The count is firmer, and the news is good: of the 41 bills we opposed in the 2018 General Assembly legislative session, only four passed.
Among our successes: We fended off increased punitive damages and taxes, a new overtime standard, and several $15 minimum wage bills. We pushed back bans on polystyrene and wage history requests. In short: We worked together to save employers from a series of costly measures that would have threatened stability.
We’ll take a 91 percent success rate – and we’ll keep trying to get to 100.
We opposed several bills that would have sped up compliance with certain greenhouse gas emission reduction standards. Green is good; we only opposed them because the business community is already meeting its reduction goals on time. In fact, the business community has leveraged market-based solutions and invested in clean water and energy projects, knowing that these investments reduce their costs in the future.
So let’s keep it up. Fill out your business’ profile for the Maryland Green Registry. This is a voluntary program that offers businesses best practices and resources to reduce environmental impact and save money. It has saved businesses hundreds of millions of dollars over its lifespan, and can help your business as well.
Speaking of saving millions: You might have seen the recent news that the Port of Baltimore broke records for cargo handling, with more than 38 million tons in 2017. Aside from trucks, trains are the way that cargo gets to and from the land side of the port. If signed, HB 180 would mandate two-person crews on freight trains in Maryland. Aside from the fact that there are already parameters in place to ensure proper crew and safe operation, this bill would add unnecessary cost and slow the flow of commerce. It could make the Port of Baltimore less attractive, pushing business to Philadelphia, Norfolk or Wilmington. Therefore, we are urging Gov. Larry Hogan to veto HB 180.
After a great launch to our advisory groups, the next meetings are scheduled for June. Take a look at the calendar. You don’t have to be a Maryland Chamber member to join these groups, which work within the Maryland Chamber Foundation to discuss best practices, strategies and needs within their industry/sector. Their focus is to address what the next 20 years look like for these industries and sectors, and how these communities can proactively shape those years.
As always, if you have comments, questions, concerns, etc., don’t hesitate to let us know.