Friday Five | April 15, 2022

A recap of this week’s top-five news items and resources from the intersection of business and government.


1. Maryland lawmakers passed bills on paid family leave, taxes and the environment. Here’s a look at what’s becoming law. 

Maryland lawmakers marked the end of the 2022 legislative session at midnight Monday, passing major initiatives that directly impact Maryland businesses and will set the tone for next year’s legislative agenda. The Baltimore Sun has compiled a list of some noteworthy measures that are becoming law, including:

To view the full list of bills passed click here.


2. Maryland’s highest court rejects legislative map challenge, clearing way for July 19 primary 

On Wednesday, the Maryland Court of Appeals upheld the General Assembly-approved map of state legislative districts, rejecting multiple challenges from Republican politicians and voters who argued it violated provisions of the state’s constitution. The ruling allows the new state legislative districts to go into effect for the July 19 primary elections without further delay. Despite allegations from the plaintiff that a dozen districts on the map are irregularly shaped and not compact, the judge appointed to the case ruled that compactness is not the only element to be considered. More importantly, he claimed the map should ensure districts have equal populations and comply with the federal Voting Right Act barring election-related discrimination. This decision brings an end to all legal challenges brought against the Maryland congressional and legislative maps, leaving Maryland residents with the final task of voting for their candidates of choice in the upcoming primary elections.

Read the full story here.


3. Cardin, other U.S. lawmakers look for path ahead on billions in restaurant, small business aid 

A multimillion-dollar package is in the works that would provide $42 billion for restaurants and $13 billion for a hard-hit industries program that would help small businesses that weren’t eligible for restaurant aid. The U.S. House approved the bill yesterday but is only backed by six House Republicans, making the chances of it becoming law in the evenly divided U.S. Senate very slim. In response, Maryland Democratic Senator Ben Cardin and Mississippi GOP Senator Roger Wicker introduced a separate bill in the Senate that would provide $40 billion to restaurants and $8 billion to various small businesses.

“We’re looking at any way to move this as soon as we possibly can, because it’s pretty desperate,” Cardin said during a brief interview.

Aside from the $2 billion gap in funding, the biggest difference between the bills is how the money will be allocated for non-restaurant businesses. The House bill would create one pot of $13 billion for businesses with 200 or fewer employees that experienced a pandemic-related revenue loss of 40% or more and would be eligible to receive up to $1 million each. The Senate bill would create separate pots of money for various businesses creating different brackets of eligibility depending on lost revenue and industry.

Read the full story here.


4. Hogan signs $1.2B bill for Orioles, Ravens stadium improvements 

Governor Hogan signed legislation Tuesday that allows the Maryland Stadium Authority to borrow up to $1.2 billion for upgrades to the Ravens and Orioles stadiums, potentially securing long-term commitments from the teams to remain in Baltimore. The Ravens have five years left on their lease at M&T Bank Stadium, while the Orioles’ lease was set to expire last year but was extended for another two years. Specific improvements to the stadiums have not been determined, but the investment could help advance ongoing negotiations for new long-term leases and further strengthen the partnerships with both teams.

Read the full story here.


5. ‘Temporary relief of Maryland gas tax suspension expiring over the weekend 

The state’s gas tax suspension is set to expire at midnight on Saturday, and with it will end the below-average prices that gave much-needed relief to Marylanders at the pump. According to AAA Mid Atlantic, the average price of a gallon of gas in Maryland was $3.69 on Thursday and could potentially increase to around $4 per gallon once dealers re-impose the gas tax. Senate President Bill Ferguson told reporters earlier this week that international pressures on oil prices require a more national solution.

“We were not going to be able to solve that problem,” said Ferguson. “We were going to provide temporary relief, and we knew it was only going to be temporary relief and at some point (the price) would adjust.”

Read the full story here.


NEXT WEEK! 2022 Legislative Session Recap

Join our Government Affairs team on Wednesday, April 20 from 11 AM – 12 PM for a comprehensive analysis of the legislation that passed or failed and discuss how the Maryland business community will be directly impacted. Don’t miss this exclusive opportunity and register now!

REGISTER HERE

 


 

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