(February 15, 2018 — ANNAPOLIS, Md.)– On Tuesday, the house took up SB 304. Today, the Economic Matters Committee voted, 12-11, unfavorably. Effectively, that bill to delay the effective date on 2017’s HB 1 is now dead. HB 1 went into effect on Sunday. Employers are now legally required to comply. The Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation has released early guidance. Be sure to keep us posted on the impact this law has on you so we can take action to improve it in the future.
Here’s where there is still some hope for help: House Bill 99/Senate Bill 134 would provide a tax credit for businesses with 50 or fewer employees to offer paid leave for qualified employees. Sen. Thomas “Mac” Middleton has expressed support, which is compelling because he was also the senator driving the progress of HB 1 and SB 304. HB 99/SB 134 is scheduled for hearings with Senate Budget & Taxation and House Ways & Means, respectively, on Feb. 21.
Last week marked the last days for bill introductions without a procedural routing through the respective Rules Committees. As of Friday, 31 days into session, legislators had introduced 2,800 bills. Here’s where we took action in the last week:
SB 261 would establish a tuition waiver program for students completing vocation certificates, associate’s degrees, and apprenticeship training programs. For those who cannot afford or are not interested in four-year degrees, this program can lead to better opportunities. We supported it.
SB 300 would establish the Maryland Center for Computer Education to create new standards and develop curriculum for full Maryland K-12-student computer literacy. This program will help students succeed in the workforce. We supported it.
HB 180 would require freight trains or light engines to carry at least two crew members while in Maryland. This could require freight trains to stop at state borders to pick up or drop off crew, slowing an otherwise smooth flow of commerce in a critical, high-capacity industry. We opposed it.
SB 465 would alter Maryland’s standard of contributory negligence by creating a separate standard for pedestrians and nonmotorized vehicles. This would mean more lawsuits and more liability for businesses, increasing costs and damaging our competitiveness. We opposed it.
HB 527 would expand the Maryland Technology Internship Program to include technology-based internships with state and local governments, and expand it to companies with fewer than 150 employees. The Maryland Chamber of Commerce has supported this program since its conception in 2014 and we continue to support it.
SB 279 would change the selection of the two principal members on the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority’s Board of Directors. Right now, the governor appoints both. This would change that to one gubernatorial appointee and one Department of Transportation designee, representing both political and policy-oriented perspectives. We supported it.
SB 317 aims to increase funding for higher education programs by increasing taxes on carried interest income. While we support higher education, we could not support this bill’s tax increase. To impose an unnecessary punitive tax on a successful financial structure will reduce the flow of credit, decrease economic activity and stifle job growth. We opposed it.
Share your expertise
Don’t forget about our first Rural Advisory Group meeting tomorrow, Wednesday, Feb. 14, 10 – 11 a.m. at the Maryland Chamber offices. If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to Kevin Rudolph. Next up: the Telecommunication Advisory Group on Wed., Feb. 21 & the Human Resources Advisory Group on Wed., Feb. 28 (we pushed this meeting back due to inclement weather) – same time and place, open to anyone who wants to share insights, perspectives and ideas.
One month down, two to go. Talk with us if there is a way we can more effectively advocate for you.