A recap of this week’s top-five news items and resources from the intersection of business and government.
With just over two weeks until Crossover Day on March 22, committees are hard at work negotiating the final details of bills. Both Chambers are working to reconcile the House and Budget bill which must be passed by March 5.
1. HB 581/SB 486 – Employment Standards During an Emergency
The House Economic Matters Committee has formed a Legislative Workgroup, composed of representatives from the Senate, House, labor and business, to address HB 581/SB 486, 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.
Last week, Ashley Duckman, Vice President of Government Affairs at the Maryland Chamber of Commerce, attended the groups first meeting and will continue to keep us updated as they reconvene.
2. HB 1326 – Expanded Employer Mandates During a Public Health Emergency
On Tuesday, House Bill 1326, legislation expanding employer mandates was heard in the House Economic Matters Committee. We, the Maryland Chamber of Commerce, continue to voice our concern about the financial and operational impact the passage of this legislation would have on employers, as they struggle to juggle previously passed employer mandates and the operational and economic implications of COVID-19.
If enacted, some of the employer mandates HB 1326 would include are:
Act now and contact your legislators and tell them now is not the time to burden employers with expanded mandates.
3. SB 811 – Unemployment Insurance Table of Rates
The Maryland Chamber of Commerce along with the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB), the Howard County Chamber of Commerce and other business groups testified in support of Senate Bill 811 which prevents the sudden and drastic rise in unemployment tax rates. The legislation would phase in unemployment insurance tax rates over the next four years starting from Table C working down to Table F shifting away from Table A to Table F which is a result of the heavy use of UI benefits from the COVID-19 pandemic. The General Assembly passed a similar relief during the 1970s responding to employer’s concerns of the Unit Investment Trust Fund (UITF) going under.
Visit the MGA Website for additional information.
4. U.S. Manufacturing Activity Jumps to 3-year high in February
The Institute for Supply Management reported Monday that its gauge of manufacturing activity rose to a reading of 60.8% last month, 2.1 percentage points above the January level of 58.7%. The reading is an indicator of the expansion in the manufacturing sector at the fastest pace three years with the arrival of a surge in new orders.
Timothy Fiore, chair of the ISM manufacturing survey panel, said the survey shows that a recovery is ongoing as manufacturers find ways to deal with supply-chain shortages and lingering pandemic issues such as short-term shutdowns at some plants to sanitize facilities.
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5. Action Needed: Oppose the “PRO Act” Labor Bill
The Maryland Chamber of Commerce has signed on to NAM’s letter to Congress urging a NO vote on the PRO Act Labor Bill, legislation attempting to rewrite America’s labor and employment laws doing serious harm to manufacturers, workers and the economy. It is scheduled for action on the House floor the week of March 8 and we are asking that you join us in opposing these drastic changes to our nation’s workplace and employment laws.
Act now by:
Upcoming Calendar of Legislative Briefings and Hearings
Tuesday, March 9, 2021
Thursday, March 11, 2021