From the halls: 200 bills and the next step

There have already been more than 200 bills dropped for the week-old 2018 Maryland General Assembly legislative session, and it’s already been a tough one for business.

With the override of Gov. Larry Hogan’s veto, 2017’s HB 1 is set to take effect Feb. 11. However, we will be looking to ensure an extension before it takes effect, to give you more time to get ready to comply. Sen. Thomas “Mac” Middleton is already talking about a 90-day delay. Our friends at Shawe Rosenthal have provided a primer on compliance for your reference.

 

What about Gov. Hogan’s paid leave bill?

The governor’s emergency legislation, House Bill 98/Senate Bill 135, still technically exists. It has been assigned to designated committees in both chambers; however, bill hearings have not been scheduled at this time. If there are any revisions to HB 1, these emergency bills could be the avenue.

In addition, on Monday the governor announced the creation of the Office of Small Business Regulatory Assistance to help businesses comply with HB 1. This office was created via executive order, so the legislature has 50 days to consent or pass a resolution against the order. Under this order, the office would help the government respond to small business needs and serve as a clearinghouse of information for state-supported business assistance programs and services. The office will report to the governor and legislature on HB 1 compliance challenges for small businesses, and recommend policy improvements and solutions.

The HB 1 override and the high number of dropped bills are just the first public indications of what will make this session tougher than others: the upcoming election for all statewide officeholders. Many legislators will be running on their records, pushing bills to shore up votes in their home districts.

For his part, Gov. Hogan must introduce his FY19 budget by tomorrow – Wednesday, Jan. 17. As you may recall, the legislature cannot add to that budget. It can only subtract or, in some cases, reallocate resources.

 

Tell legislators what matters to your business.

Today, Tuesday, is the last day to register for our 2018 Business Day & Legislative Reception happening Wednesday, January 17.  This is your chance to be seen and heard by legislators who need to understand the impact their decisions have on your organizations and your staffs. It’s more important than ever.

We have been working together toward this session for months, but it’s just getting started. Any time you have a question or concern – or if you can share the effects HB 1 has on your business – don’t hesitate to be in touch.

Thank you, as always, for investing in our partnership and in the state.

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