraine Sheehan Community Health and Services Act
MCCF tracking HB121/SB168, Lorraine Sheehan Community Health and Services Act, which would increase the state tax rates for alcoholic beverages sold in Maryland from $1.50 to $10.03 per gallon for distilled spirits, from 40 cents to $2.96 per gallon for wine, and from 9 cents to $1.16 per gallon for beer.  The bills would raise about $200M per year and it would be dedicated to the Developmental Disability Administration. The tax was last raised in the 1950s.
■ At 2/14/11 MCCF meeting, majority of delegates voted to support passage of this legislation but also to request an amendment to provide any revenue generated by this tax increase be applied to the General Fund (click to view MCCF testimony delivered to House committee on 2/20/11--same as Senate testimony, except for bill number and committee name)
■ 4/11/11 amended measure approved by General Assembly

Maryland Offshore Wind Energy Act
MCCF tracking HB1054, Maryland Offshore Wind Energy Act, which would require the PSC (Public Services Commission) to issue an order to the four investor-owned electric companies to enter into a long-term power purchase agreement with one or more qualifying offshore wind generators (ie companies). The PSC would be required to approve all such contracts. The PSC would issue a request for proposal (RFP) to identify one or more companies to provide the wind power. The wind farms must be at least 10 miles off shore.
■ At 2/14/11 MCCF meeting, majority of delegates voted to support passage of this legislation.
■ Measure failed to receive approval.

Campaign finance
MCCF tracking SB339, Campaign finance - affiliated business entities - attribution of contributions [Access campaign finance reform bill or MCCF letter of support.]