We are officially less than a month away from the end of the 2019 legislative session. But things aren’t slowing down quite yet…in fact, they are picking up with Crossover Day less than a week away.
What is Crossover Day?
All this talk about Crossover Day, but what exactly is it? On Monday, March 18th, the House of Delegates and the state Senate send each other the bills they report favorably on. The bills literally “cross over” into the other chamber. In order for a bill to be guaranteed a hearing in the other chamber, it must be sent by the end of Crossover Day.
So, what’s new?
A few of the bills that have been the talk of the town around the Maryland Chamber involve prescription drug pricing, regulations impacting small businesses, and of course $15 minimum wage.
HB 768/SB 759 – Health – Prescription Drug Affordability Board
This bill seeks to establish a Prescription Drug Affordability Board that claims it would protect state residents and stakeholders from the high costs of prescription drug products. The board would identify what prescription drugs would cause affordability issues, then conduct a cost review of these drugs, and if warranted, would recommend or establish an upper payment limit for the product.
The Maryland Chamber has concerns over this onerous new price control legislation. In establishing an upper payment limit, the state is effectively eliminating the incentive to research and produce novel treatments for current diseases, which would ultimately increase health care costs overall. Free market competition is a valued, necessary aspect of Maryland’s economy which serves to drive the spirit of innovation.
HB 1124 – State Government – Regulations Impacting Small Businesses – Economic Impact Analyses & HB 157 – State Government – Regulations Impacting Small Businesses
HB 1124 and HB 157, while different bills, are very similar in nature. Both bills would require state agencies to establish an electronic registry, notification system, and compliance guides for proposed regulations that are expected to have a significant small business impact.
State agencies must consider specified mitigation options when assessing civil penalties on small businesses. Under these bills, the Department of Budget and Management must provide related training at least once every two years as well as economic impact analysis ratings. Both of these bills keep businesses in the loop by notifying them when regulations impacting their businesses are proposed, and provide not only a cost estimate for the proposed regulations, but also a guideline of how to comply with the proposed regulation. The Maryland Chamber reported favorably on both pieces of legislation.
Governor Hogan weighs in on $15 minimum wage
The debate over increasing the minimum wage to $15 continues in full force. Governor Larry Hogan has noted concerns with the legislation as it currently sits in the Senate, and presents the following recommendations: