Friday Five | March 19, 2021

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

Christine Ross, President & CEO

Crossover Day is finally here on Monday, as debates continue today to finalize the budget. Next week will prove important to the fate of HB 581, which continues to be rigorously debated by the Economic Matters Business Regulation Subcommittee and various working groups.



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

Negotiations continue in the legislature regarding House Bill 581, legislation that would create a number of new employer mandates and costs including: 1) hazard pay; 2) financial assistance for healthcare costs; and 3) universal health and bereavement leave, among many other problematic and challenging provisions for Maryland’s job creators.

This week, the Economic Matters Business Regulation Subcommittee met to continue discussions on the legislation. The Chamber continues to engage through both external and internal working groups to ensure that the interests of Maryland’s job creators are adequately represented and will continue to provide updates on this effort as they become available.

The Economic Matters Business Regulation Subcommittee will meet again today at 1 p.m. For more information, please visit the MGA Website.

2. Maryland Opens COVID Vaccine Eligibility to Pase 2 Starting Tuesday

During a press conference yesterday, Governor Hogan announced that beginning Tuesday, vaccinations will be open to all Marylanders 60 and older, who can already preregister for appointments at Maryland’s mass vaccination clinics on the phone or online. Then starting March 30, the rollout will expand to include all residents over the age of 16 who have underlying medical conditions that increase the risk for severe COVID-19 illness. Two weeks later, on April 13, anyone 55 and up who are essential construction, food services, utilities, transportation, financial and IT workers. Finally, by April 27, all Marylanders 16 and older will be eligible.

To read more, please click here.

3. House Gives Preliminary Approval to $50 Billion Proposed Budget

Yesterday, the House of Delegates gave initial approval to a $50.45 Billion proposed 2022 budget that plans to restore the state’s savings accounts and resolves a projected budget shortfall that would lead to a projected structural surplus of $262 million by 2026. The spending also sets aside about $572 million for pandemic related testing, contact tracing and vaccinations, with an additional $585 million in new tax relief for businesses hit hard by the pandemic.

A final house vote on the budget proposal is expected today, sending the proposal to the Senate. The final budget plan must be passed by both chambers before April 5.

To read more, please click here.

4. Possible PPP Extension Gives Groups Time to Push for Boosting These Type of Loans

On Tuesday, the House of Representatives voted to extend the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) to May 31, instead of March 31, giving the Small Business Administration an additional 30 days to process loans. Support to move the PPP deadline has grown since the Biden administration announced last month changes to the program, including a 14-day priority application period for businesses with fewer than 20 employees, an updated loan calculation for sole proprietors and new eligibility rules.

In a March 11 letter to the House Small Business Committee, the National Federation of Independent Business also highlighted that Congress should allow businesses that applied earlier and received a smaller loan to reapply and get a larger amount under the new rules. The latest changes to the PPP were incredibly critical, especially for sole proprietors, but gave them less than a month to apply. Making those changes retroactive would provide critical relief to minority-owned businesses who only received a fraction of the relief they needed.

To read more, please click here

5. Montgomery Moves Forward with Mass Vaccination Sites

Montgomery County officials announced on Wednesday that preparations for a mass coronavirus vaccination site in Maryland’s most populous jurisdiction are continuing. County Executive Marc Elrich expressed his plans of holding mass vaccinations at Montgomery College’s Germantown campus. The site could administer as many as 3,000 doses per day, with the first appointments beginning April 1, county officials said.

To read more, please click here.


Creating a Culture of Service Webinar

In case you missed it, watch our fifth installment in our six-part series in partnership with BGE, Promoting Equity and Inclusion in the Workplace. Experts in the field of corporate social responsibility shared their insight into what makes their programs successful, emerging CSR trends and innovative solutions to jumpstart your employee participation.

Upcoming Calendar of Legislative Briefings and Hearings

Thursday, March 25, 2021


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