Meeting Announcements and Handouts
Next Lunch Meeting will be a joint meeting with the Maryland Association of Counties attorneys, tentatively scheduled for November 8, 2018 in Annapolis. More details to come, so watch this space!
Information from the Monday, June 11, 2018 MMAA meeting at the MML Summer Convention.
The Monday, June 11 2018 summer meeting was held at the MML Summer Convention, on the second floor of the Roland Powell Convention Center.
Brynja Booth, President, noted the next meeting is planned as a joint municipal/county attorney meeting, as we’ve previously agreed, and will be on Thursday, November 8, most likely at Harry Browne’s in Annapolis. Tom Yeagher, who serves as the MACo County Attorney President, said the topics for discussion and a speaker were being discussed but should be finalized soon; past suggested topics have included policing issues and the use of body-worn cameras by police.
Brynja also noted that MML had been asked by the Town of Forest Heights to file an Amicus brief in the appeal of the Prince George’s Circuit Court which nullified two annexation resolutions in the case of Town of Forest Heights v. Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission and Prince George’s County. The issue involves the question of whether the owner of tax-exempt land within the proposed annexation area must be included in the Local Government article requirement that 25% of all landowners assent to the annexation. While a Court of Special Appeals case from 1974, City of Salisbury v. Banker’s Life, 21 Md. App. 396 (1974), which held that tax-exempt landowner consent was not required, based on legislative history. But the Circuit Court did not follow that holding and found, for the first time, that tax-exempt landowner consent was now required as part of the mandated 25% before any annexation could proceed. The request for MML participation in the appeal was considered in May by the MML Executive Committee, which referred it to MMAA to establish a panel to review and draft an analysis, with a recommendation, for the MML Board. Brynja asked MMAA Secretary Frank Johnson to serve with her on the panel. Before they were able to make their report and recommendation to the MML Board of Directors at their June 10 meeting, the Maryland Court of Appeals granted the Forest Heights petition for certiorari, meaning the decision will almost certainly be published and will have precedential effect in Maryland. As such, the MML Board of Directors voted to accept MMAA’s recommendation that MML participate in the Court of Appeals briefing by filing an Amicus Brief. Kevin Best, who is representing Forest Heights along with Fred Sussman, noted the petitioner’s brief would be due in late July and oral argument will be scheduled in early October of this year.
Jason DeLoach, Treasurer, noted that dues payments had been sent out for FY 2018/2019 and members should expect to receive them soon, if they haven’t already.
Brynja then presented information on the Waterman Family Limited Partnership, et al. v. Kathleen Boomer, et al. case involving the County’s density waiver regarding an annexation. She handled this case for the Town of Queenstown at the Circuit Court level and then before the Court of Appeals after they granted certiorari. In this case, she explained the area annexed had been included in the Town’s Master Plan growth area for at least 10 years, and that the County Planning Commission and Commissioners had granted the waiver. This allowed density on the annexed area at a rate more than 50% higher than the existing county zoning - which, since it was agricultural, would have allowed little to no building at all. But, an election was held just after the waiver was granted, and the new county commissioners as their first order of business reversed the waiver. The issue on appeal was whether that reversal was valid. Brynja argued that the Town’s right was effectively vested with the County’s grant of a waiver, as with the annexation proceeding, all zoning authority and control passed to the municipality - which was indeed the point of the annexation. But the Court of Appeals disregarded the Town’s vesting, focusing instead on the fact that the developer’s rights have not yet vested, as no building permits had been issued nor, therefore, any substantial construction on the site. As such, the Court found that common law grants local governments the right to reconsider and reverse their decisions, and thus they can rescind even a resolution granting the 5-year waiver in this case. She explained that, effectively, that decision eliminates the waiver provision, but imposes a 5-year hold on any increase in density in annexed land, at least beyond the 50% limit allowed by the prior county zoning.
