A recap of this week’s top-five news items and resources from the intersection of business and government.
1. 2022 Election results
In addition to the election of Wes Moore, the state’s first and the nation’s third Black governor, Maryland will see a series of other historic firsts after Democrats swept the top of the ticket Tuesday. They are the first immigrant and Asian American lieutenant governor in Aruna Miller, the first Black attorney general in Anthony Brown and the first female comptroller and first woman directly elected to statewide office in Brooke Lierman.
2. Jobs report shows payrolls grew 261,000 in October
The U.S. labor market remains strong but is showing more signs of cooling following the Federal Reserve’s aggressive interest-rate increases aimed at combating high inflation.
Employers added a seasonally adjusted 261,000 jobs in October, a robust number but the fewest since December 2020, and the unemployment rate rose to 3.7%, the Labor Department said last Friday. Wage gains in October ticked up from the previous month. On an annual basis, however, wage increases have eased, a possible sign of loosening in the labor market.
“The labor market’s going from 100 miles per hour to 85,” said Rob Dent, senior U.S. economist at Nomura. “The Fed’s looking for 40, and we’re still not very close to that.”
The report showed that a sharp hiring slowdown has begun in some industries that are particularly sensitive to interest rates.
3. With historic victory, Brown plans expansion of Md. attorney general’s role
Incoming Maryland Attorney General Anthony G. Brown said he plans to substantially increase the office’s functions to help investigate crimes that extend beyond individual counties and examine patterns and practices of police misconduct should they arise.
He will also seek statutory authority to bring civil suits in cases of alleged discrimination in housing and between sellers and buyers or businesses and vendors. Brown also intends to appoint a lawyer to serve as an ombudsman to ensure the office’s representation of state agencies or other actions do not have the unintended effect of harming minorities.
Brown said he knows these initiatives will require additional state funding, as the office’s 12-member organized crime unit will need more lawyers, and attorneys will be needed to investigate police misconduct and handle discrimination claims.
4. How legalizing recreational cannabis could impact Maryland’s medical market
Voters decided this week to green-light the creation of a new industry in Maryland by legalizing recreational adult-use cannabis, a decision that will forever change the current medical market and could lead to an influx of new cannabis customers and businesses in the state.
Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission President Will Tilburg said one of the central tasks of the General Assembly next session will be creating a new licensing model for adult use. In other states, the rules for cannabis licenses vary massively, from strict state limits on the number of cannabis businesses, to no hard state limits, but strong local control.
There will likely still be some key differences between the medical market and a recreational one that could keep many medical customers from going to the recreational industry.
Beyond simply legalizing adult use, the passed referendum also includes several major equity measures to help address the disproportionate impact the criminalization of cannabis has had on low-income and minority communities.
5. Applications open for Md. Energy Administration commercial, industrial, agricultural grants
The Maryland Energy Administration (MEA) on Monday announced the launch of the Commercial, Industrial & Agricultural (CI&A) Grant Program for fiscal year 2023 (FY23).
MEA is offering the CI&A 2023 Grant Program to Maryland commercial, industrial, nonprofits, and farms and other agricultural entities, for the implementation of energy efficiency improvement projects to their facilities. New this year, data centers have now been incorporated into the CI&A program streamlining the programs and reflecting the common technologies.
Applications will be accepted on an ongoing basis until funding is fully awarded or until Feb. 15, 2023, at 5 p.m., whichever occurs first.
“MarylandSaves: What You Need to Know”
Tuesday, November 15
10 – 11 a.m.
What is MarylandSaves? As a business in Maryland, you need to know! Join us as we speak with Glenn Simmons of MarylandSaves about this program that requires eligible employers to establish a retirement savings plan for employees.