2020 | Government

Council supports state bills on pilot energy program, alcohol service seating

No position yet on public campaign financing expansion, WSSC changes

File photo

The Montgomery County Council continued its considerations of proposed state bills on Monday, unanimously supporting a pilot energy program and seating requirements for a specific alcohol service license.

The pilot would automatically enroll residents and businesses into a seven-year Community Choice Energy program in which the county would purchase or generate electricity. Residents and businesses would need to opt out of the program.

Council staff members are expected to review the advertising requirements and cost of the potential program.

The council is holding work sessions to discuss upcoming state legislation, before the General Assembly convenes again in January.

During Monday’s session, the council also unanimously supported legislation allowing the Board of License Commissioners to issue a refillable, container permit for draft beer or a nonrefillable container permit for draft beer to Hornet’s Nest Grill in Damascus.

It was also noted that the council unanimously supported a bill on Oct. 28 that would eliminate minimum and maximum seating requirements for the Beer, Wine Liquor Community Performing Arts alcohol beverage license in the county.

The final bill that the County Council unanimously supported on Monday would let the Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission’s Board of Ethics impose a fee on those who file their disclosures late or fail to file them.

The council unanimously voted to have “no position” on a bill that would establish a deer management pilot program to develop a commercial market for venison.

The county currently prohibits the sale or purchase of meat from wild venison.

There were several other bills that the council voted to put a “hold” on for its position until more information could be provided by council members or state delegates.

Those included bills that would:
● Require the county to initiate proceedings to acquire Burtonsville Crossing either by purchase or condemnation by Dec. 31, 2021
● Authorize the county to expand public campaign financing to the offices of the clerk of circuit court, register of wills, sheriff, and state’s attorney
● Require WSSC to stream live video of the open meetings of its commission and maintain a complete and unedited archived video recording of each meeting on its website; alter the amount of the late payment charge for unpaid water and sewer bills from a mandatory charge of 5% on unpaid bills to a charge of up to 5% on unpaid bills (bicounty bill with Prince George’s County)
● Establish a mandatory referral review process for the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission (MNCPPC) to ensure a complete submission before the 60-day “must act” period (bicounty bill with Prince George’s County)
● Require the MNCPPC to develop and implement an “innovative recreation youth program” to integrate nontraditional recreational opportunities (bicounty bill with Prince George’s County)

The Montgomery County delegation is scheduled to have a hearing on several of the bills on Tuesday at 7 p.m.

Briana Adhikusuma can be reached at briana.adhikusuma@bethesdamagazine.com.