Lynn Board, MMAA Vice President, reported on the FCC and small cell regulation changes. She reported that the FCC has asked for a meeting with the small cell coalition to discuss municipal regulation processes, which is a shift from issuing stringent regulations pre-empting local authority, which some had expected. She noted that this FCC inquiry may be related to the recent Murphy decision from the Supreme Court, which invalidated the federal Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act’s restriction on states allowing gambling and wagering on competitive sports events. The Court in that case recognized a 10th Amendment right for states and local governments to regulate actions of their residents and businesses. The Supreme Court held that federal pre-emption could remove all local authority for areas in which the federal government chooses to occupy or regulate. But short of issuing their own regulatory laws in a given area, Congress can’t simply prohibit states and local governments from doing so. This recognition of the power of the 10th Amendment would not be limited to sports gambling, and could indeed limit the authority of the FCC to issue rules restricting local government authority. Lynn and Candace Donoho, MML Director of Government Relations, also noted that while state legislation to pre-empt local authority to regulate small cell installations did not proceed to a hearing, the issue is likely to arise again in the next General Assembly. It will therefore be important, in the meantime, for municipalities as well as counties to update their legislation and, where necessary, regulations to put a workable process in place which imposes restrictions on small cell installations but, at the same time, establishes a workable process for such applications. Candace noted MML has several examples of sample legislation for municipalities to use in putting these laws in place. They noted that the absence of such enabling laws would give providers an argument that local government isn’t acting and state law is therefore necessary to allow them to proceed.
Candace also warned us about a few pre-emption issues that arose during the last General Assembly session. One was the small cell bill, which provided industry standards that would have largely eliminated any local authority, including zoning authority, over any small cell facility. But another one involved medical marijuana and the placement of dispensaries; at one point, Senator Hershey had proposed allowing a county to override any municipal zoning or permitting process allowing a dispensary within the municipality, if the county wished to prevent any dispensary in the county. Doing so would be in stark contradiction to state provisions specifying that the municipality has land use control over land within the municipality and the general rule that municipalities are independent government entities. While that proposal did not proceed, Candace warned that such pre-emption efforts could recur in future General Assemblies, especially given the large turnover of as much as 30 to 40% which is predicted after the 2018 elections.
Information from Thursday, May 3 MMAA meeting at Fisherman's Inn at Kent Narrows.
The Thursday, May 3, 2017 MMAA meeting was held at Fisherman’s Inn at Kent Narrows. Brynja Booth, President, called the meeting to order and asked everyone to briefly introduce themselves.
Minutes of the February 8, 2018 MMAA meeting were unanimously approved, and Treasurer Jason DeLoach reported $3,330 in the MMAA checking account as of the last statement for March, which does not include any deduction for the costs for today’s lunch. He also noted that this amount will increase with the annual dues invoices to be sent by regular mail for FY 19, in the amount of $50, as of July 1.
President Booth announced that nominations had been received for all positions and committee representatives for 2018-2019 - Brynja Booth for President, Lynn Board for Vice President, Frank Johnson for Secretary and Jason DeLoach for Treasurer; and Eliot Schaefer as MMAA representative on the MML Legislative Committee, with Elissa Levan as MMAA representative on the MML Board of Directors. Tom Yeagher moved to close the nominations, which was duly seconded and approved unanimously. Tom Yeagher then moved to approve the nominees as officers for 2018/2019, which was duly seconded and unanimously approved by members.
Brynja noted we are planning a joint municipal/county attorney meeting, with support from MML and the Maryland Association of Counties (MACo) staff, including Les Knapp. Tom Yeagher, who serves several municipalities and as County Attorney for Kent County, and is current President of the MACo attorneys chapter, suggested the fall meeting in November would probably be a good time, and that a location around Annapolis could be best. As to possible topics, policing issues and the use of body cameras was noted, and Brynja noted officers, including Tom and anyone else with an interest, would work with MACo to consider others. Brynja finally noted we are tentatively planning for this meeting as the MMAA fall meeting in November. Brynja also noted our summer meeting will be on Monday, June 11 at the MML Convention. She will discuss the recent court of appeals case in which counties were granted the ability to retract any 5-year density waivers granted during the annexation process, and we’ll also host a roundtable.
On general questions, Brynja noted an issue raised as to the impact of the Healthy Working Families Act, Md. Labor and Employment Code Ann., §3-1301 et seq., which now requires sick leave for part time workers who work 12 hours or more weekly. She asked whether we considered elected officials as part time staff subject to the Act. It was noted many do not have the 15 staff to fall under the Act, but might if elected officials were added; it was also noted that the 12-hour-per-week requirement may be a challenge to satisfy in some cases. For elected officials, Lynn Board noted that with changes in handling sexual harassment claims by the General Assembly for their members, municipalities may wish to consider how they would handle such claims against elected officials; all have some provisions for staff, but most have no provisions currently for such claims against elected officials.
