Each Friday, the Maryland Chamber will bring you the top five news stories from the intersection of business and government. Here are this week’s top five stories:
Do not miss this opportunity to hear directly from policy experts and Maryland’s congressional delegation regarding the current legislative and electoral landscape and how it intersects with the challenges presently being faced by the business community. Through this virtual event, attendees will also have the opportunity to ask questions and to convey their concerns directly to lawmakers.
1. Governor Hogan announces massive unemployment insurance fraud
At his press conference on Wednesday, July 15, Governor Hogan announced that the Maryland Department of Labor uncovered a massive scheme to defraud the state’s unemployment insurance system through identify theft. According to the governor, this scheme involved more than 47,500 fraudulent claims totaling over $500 million.
Maryland officials discovered the duplicitous actions over the Fourth of July weekend and immediately notified federal authorities. The discovery by state personnel led federal authorities to uncover similar fraud in at least 12 other states.
The governor assured the public that none of the fraudulent unemployment benefit claims were paid out, however, some legitimate claims were frozen as a result of the investigation. Additionally, Maryland Department of Labor Secretary Tiffany Robinson emphasized that the unemployment insurance database was not breached, and personal information was not compromised.
You can view a recording of the press conference here.
#2: The Maryland Chamber of Commerce joins the MD5G Partnership
Joining a host of other technology, civic and business leaders from Maryland, the Maryland Chamber of Commerce will be participating in the newly formed MD5G Partnership to expand communication infrastructure throughout Maryland.
With an increased demand for digital learning, public safety, public health, and innovate ways to drive Maryland’s economy the need for digital access in all of Maryland’s communities is critical.
Investment in 5G and digital infrastructure in Maryland will lead to an additional estimated 9,700 jobs, $850 million in network investment and $1.5 billion in GDP growth, according to a recent economic impact study conducted by CTIA.
The Maryland Chamber is proud to partner in this initiative in taking the next step in digital infrastructure investment in our state.
View the MD5G Partnership website here.
3. Maryland Enters a zero emissions truck pact
Earlier this week, Governor Hogan signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with 13 other states and the District of Columbia pledging to collaborate to increase the number of electric medium and heavy-duty vehicles on the road. The overall goal is to reach 100% zero-emission trucks and buses by 2050.
Included in medium and heavy-duty vehicles are large pickup trucks and vans, delivery trucks, box trucks, school and transit buses, and long-haul delivery trucks. Over the next six months the states that signed onto the MOU will develop plans recommending ways to develop the electric truck market. This will be coordinated through the multi-state Zero-Emission Vehicle Task Force facilitated by the Northeast States for Coordinated Air Use Management, a regional association of eight state air quality agencies. Here in Maryland, the effort will be coordinated by the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE), the Maryland Department of Transportation (MDOT), and the Maryland Energy Administration (MEA).
MDE has hosted roundtable discussions on this topic with industry leaders, other state agencies, and advocacy groups. The Maryland Chamber has participated in some of these discussions. As this initiative unfolds it is important to note that the transportation industry is still recovering from the effects of the COVID-19 economic shutdown. Furthermore, during this time the transportation industry has demonstrated how critical they are to ensuring a safe and stable supply chain.
4. Maryland Chamber Foundation webinar series
On July 20, at 11 a.m., the Maryland Chamber Foundation will host the first installment of a brand-new series, “Promoting Equity and Inclusion in the Workplace.”
In our first webinar “The Business Imperative for Equity and Inclusion” we will be joined by a panel of BGE representatives including Steve Woerner, president and COO; Rodney Oddoye, SVP governmental & external affairs; Frank Kelly, diverse business empowerment manager; and Danielle Bradshaw-Lee, director of security. This 60-minute webinar will consist of a 45-minute panel discussion and a 15-minute Q&A session moderated by Sandy Grace, vice president governmental & external affairs.
Attendees will learn how BGE, an Exelon company, has built an environment that unlocks the potential of diversity and ensures that the best ideas and practices can emerge and be embraced. Resource materials will be provided to participants after the program
Just like our COVID-19 Webinar Series, these webinars will be available to all Maryland Chamber members and members of the business community. The series will feature business leaders from high-profile companies who are driving systemic change in their own organizations and communities, and who will share their best practices with us.
For more information on upcoming webinars and other events, please visit our events page. If you are unable to participate, please note that we provide links to full recordings of all past webinars here. If you have any questions, or wish to discuss a sponsored webinar, please contact Whitney Harmel at firstname.lastname@example.org or (410) 269-0642, ext. 1117.
5. Take the COVID-19 Impact Survey
If you haven’t done so already, take a moment to complete our COVID-19 Impact Survey. We will use this survey data to support our ReNEW Maryland initiatives, which are intended to help put businesses and employees back to work. Please take the survey here.
Also, please share the survey with your membership and other business partners. Your responses will play a vital role in advancing the Chamber’s advocacy efforts at the federal level and help us better prepare for the 2021 state legislative session.
25 Maryland companies receive grants to make PPE
In a June press release, Governor Larry Hogan announced that the state awarded an additional $1.6 million in a second round of grants to Maryland companies producing PPE. The grants of up to $100,000 were given out to 25 companies who switched production fulfilling the need for life saving PPE such as face shields, gowns, and N95 mask parts.
Receiving more than 200 applications, the program was created in response to the growing demand for items to protect front line and essential workers combating the COVID-19 pandemic.
Click here to view the full press release and the 25 companies that received a second-round grant.
Upcoming calendar of legislative briefings and hearings
Wednesday, July 22, 2020
Friday, July 24, 2020
Click here to view up-to-the-minute COVID-19 resources on the Maryland Chamber of Commerce’s COVID-19 resources page.