The Montgomery County Council’s Health and Human Services (HHS) Committee and its Education Committee will meet jointly at 10 a.m. on Thursday, March 20, to discuss food policy issues for Montgomery County Public Schools. Among the topics they will discuss is a proposed healthy and nutritious foods program that Council President Craig Rice and Council Vice President George Leventhal last week asked the Board of Education to consider.
The HHS Committee, which is chaired by Council Vice President Leventhal and includes Council President Rice and Councilmember Nancy Navarro, and the Education Committee, which is chaired by Council President Rice and includes Councilmember Phil Andrews and Cherri Branson, will meet in the Seventh Floor Hearing Room of the Council Office Building at 100 Maryland Ave. in Rockville. The meeting will be televised live by County Cable Montgomery (CCM—Cable Channel 6 on Comcast and RCN, Channel 30 on Verizon). The broadcast also will be streamed through the County Web site at:
The local advocacy group Real Food for Kids—Montgomery has proposed that MCPS adopt the healthy food program. It proposes banning food served in schools that contain specific chemical additives and that the sugar content in served foods be limited.
In a letter Council President Rice and Council Vice President Leventhal sent to MCPS last week, the school system was encouraged to adopt a food service program that limits food additives and sugar content, ensures that healthy foods and beverages are available in school vending machines, publishes menu information that includes details of entre choices and the availability of alternative items and would allow parents to block their children from ordering certain a la carte items.
Starting at 9:30 a.m. in the Seventh Floor Hearing Room, the HHS Committee will meet jointly with the Planning, Housing and Economic Development Committee, which is chaired by Nancy Floreen and includes Councilmembers Leventhal and Marc Elrich, for a worksession on Bill 34-13 that would establish an Interagency Commission on Homelessness and establish the membership and duties of the commission.
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) encourages communities to address the problems of housing and homelessness in a coordinated, comprehensive and strategic fashion. "Continuum of Care" (CoC) is the embodiment of this concept.
The Montgomery County Continuum of Care (County CoC) is a public-private partnership including the County and other government agencies, non-profit service providers, landlords and others who have a role in the County's housing market. The lead agencies of CoC are the County Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), which manages the homeless intake and assessment process, and the County-wide Homeless Management Information System (HMIS).
HUD regulations provide for the establishment and operation of each CoC, including the requirement that each CoC establish a board to act on its behalf. The membership of the CoC board must be representative of the relevant organizations and of projects serving homeless subpopulations. The boards must include at least one homeless or formerly homeless individual. Each CoC has until Aug. 30, 2014 to comply with this requirement.
At 2 p.m. Thursday in the Seventh Floor Hearing Room, the Government Operations and Fiscal Policy (GO) Committee, which is chaired by Councilmember Navarro and includes Councilmembers Branson and Hans Riemer, will hold a worksession on proposed Bill 16-14 that would establish a system of public campaign financing for candidates for the offices of County Executive and County Council.
The chief sponsor of Bill 16-14 is Phil Andrews. The other eight Councilmembers have agreed to be co-sponsors.
Since 2001, members of the Montgomery County Council have urged the Maryland General Assembly to provide the County with the authority to adopt campaign finance reforms. In 2013, the General Assembly adopted a bill that enables counties to provide for the option of public financing for county elections beginning with the 2015-18 election cycle. Participation by candidates would be voluntary.
The bill would establish a Public Election Fund. To qualify for public financing, a candidate would have to:
· File a Notice of Intent prior to collecting qualifying money
· Establish a publicly funded campaign account
· Limit qualifying contributions to a maximum of $150 from registered voters in Montgomery County
· Collect a qualifying number of contributions: 500 for County Executive candidates; 250 for Council at-large candidates; and 125 for Council district candidates
· Collect qualifying dollar thresholds of $40,000 for County Executive; $20,000 for Council at-large; and $10,000 for Council district
· Adhere to the qualifying timing, beginning 365 days before the primary election and ending 45 days before the primary election
The plan provides strong incentives for candidates to seek out many small, individual donors. Matching dollars for County Executive candidates would be $6 for each dollar of a qualifying contribution received for the first $50; $4 for each dollar for the second $50; and $2 for each dollar for the third $50. Matching dollars for County Council candidates would be $4 for each dollar for the first $50; $3 for each dollar for the second $50; and $2 for each dollar for the third $50.
The maximum limit on public funds per candidate would be $750,000 for a County Executive candidate; $250,000 for a Council at-large candidate and $125,000 for a Council district candidate. Matching dollars would not be distributed for self/spouse contributions.
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