Justin Fiore, MML Manager of Government Relations, provided an MML update on key legislation considered or enacted during the General Assembly session. Overall he noted the session was largely a success for municipalities, both as to legislation passed and not enacted. As to MML priorities, Highway User Revenues, slashed by 90% or more starting in 2009, was with a signed bill 85% restored ast least for the next 5 years, with an additional $15 million on capital grants in the approved FY 19 budget. As to the Public Information Act, an emergency bill was passed and signed to require denial of distribution lists giving email addresses, physical addresses or telephone numbers of individuals. And as to permitting and siting of wireless (small cell) facilities, which was an industry drafted bill that would have largely eliminated any local or zoning control over their placement, even in front of residential homes or on municipal property, Justin noted the bill that was proposed was pulled before the hearing, and that while it may be considered in some form in future sessions, even a bill establishing a working group or task force to consider the issue was not enacted.
Lynn Board, who handled legislative matters this year for MMAA, reported that an additional exception was approved allowing a closed meeting to discuss cyber-security threats affecting computer information; an elections bill will require municipalities to establish absentee voting without requiring an excuse or reason for the request; and an ethics bill was passed requiring ethics commissions to meet at least once a year. She noted the ethics bill arose out of an individual concern with one municipality, and was originally proposed to require three meetings before being reduced to requiring only a single meeting - which would be required anyway to review and approve required ethics disclosure forms. She also noted that a bill requiring a public hearing and 21 days’ notice for any Charter amendment was passed, which most municipalities already currently provide. Finally, a fee shifting bill which would allow attorneys’ fees to be awarded against municipalities for any successful Constitutional claim was, after nearly passing last year, defeated in both the House and Senate committees this year.
Lynn Board also reported on ongoing wireless facility regulation. She noted that while state legislation did not proceed, we may expect the issue to arise again, and a strong arguments against state regulation is the existence of comprehensive local laws fully regulating the issue. Thus, she and Justin both urged municipalities to address the issue with local laws and regulations, and Justin noted MML is compiling examples across the board to assist. As to the Federal Communications Commission, it is expected that at some point this year they may issue rulings which could go so far as to eliminate any local ability to affect wireless placement and impose stringent automatic “shot clocks” across the spectrum. While such an extreme ruling would likely lead to litigation, in the meantime the FCC has issued model local ordinances which they advise local governments to enact. These ordinances were prepared by a workgroup which included no local officials or staff, but only industry representatives, and would effectively eliminate any local control over facility siting. She also noted that as to individual interest in pursuing right of way installation agreements, mergers and the advent of 5G communication needs is limiting immediate interest and raising some question, at least for 5G installations, whether any co-locations are feasible.
John Markovs, Deputy County Attorney for Montgomery County, made a 4-part presentation on contracting and procurement policies for local governments. He first noted the goal of such processes is to ensure both the best price and goods and services, but also to ensure competitive bidding is in place. He recommended ensuring that procurement requirements are consistently satisfied, ensuring adequate review rather than sole decision makers, as well as multiple approval steps. He suggested using caution in allowing exemptions, such as those allowing sole-source contracting, but reported an increased use of the contract-riding process, in which the County comes under the provisions of another jurisdiction’s contract, based on the fact it was already competitively bid. He also noted use of the Request for Expression of Interest can be used to identify prior interest and possible expertise, but that it does not solicit actual proposals. He emphasized the importance of ensuring adequate peer review of proposals and contracts, using consistent forms and formats so that contractors are treated equally across the board, and also establishing procurement policies and review processes that don’t delay the contracting system, which will encourage local staff to try to find a way to avoid them entirely.
Information from Thursday, February 8 MMAA meeting at Harry Browne's in Annapolis.
