Friday Five | February 25, 2022

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

1. Maryland Democrats push forward paid family leave bill 

Yesterday, Maryland Democrats expressed their resolve to pass a paid family and medical leave insurance program, a measure that would provide 12 weeks of paid leave for Maryland workers for personal or family circumstances, such as caring for a sick relative or having a baby. The proposal has hit road blocks in previous years, but yesterday during a press conference Senate President Bill Ferguson pledged to pass it this year. The Maryland Chamber of Commerce believes this bill is correct in theory but wrong in practice and would place too much of a burden on businesses still struggling to recover from the pandemic who cannot afford an added cost of doing business at this time.

“This legislation is not the way to go,” said Maryland Chamber President & CEO Mary D. Kane. “This is too onerous on our employers here in the state.”

Read the full story here.

Tell your legislators that this bill is not right for Maryland! Join our advocacy campaign here.

2. Job creators object to Maryland climate change legislation’s costs 

The Climate Solutions Now Act of 2022 (SB 528) faces its first major challenge from commercial real estate representatives who argue the bill’s new standards would be too costly for developers and is unrealistic to accomplish in the timeline lawmakers have set. The bill would prohibit newly-constructed buildings in 2024 from using fossil fuels for heating and hot water and existing buildings over 25,000 square feet to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2040. During the bill’s hearing last week, Senator Benjamin F. Kramer, who also owns commercial real estate buildings, said many large buildings are specifically designed to use oil and natural gas, and implementing this law would cause major cost and logistical challenges. The debate is expected to continue at a hearing today before the House Environment and Transportation Committee. But so far conversations with lawmakers haven’t reached any solutions, and industry representatives continue to air their issues with the bill. Read the full story here.

Act now and urge your legislators to oppose Senate Bill 528, legislation that is bad for business and bad for consumers! It takes less than two minutes. Act Here.

The Daily Record: Maryland Chamber of Commerce’s President & CEO Mary D. Kane join a prestigious list of power players in the just released Daily Record’s Power 40 Government & Lobbying list. Read more here.

3. Gasoline prices are one way Americans could feel the impact of war in Ukraine

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has caused uncertainty in the U.S. economy, leading to higher gasoline prices hindering our COVID-19 recovery. Yesterday, oil prices increased by nearly 8% to over $100 a barrel before retreating to previous levels. Any war-related price spikes would come on top of already burdensome inflation that is running at the highest rate in 40 years, affecting both consumers and businesses in a wide array of industries including airlines, trucking and transportation.

Read the full story here.

4. State judge lets court challenge to Maryland’s congressional maps move forward

On Wednesday, a Maryland state court judge ruled that Republican legal challenges to Maryland’s redrawn congressional districts can mostly move forward. Judge Lynn A. Battaglia dismissed one count that argued partisan gerrymandering of the congressional maps violated a clause in the Maryland Constitution that says state legislators must enact laws “necessary for the preservation of the purity of elections.” But two lawsuits, which are being considered together, are moving forward, arguing that partisan gerrymandering of the congressional districts by Democratic state lawmakers violates provisions in the state constitution. These claims have never been tested in Maryland courts, and if successful, could upend Maryland’s primary elections.
Read the full story here.

5. Hogan announces $50M rural economic development fund 

Governor Hogan recently announced a new $50 million rural economic development fund to stimulate private-sector investment and grow jobs in rural parts of the state. Five rural regional councils will submit proposals to the Maryland Department of Commerce outlining how they plan to use up to $10 million in funding, which will benefit counties in the upper, mid and lower Eastern Shore as well as southern and western Maryland. The funds can be used to improve infrastructure and broadband to support the attraction, retention or expansion of businesses.
Read the full story here.

Upcoming Legislative Briefings and Hearings 

Tuesday, March 01, 2022 

Wednesday, March 02, 2022 

Thursday, March 03, 2022 

Friday, March 04, 2022 

You’re Invited: Inspire MD on May 12 

STATE of the STATE presented by Bank of America

Join us and 300+ fellow Marylanders who are ready to network and reconnect for our BIGGER & BETTER, one-of-a-kind spectacular event that will make you proud to be part of our incredible Maryland business community. Visit our event page for additional details.

Purchase Tickets Here





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