St. Mary's Co. Gov. News Briefs - Southern Maryland Headline News

St. Mary's Co. Gov. News Briefs

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Free Mulch Program to Resume April 15

The St. Mary's County Department of Public Works & Transportation is pleased to sponsor the Free Mulch program while supplies last.

St. Mary's County residents are welcome to pick up mulch, free of charge, at the St. Andrew's Landfill. Mulch will be available, beginning April 15, 2016 between the hours of 8 a.m. and 4 p.m., Monday through Saturday. The St. Andrew's Landfill is closed on Sundays.

Customers are responsible for the loading and transportation of the mulch. Please bring a shovel, pitchfork or similar hand tool to load the mulch. Covering the load with a tarp prior to transporting is recommended in order to minimize material from blowing off the vehicle.

If assistance is required, special needs exist or additional information is requested, please contact the Department of Public Works & Transportation at 301-863-8400. Additional Recycling/Solid Waste Program information is available on the web at

Explore the Future of the Energy Sector at Southern Maryland Energy and Procurement Expo

The St. Mary's County Department of Economic Development is partnering with the Southern Maryland Minority Chamber of Commerce, Inc. (SMMCOC), and a number of other State and regional partners, to present "The Southern Maryland Energy and Procurement Expo: Exploring the Future of the Energy Sector". The event will take place on Wednesday, April 20, 2016, from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Center for Business and Industry (BI), located on the campus of the College of Southern Maryland, 8730 Mitchell Road, La Plata, Maryland.

Maryland Lt. Governor Boyd K. Rutherford is scheduled to speak along with Delegate Sally Jamerson, District 28, Charles County and Michael Leslie, Director of Energy & Sustainability, Maryland Department of Commerce.

The program kicks off with speakers who will address current energy trends, utility infrastructure improvements underway in Southern Maryland and workforce needs. Throughout the day, participants can enjoy the Procurement Expo, featuring leaders of local utilities, suppliers and government officials discussing emerging energy sector opportunities. Lt. Governor Rutherford will provide the keynote address during lunch. The cost to attend the Southern Maryland Energy and Procurement Expo is $30 and registration is required.

The Southern Maryland Minority Chamber of Commerce, formally named the Southern Maryland Black Chamber of Commerce, exists to make the community a better place for all. SMMCOC advocates for business growth, economic development and local empowerment in Calvert, Charles, St. Mary's and southern Prince George's Counties. The organization is managed by a volunteer board of directors, headed by Doris J. Cammack-Spencer, President/CEO.

For more information about the Southern Maryland Energy and Procurement Expo and to register, go to

Next Code Home Public Hearing to be Held in Mechanicsville

The Commissioners of St. Mary's County will host their seventh Code Home public hearing, on Tuesday, April 12, 2016 at the Mechanicsville Volunteer Fire Department, Station 22. The address is 29848 Therese Circle, Mechanicsville, MD 20659. The hearing will begin at 6:30 p.m.

A move to Code Home Rule would allow county commissioners to exercise authority to enact local laws on a number of subjects without having to await action by the Maryland General Assembly. Under Code Home Rule commissioners could not enact any new taxes or regulatory fees.

Code Home Rule would give the commissioners legislative authority throughout the year. Public hearings on legislation would be held in Leonardtown, rather than in Annapolis during the winter. The public could demand a referendum on any new public local law, something which does not currently exist. St. Mary's County is one of six counties in Maryland which has yet to adopt some form of home rule.

St. Mary's County voters would have to approve a referendum to adopt Code Home Rule on the ballot in the November, 2016 general election.

The eighth and final Code Home public hearing will take place:

Tuesday, May 10, 2016
Commissioners' Meeting Room
Chesapeake Building
41770 Baldridge Street
Leonardtown, MD 20650

More information about Code Home Rule can be found at Questions and comments can be sent to:

Commissioners Lend Voices to Raise Awareness about Dating Violence

First ever Respect Week declared in county

The Commissioners of St. Mary's County joined members of the St. Mary's County Commission for Women, St. Mary's County Public Schools staff and employees at MedStar St. Mary's Hospital to raise awareness about dating violence by declaring the week of April 3-9, 2016 as St. Mary's County Respect Week..

Statistics indicate one in three adolescent girls in the United States is a victim of physical, emotional or verbal abuse from a dating partner, a figure which far exceeds victimization rates for other types of violence affecting youth.

"Providing young people, their families and the school system with education about healthy relationships and relationship skills and by changing attitudes that support violence, we recognize dating violence can be prevented," said Commissioner Michael Hewitt (2nd District).

The commissioners believe St. Mary's County Respect Week will bring greater awareness of dating violence to young people, their families, schools and communities without regard to socioeconomic status, gender, sexual orientation or ethnicity.

Fair Housing Month Declared in St. Mary's County

April marks the anniversary of the passage of the Fair Housing Act of 1968. The Maryland Association of REALTORS' 2016 Fair Housing theme is "Everyone Wins With Fair Housing."

The Commissioners of St. Mary's County believe the theme will further housing choices for all Americans without regard to race, color, creed, national origin, sex, family status or disability, and to encourage fair housing opportunities for all county citizens. With this as a cornerstone the commissioners have declared the month of April Fair Housing Month.

The Maryland Fair Housing law was first enacted in 1971 and memorialized per Maryland Code, Article 49B, Sections 19-39 which adds marital status and sexual orientation as protected classes.

Local efforts continue to be vital in promoting Fair Housing and combat discrimination.

"The Southern Maryland Association of Realtors, Maryland Commission on Civil Rights, the Housing Authority of St. Mary's County, the St. Mary's County Human Relations Commission, property owners, management companies and many others continue to build alliances supporting Fair Housing," said Commissioner Michael Hewitt (2nd District). "Illegal barriers to equal opportunity in housing, no matter how subtle, diminish the rights of all, and ongoing educational outreach and monitoring are key to raising awareness of fair housing principles, practices, rights, and responsibilities."

The commissioners encourage all citizens to abide by the letter and spirit of Fair Housing Laws.

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