Approved minutes (PDF)
The Thursday, February 8, 2018 MMAA meeting was held at Harry Browne’s Restaurant on State Circle in Annapolis, Maryland. Lynn Board, Vice-President, standing in for President Brynja Booth, called the meeting to order. She noted Les and Natasha from MACo had attended to follow through on a prior discussion with MMAA officers regarding a possible joint annual meeting between MMAA and MACo’s County Attorney affiliate, which members approved for further planning. For the MML Legislative Update, Candace Donoho noted that with Highway User Revenue (HUR) having been cut 8 years ago by the Board of Public Works, it seems possible some permanent restoration of those lost funds may be approved this year. She also noted the second MML priority, protecting personal data (including email addresses of residents) from PIA disclosure was also proceeding, in partnership with MACo which is supporting a similar bill. Finally, she noted that while she’s advised that an industry bill on “small cells,” enhancing coverage for wireless devices with antennas on private and public property, but primarily in rights of way, will be introduced. It is expected to be sponsored by Sen. Middleton and Del. Derick Davis, but even so, passage isn’t expected this year. That said, she noted it will still be important to oppose the bill and for municipalities to take steps to enact ordinances and pass regulations which govern right of way and, as needed, other installations, such as on poles and buildings, of small cell or distributed-antenna systems. After lunch, Lynn introduced the panel discussion on “small cell” or distributed-antenna systems, including Victor Tervala, Baltimore City Solicitor, on the overall background, herself as Gaithersburg City Attorney on steps in Maryland to address the issue, and Gerard Lederer of Best, Best and Krieger on FCC action.
Information from Thursday, October 26, 2017 MMAA meeting at Clyde's in Columbia.
Approved minutes (PDF)
The Thursday, October 26, 2017 MMAA meeting was held at Clyde’s Restaurant in Columbia. Candace Donoho, MML Director of Government Relations noted the MML legislative priorities for the 2018 General Assembly session included restoration of Highway User Revenues and to amend the Public Information Act to provide clear authority to not release email addresses and phone numbers of residents, which may be provided for local newsletters or emergency alerts. She also noted MML will work to protect the right to assert local control over the siting and installation of wireless poles and antennas, and to impose a fee for permit review and lease of right of way space.
Brynja asked for any suggestions for future speakers, to allow us to plan ahead for future meetings. After lunch, Brynja introduced Ann MacNeille, Assistant Attorney General with the Opinions and Advise Division and who serves as counsel to the Open Meetings Compliance Board. Ann first noted a few recent changes to the Open Meetings Act, including adding a requirement that agendas be provided reasonably in advance, specifying closed meeting processes, and requiring more training. As to training, Ann said boards and commissions all need to designate a member in order to have the option to close a meeting.
Information from the Monday, June 26, 2017 MMAA meeting at the MML Summer Convention.
Approved minutes (PDF)
The Monday, June 26, 2017 MMAA meeting was held at the MML Summer Convention, in Room 210 at the Convention Center in Ocean City, Maryland. Meredith Mishaga, Director of Foreclosure Administration with the State's Office of the Commissioner of Financial Regulation gave us an update on recent changes in Maryland law related to the registry. Margaret Witherup, Member of Gordon Feinblatt, LLC which has represented local governments on stormwater and environmental issues, gave a presentation on Phase 2 of the MS 4 stormwater management permits which the Maryland Department of the Environment is now issuing. As a brief legislative update, Lynn Board, MMAA’s Legislative Committee representative, noting that with changes to the State Ethics Law this year - which were targeted to General Assembly members - similar changes could be required to local ethics laws based on the “substantially equivalent” requirement. She reported that MML and MACo provided letters to the State Ethics Commission asking that changes not be required, given the focus on the General Assembly, and several also attended the June 15, 2017 meeting of the State Ethics Commission where it did seem members will consider local concerns.
Information from the Thursday, May 4, 2017 meeting at Fisherman's Inn at Kent Narrows.
