Friday Five | April 2, 2021

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


1. Hogan: ‘Historic Bipartisan Agreement’ Reached on Allocation of Federal COVID-19 Funds

On Wednesday, Governor Larry Hogan announced that a bipartisan agreement had been reached on how to allocate the $3.9 billion in federal coronavirus relief funds that Maryland is poised to receive from the recent passage of the American Rescue Plan Act. Read Governor Hogan’s full press release here.

Some of the major components of the bipartisan agreement to provide targeted relief are:

Our government affairs team have been working hard over the past several months with the Governor and his team to address the threat of rising unemployment insurance taxes faced by employers and using the fund to help offset those costs. “We know that this is a tremendous force in supporting Maryland’s job creators and will keep us on a path to sound economic recovery,” said Ashley Duckman, vice president of government affairs at the MDCC. Read our press release here.

To access estimates per county for the Coronavirus Local Fiscal Recovery Fund as prepared by the Congressional Research Service, please click here.


2. HB 581 – Maryland Essential Protection Act (Employment Standards During an Emergency)

A heavily amended version of House Bill 581 was voted of committee earlier this week and will be on the House floor on second reader today. The bill as originally drafted would create a number of new employer mandates including hazard pay, health leave, and other provisions related to workplace safety during a public health emergency. In general, the MDCC is comfortable with the many changes that have been made to the bill and presently maintains a neutral position. We will continue to monitor and engage on this bill and will report back with any updates.

For more information, please visit the MGA Website.


3. SB 911 – Unlawful Employment Practice – Statue of Limitations and Remedies

If passed, Senate Bill 911 would raise the caps on the amount of compensatory damages that may be awarded in cases involving unlawful practices and would enshrine a 5% increase in the caps for each subsequent year. The bill would also increase the amount of back pay and time a person may file a civil action after the alleged unlawful employment practice occurred, from two to three years.

The MDCC opposes this legislation as the bill would create greater liability and uncertainty for employers. It would also move Maryland law out of line with federal law, which balances employee rights against an employer’s code of doing business. We will keep you up to date of the status of this bill as it progresses, and if any action is needed from our members.

For more information, please visit the MGA Website.


4. What’s in Biden’s $2 Trillion Jobs and Infrastructure Plan? 

On Wednesday, President Biden unveiled a $2 trillion jobs and infrastructure plan to address some of the country’s most pressing problems, including damaged bridges, unequal broadband access, climate change and care for people with disabilities and the elderly. The proposed American Jobs Plan has raised some concerns since it will be partly paid for by raising the corporate tax rate and global minimum tax. Opponents argue that this would damage U.S investment and global competitiveness. The White house’s stance is that higher taxes would offset concerns about adding to the federal deficit.

Estimated spending on the proposed American Jobs Plan includes:

To read more, please click here.


5. Hogan: All Marylanders Can Now Pre-Register to Get a COVID-19 Vaccine

Governor Hogan announced yesterday that pre-registration for the COVID-19 vaccine is now open to all Marylanders. The state is currently in Phase 2B, which prioritizes Marylanders age 16 and older with underlying medical conditions or disabilities. On April 13, the state is expected to move into Phase 2C, which prioritizes all Marylanders age 55 and older. Finally, the state will enter Phase 3 on April 27, at which time all Marylanders age 16 and older will be eligible for vaccination.

To read more, please click here.


Upcoming Event: Join our government affairs team following Sine Die on April 21 from 11 a.m. – 12 p.m. for a 2021 Legislative Session Recap webinar that will provide a comprehensive analysis of legislation relevant to the business community that passed or failed during the 2021 session. Register here.

 


 

 

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