Friday Five | April 9, 2021

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

1. Hogan Environment Secretary Backs House Version of Climate Bill 

On Friday, the Hogan administration endorsed the House version of the Climate Solutions Now Act of 2021, requiring the state to reduce statewide greenhouse gas emissions by 60% from 2006 levels by 2030. Maryland Environment Secretary, Ben Grumbles, stated that the legislation moving through the House aligns with many of the recommendations outlined in the administration’s Greenhouse Gas Reduction Plan released earlier this year. To read more, please click here.

We, the Maryland Chamber of Commerce (MDCC), oppose the Climate Solutions Now Act of 2021 (SB 414/HB 583) and continue to voice our concern regarding this legislation that would require the state to comply with new costly requirements to achieve net-zero statewide GHG emissions by 2045. The bill has passed the Senate and is being amended by the House Economic Matters Committee and the House Environment and Transportation Committee. Next, it is expected to go to a conference committee to work out the differences between chambers.

If enacted, some of the new costly programs include:

For more information, please visit the MGA Website.

2. Legislature Votes to Bolster Unemployment Insurance System 

Emergency measures to help struggling businesses pay less in unemployment insurance taxes while simultaneously granting more funding to the unemployed were voted out of the Maryland Legislature last week and await signature from Governor Larry Hogan.

Some of these bills include:

To read more, please click here.

3. House Lawmakers Advance Narrower Essential Worker Protection

A heavily amended version of House Bill 581, an emergency bill to protect essential workers during public health emergencies was introduced to the Senate on Monday evening. The amended measure curtails who counts as an essential worker, provides for paid sick leave if federal or state funding is made available to employers and no longer includes hazard pay. With time counting down in the legislative session, the bill faces a tight timeline for final passage.

To read more, please click here.

4. Lawmakers Debating Whether to Allow Tiered Local Income Tax Brackets

The House version of the Local Tax Relief for Working Families Act of 2021, legislation that would allow counties to set local income taxes at different rates for lower-income and wealthy residents, received initial approval in the Senate this Tuesday. As amended, the bill limits the highest local income tax rates to 3.2% and raises the minimum for local income taxes to 2.25% from 1%. Some county leaders have lobbied for this change to make local tax systems more equitable. Opponents argue that counties set at the proposed local tax minimum would not be allowed to lower it more for some residents, and counties with the rate set at the current maximum would only be able to drop rates for some, causing a loss of revenue for county coffers.

To read more, please click here.

5. Maryland General Assembly Bill Tracker: A Look at Key Legislation

Maryland lawmakers have many weighty issues left on the agenda, with just a few days left in the legislative session. Access a summary of key legislation, from policing reform to pandemic relief, making its way through the Maryland General Assembly 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.



Vaccine Pre-Registration for Employees: The Maryland Business Emergency Operations Center (MBEOC) is working with the Maryland Department of Health (MDH) to set aside batches of appointments at state mass vaccination clinics for businesses that want to pre-register their employees. Click on the link below for more information and to access the pre-registration form.




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