Approved minutes (PDF)
The Thursday, May 4, 2017 MMAA meeting was held at Fisherman’s Inn at Kent Narrows. We had a presentation on the Public Information Act, by Lisa Kershner, Ombudsman and Karen Federman-Henry, Assistant Attorney General who serves as the PIA Compliance Board counsel as well as counsel to the Ombudsman. Karen noted the Ombudsman had a broad ability to mediate disputes on request from the person asking for records or the custodian, and that the Ombudsman can mediate on any PIA issue. However, the Board’s jurisdiction is more limited to fees. Lisa as Public Access Ombudsman distributed a report for the first 12 months, from April 1, 2016 through March 31, 2017, which is available here (PDF). Karen has also made available a PowerPoint presentation she made on her work to the MSBA State and Local Government Section at their Law Day on May 5, 2017, and it is available here (PDF). On MMAA issues, Bylaws amendments making a few clarifications were unanimously approved and will be presented to the MML Board of Directors for their review and final approval. Also, members unanimously approved officers for 2017/2018: Brynja Booth for President, Lynn Board for Vice President, Frank Johnson for Secretary and Jason DeLoach for Treasurer. We also received an update on legislative issues from Candace Donoho, MML’s Director of Government Relations and Lynn Board, MMAA's Legislative Committee representative.
Information from Thursday, February 9 meeting at Harry Browne’s in Annapolis.
Approved minutes (PDF)
The Thursday, February 9, 2017 MMAA lunch meeting was held at Harry Browne’s, 66 State Circle in Annapolis.
The meeting included updates on legislation and MML priorities, as well as a report by Lynn Board on the creation of the Coalition on Small Cell Facilities regarding the FCC rulemaking proposal on small cell and wireless facility installations. The meeting presentation was a discussion on transgender rights in Maryland by attorney Miriam Sievers of Silber, Perlman, Sigman and Tilev, P.A. and Patrick Paschall, Executive Director of Free State Justice in Maryland, with a focus on terminology, federal law, including Title VII of the Civil Rights Act (employment), Title IX (schools), the Fair Housing Act, Affordable Care Act, the Prisoner’s Rape Elimination Act of 2012, and the Violence Against Women Act, and for Maryland, the Fairness for All Marylanders Act of 2014.
Information from Thursday, September 15, 2016 Joint Meeting with the Municipal Clerks Association
At the Kentlands Mansion, 320 Kent Square Road, Gaithersburg, Maryland 20878
Approved minutes (PDF)
The Thursday, September 15, 2016 MMAA meeting was held at the Kentlands Mansion in the City of Gaithersburg, 320 Kent Square Road, and was a joint meeting with the Maryland Municipal Clerks Association. The meeting was conducted under a joint agenda including introductions, a report from both the Clerks and Attorneys, and presentations by MMAA members. Several noted that they believe this may have been the first joint meeting, and expressed the hope that the groups would continue periodic joint meetings.
Frederick City Attorney Saundra Nichols and Assistant City Attorney Rachel Depo (also MMAA Vice-President) made a presentation on the Open Meetings Act. Their PowerPoint presentation can be accessed here (PDF).
Information from Monday, June 27, 2016 MMAA Meeting at the MML Summer Convention in Ocean City.
Approved minutes (PDF)
Information from Thursday, May 5, 2016 MMAA Spring Meeting at Fisherman's Inn at Kent Narrows.
Approved minutes (PDF)
Judges Dale Cathell and Glenn Harrell of the Maryland Court of Appeals provided members with a review of several recent Court of Appeals decisions, as well as a 27-page summary of all decisions relevant to municipalities which was distributed and is available (PDF).
Information from Wednesday, March 16, 2016 MMAA Telephone Conference on Small Cell and Distributed Antenna Systems (DAS).
A group of members joined in a telephone conference to discuss new changes in telecommunications, largely to accommodate the widespread use of smart phones and similar devices. We thank Kimberly Min, MMAA member and Whiteford, Taylor and Preston for hosting the conference call.
The issue of telecommunications is now a major local issue, after changes in technology and the law. Municipalities are increasing being approached by providers and infrastructure firms for permission to install small cell facilities and larger DAS facilities, often on rights of way. Sometimes they will seek to install these items on buildings, on pole, on street lights, or next to other antennas. These represent relatively new technological advances that broaden the wireless cell coverage. And a relatively recent FCC order mandates, in most cases, that local governments allow installations that will expand coverage in this way.
During the discussion, led by Victor Tervala, Baltimore City Chief Solicitor, John Lyons, Anne Arundel County Cable Administrator, and Frank Johnson, Gaithersburg Assistant City Attorney, speakers pointed out how the new FCC "shot clocks" or permit deadlines of 60, 90 or 150 days apply, but also how these timelines do not apply until a completed application has been submitted. Detailed notes on the discussion (PDF). Generally, with changes in technology, municipalities should expect to hear from a provider or infrastructure provider. Some can be aggressive, even though most are willing to work with municipalities - but it is always important to know your rights.
In most cases, a first step will be entering a contract, either a franchise agreement or right of way agreement - or both. Part of that agreement will include allowable fees, and the municipalities preference for use of public land or public facilities, such as City or Town street lights. A recent Baltimore City ordinance laying out franchise fee requirements for these facilities.
Permit denials are in most cases limited, but safety, appearance and specific placement (if a workable alternative is offered) can all be considerations. In addition to a contract or agreement, as discussed during the conference, municipalities do need to ensure they have zoning in place to allow these installations - as well as impose reasonable restrictions. Municipalities also need to have a permitting process in place to accommodate the deadlines and ensure applicants receive communication as quickly as possible. View a sample draft highlighting recent zoning ordinance and permitting changes (PDF) for the City of Gaithersburg.
We expect this will be an ongoing issue, especially as technology continues to change, and this conference and these materials highlight some key steps municipalities can and should take.
Information from the Thursday, March 3, 2016 MMAA Meeting at Harry Browne's in Annapolis
Approved minutes (PDF).
Tiffany Harvey, Deputy Counsel for Civil Rights and Legislative Affairs for the Office of the Attorney General, spoke about Attorney General Brian Frosh’s legislative initiatives but emphasized the August 2015 Guidance on preventing discriminatory profiling for law enforcement agencies. She said that the Attorney General took the initiative to develop uniform state standards as a guide for all police agencies in Maryland to follow - making Maryland the first state to follow similar guidance put in place by U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder in 2014. The Guidelines are on the Attorney General’s website but you can also view a copy (PDF).
Information from the Thursday, October 8, 2015 MMAA meeting at the Café Deluxe Restaurant in Gaithersburg,
Approved minutes (PDF)
Information from the June 29, 2015 MMAA Meeting at the MML Convention
Approved minutes (PDF)
The Monday, June 29, 2015 MMAA meeting was held at the Ocean City Convention Center in Room 210. Meredith Mishaga, Director of Foreclosure Administration with the Commissioner of Financial Regulation (part of the Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation/DLLR), gave us a powerpoint about the Maryland Foreclosed Property Registry, which was created by the General Assembly in 2012 to provide local jurisdictions with information on current ownership of foreclosed homes.
Information from the May 21, 2015 MMAA Meeting
The Thursday, May 21, 2015 meeting was held at the Fisherman's Inn, Kent Narrows, and had several speakers.
Adam Snyder, Chief Council, Opinions and Advice for the Maryland Attorney General, spoke about several upcoming changes in the Public Information Act after the General Assembly. Changes include creation of a Public Information Act Board, with limited jurisdiction (only to address fees in excess of $350) but broad power to order fee reductions; an Ombudsman in the Attorney General's office with broad oversight to address any issues of concern raised by either a person requesting records or the local government, but no formal authority to order any solution. He also noted fees will be limited to actual costs, and that the requesting party's ability to pay can be a separate waiver consideration. Other changes include the requirement of a 10-working-days response if responding takes longer, with an estimated time for completion and a cost estimate, and the need for local governments to identify a contact for all requests, which can also be divided by department. Local governments also must note, at least on their website, which (if any) documents are available on demand. Overall, Mr. Snyder advised reaching out to requestors with a response or update, as soon as possible.
Tim Ailsworth of LGIT also spoke on the impact of Local Government Tort Claims Act changes, in which awards and permitted claim times were all doubled (awards from $200,000 to $400,000, and each occurrence from $400,000 to $800,000, with the time allowed to file a claim increasing from 6 months from date of occurrence to one year). He indicated this will result in an increase of costs by about 5% for municipalities self-ensured through LGIT.
Tom Curtin, MML's Government Relations and Research Associate, also spoke about the General Assembly, noting two MML priorities were approved, including the Governor's proposal for Highway User Revenues, granting municipalities $19 million out of $25 million added by the budget and the land use bill clarifying that legislative bodies can amend Master Plan recommendations from their Planning Commissions, but must hold a public hearing if such changes are made. He also noted the bill regarding double taxation was passed as a local bill for Frederick County rather than statewide, but would require a resolution and could serve as a sample for future statewide legislation.
