Blog post by Larry Richardson
Larry Richardson is the vice president of government affairs at the Maryland Chamber of Commerce. He is an attorney who brings over 25 years of lobbying experience to the Chamber where he advocates on behalf of the Maryland business community to grow jobs and reduce regulations.
Today marks the first day of the 2019 legislative session and the Maryland Chamber of Commerce my government affairs team is raring to go. The next 90 days will be filled with late nights and early mornings and we couldn’t be more excited. Last year, the team, along with our legislative and policy committees, reviewed 325 bills and testified on 125 that would impact Maryland’s businesses and industries.
It’s a new year, with 17 new members of the Maryland Senate and 43 new members of the House of Delegates. We anticipate a number of bills from the past to resurface, as well as new legislation to carefully consider. With that being said, the Maryland Chamber has a number of legislative priorities to focus on this upcoming session.
Our priorities align with some of the most pressing issues that businesses in the state face, which were echoed in our 2019 Session Prep* held at the Maryland Chamber in December. Within each of these legislative priorities, we have critical issues we will be addressing this session that correlate with the needs of our member businesses. Those that we are focusing on this session include:
Business Regulation & Operations
We work to ensure polices are created that benefit the employer-employee relationship and allow businesses to be competitive with their workforce. We address regulatory issues affecting daily operational activities and support legislation that allows market force principles to work in the state’s economy.
Critical issues: economic impact analyses on regulations impacting small businesses and prohibitions on consumer contract renewal terms
The civil law system should not punish lawful commerce. We address issues related to tort reform and civil liability, including opposing efforts to expand exposure to liability and damages that weaken businesses’ defenses.
Critical issues: punitive damages and non-economic damages
Cyber & Technology
The fields of cyber and technology are important and growing sectors of Maryland’s economy. We support the development of policies that encourage and facilitate growth, entrepreneurship and innovation within these sectors.
Critical issues: apprenticeship/intern tax relief, cybersecurity & biotechnology investment tax credits, 5G/Small Cell, net neutrality and data privacy
Education & Workforce Development
We ensure that Maryland fosters an educational and vocational ecosystem focused on developing, retaining, and attracting a more globally competitive workforce. We believe in strategies that seamlessly link education and workforce development and embed skills-based learning into academic instruction.
Critical issues: apprenticeship and intern tax credits and second chance employment
Energy & Environment
The Maryland Chamber supports community and business endeavors that sustain, enhance, protect and conserve Maryland’s natural resources for present and future generations. At the same time, we work to maintain the balance between economic need and environmental concern.
Critical issues: renewable portfolio standard increase and carbon tax
Health Care & Biopharma
We believe in meaningful health care reform that allows employers to best meet the needs of their employees. We oppose mandated health benefit demands, as well as regulatory oversight and requirements. We also address issues in legislative interaction in the pharmacological discovery and development processes.
Critical issues: price gouging and pharmaceutical pricing and availability
Labor & Employment
We seek to maintain a balance in the relationship between employees and employers within the state. We work to ensure policies are created that promote fairness, reduce excessive mandates and protect employer interests.
Critical issues: mandatory paid leave, $15 minimum wage, fair scheduling, and second chance employment
We support tax policy reform that reduces the cost of doing business. It is our goal to strengthen the state’s competitive tax climate to help attract and retain businesses, talent and investment.
Critical issues: income tax – pass-through entities, corporate income tax-rate reduction, and corporations and business entities – filing fees and combined reporting
We believe improved state transportation networks boost economic opportunity. We work to advance short- and long-term answers to statewide transportation and transit needs. We support sustainably funded solutions that safely and reliably transport people and goods.
Critical issues: infrastructure funding
To address these issues, the Maryland Chamber has 10 policy committees, which focus on specific sectors and industries, filled with experts in their fields as well as a legislative committee, to make decisions on what positions we will take. The addition of two new committees, Cyber & Technology and Health Care & Bio Pharma, will allow us to expand the range of bills we cover. We will hold meetings on a weekly basis to discuss important legislation pertaining to the committees’ areas of interest and all members are welcome to join.
My team is ready to lobby on businesses’ behalf and make Maryland an even better place for business. If you are interested in joining us and adding your voice, join us for the Maryland Chamber’s Meet the State event in two weeks.
This full day event is an immersive experience with the General Assembly and our government affairs team, where you will not only learn about the legislative process, upcoming issues that will impact your business, and the best approach to advocacy—you will engage in informed discussions with your state legislators about how those issues will affect you directly.
Come rally with the Maryland Chamber on January 23rd at Meet the State—build your network and make your voice heard!
*Members: You can view the recording of the 2019 Session Prep by logging in!