Officer elections, to start with the new MML Board of Directors (at the MML Convention next month) were also held, and those nominated were unanimously approved. Thus John Barr will continue serving as President; Brynja Booth will serve as Vice-President; Jason DeLoach will continue as Treasurer; and Frank Johnson will serve as Secretary. Elissa Levan indicated she wished to continue serving as MMAA representative on the MML Board of Directors, and Lynn Board wishes to remain on the MML Legislative Committee, and members also unanimously supported their continuation.
Information from Winter/Early Spring 2015 MMAA Meeting
The Wednesday, April 1st, 2015 meeting was held in Annapolis. Karen Kruger, partner with Funk and Bolton PA who also serves as counsel for the Maryland Police Chiefs and Sheriffs Association, spoke on the issues and impacts related to the use of police body-worn cameras. She noted several bills had been filed in the General Assembly this year which would not mandate the use of such cameras but would impose a number of requirements on their use. Issues with police body-worn cameras include privacy, safety and the costs of retaining the data. Additionally, the costs of reviewing and organizing the data can also be substantial. And in many cases, the cameras themselves are not always dependable, and even when they are, the actual recording can be difficult to follow. LGIT has establishing a pilot testing project and several jurisdictions are making initial use of these cameras, so we will all have the chance to learn from their experience. Even so, it's clear the privacy, safety and cost concerns will continue.
Click here for an article on police body-worn cameras (PDF) entitled "Lessons from the Early Adopters," which Karen handed out at the meeting.
Lynn Board, MMAA's representative on the MML Legislative Committee, also updated members. As to MML priorities, the $19 million of HUR funding for municipalities, which the Governor included in his budget proposal, is likely to be retained with approval from both houses; the land use bill clarifying legislative authority to approve and amend master plan recommendations appears likely to pass; and a financial disclosure bill was not favorably reported. Otherwise, public information act amendments are likely to be approved, establishing a Public Information Compliance Board, requiring responses within 10 days and allowing Board review of fees over $350, after several amendments proposed by MML.
In MMAA business, no further nominations for 2015-2016 officers were received and membership voting will, per the Bylaws, be completed at the May meeting. Persons nominated for each of the positions are John Barr for President, Brynja Booth for Vice President, Jason DeLoach for Treasurer, and Frank Johnson for Secretary. Additionally, Elissa Levan has indicated she wishes to remain as the MML Board of Directors representative, and Lynn Board wishes to remain as the MML Legislative Committee representative.
Information from the MMAA 2014 Fall Meeting:
The December 4, 2014 meeting, held in Annapolis, included an update from Candace Donoho, MML's Government Relations Director, on MML's legislative priorities for the 2015 General Assembly session, including restoring Highway User Revenues (HUR), clarifying the approval process for municipal master plans and protecting some ethics disclosures (particularly involving spouses and dependent children) from public disclosure. approval issue (as to whether legislative bodies have final approval authority and can amend a planning commission recommendation) and required ethics disclosures. MML has adopted both as part of its legislative priorities for clarifications and/or corrections.
Lynn Board, MMAA’s representative on the MML legislative committee, Debra Daniel, City Attorney for Rockville, and Tom McCarron, Mt. Airy’s town attorney, who a few years ago filed a request for an AG opinion in 2012 on the master plan approval issue, discussed the question of whether Maryland's Land Use Article allows legislative bodies to amend or remand a master plan recommendation from the planning commission, or simply require either outright approval or rejection. Click here for materials the Panel prepared (PDF), which includes:
* A copy of the relevant Maryland Annotated Code sections (both the current Land Use Article and prior Article 66B);
* The June 13, 2014 letter from the Department of Planning to the City of Rockville; and
* The November 18, 2014 Attorney General opinion to the Town of Mount Airy.
Information from the MMAA Spring 2014 Meeting:
At the May 8, 2014 MMAA Spring meeting at Fisherman's Inn at Kent Narrows, Judge Glenn T. Harrell, Jr. and returned Judge Dale R. Cathell joined us to discuss notable cases. Click here for Judge Harrell's summary of recent decisions which he discussed at the meeting. Court Summary for MMAA Spring Meeting (PDF)