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Maryland Legislative Wrap-Up


2020 MARYLAND GENERAL ASSEMBLY WRAP-UP


 

ABC HAS SUCCESSFUL SESSION AS MARYLAND GENERAL ASSEMBLY ADJOURNS EARLY
 
Despite the shortened session, the Maryland General Assembly was still able to introduce over 2,700 bills. ABC identified a list of bills that were given a priority status in terms of supporting or opposing. Here is a synopsis of these bills, ABC’s position, and the final disposition of the bill.
 
H.B. 722- OCCUPATIONAL SAFETY AND HEALTH- HEAT STRESS STANDARDS- ABC OPPOSED AS DRAFTED- PASSED WITH AMENDMENTS-
The bill as drafted would have created problems for the employer in terms of work-site requirements as well as administrative recordkeeping requirements. ABC recommended that this issue be referred to the Commissioner of Labor and Industry with input and review by the Maryland Occupational Safety and Health Advisory Board. After numerous meetings with the sponsor, the bill was amended to include this language.
 
H.B. 839- LABOR & EMPLOYMENT- FAMILY AND MEDICAL LEAVE INSURANCE PROGRAM- ESTABLISHMENT- ABC OPPOSED- - BILL DIED IN COMMITTEE
The bill would have established this program which would provide up to 12 weeks of benefits to a covered individual taking leave from employment due to a specified personal or family health condition.The contributions to the fund would be shared by employers and employees with both responsible for 50%. ABC argued that another leave program would be an additional burden on businesses which have had to absorb other leave programs passed by the General Assembly.
 
H.B. 1249- I-495 and I-270 PUBLIC-PRIVATE PARTNERSHIP- PARTNERSHIP AGREEMENT- REQUIREMENTS- ABC OPPOSED- BILL PASSED THE HOUSE BUT DIED IN THE SENATE
ABC has a standing policy of opposing legislation which interjects the legislative branch of state government in the transportation planning, design, and construction process.This legislation was the result of a vote by the Board of Public Works agreement to move forward with this project initiated by the Governor.  It also contained language which would require a Community Benefit Agreement be a part of the RFP process. While there was no Project Labor Agreement proposed for the CBA, CBA’s can be altered to contain similar union-only requirements.
  
H.B. 84- STATE HIGHWAY ADMINISTRATION- CONSTRUCTION AND MAINTENANCE- PERMIT REQUIREMENTS- (NIGHTTIME CONSTRUCTION NOISE REDUCTION ACT- ABC OPPOSED- BILL DIED IN COMMITTEE 
The bill would have prohibited the State Highway Administration from issuing a permit for work on a State highway between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. the following day in a residential zone, a commercial-residential zone, an area within 500 feet of one of these zones or an area within 500 feet of a dwelling. The requirement would delay a project and increase the cost.
 
S.B. 688- COMMISSIONER OF LABOR AND INDUSTRY- CONSTRUCTION SERVICES- STOP WORK ORDERS- ABC OPPOSED- BILL DIED IN COMMITTEE 
The bill would have required the Commissioner of Labor and Industry to issue a stop-work order requiring the cessation of all business operations to employers found to be in violation of wage and hour laws or workplace fraud laws.  Not only would it require the contractor found to be in violation to stop working, but all contractors working on the job site.  For those found in violation a third time, it would require the cessation of work by the contractor at all their job sites.
 
S.B. 641- MARYLAND WAGE AND HOUR LAW AND MARYLAND WAGE PAYMENT AND COLLECTION LAW- (MARYLAND WAGE PROTECTION ACT- ABC OPPOSED- BILL DIED IN COMMITTEE 
The bill would have required the employer to provide a great deal of wage and pay period notice requirements to the employee. For each pay period, an employer must provide the employee the following information: dates covered by the wage payments, the name of the employee and employer, the employer’s address and telephone number, the rate of pay, a statement of the employee’s net earnings, allowances claimed and the number of hours worked per workweek in the pay period. For an employee paid at a piece rate, the employer must provide information on the number of pieces completed and the piece rates. An administrative nightmare.
 
S.B. 1011- PUBLIC UTILITIES- INVESTOR-OWNED UTILITIES- PREVAILING WAGE- ABC OPPOSED- BILL PASSED SECOND READER IN THE SENATE BUT DID NOT ADVANCE ANY FURTHER
The bill would have required investor-owned gas or electric utilities to require contractors and sub-contractors to pay their employees not less than the prevailing wage for projects involving construction, installation, demolition, restoration or alteration. Bad public policy as prevailing wage would have extended to parts of the private sector construction world.
 
H.B. 1628- SALES AND USE TAX- RATE REDUCTION AND SERVICES- ABC OPPOSED- THE BILL WAS DEFEATED IN COMMITTEE-  
This bill was introduced to provide funding for the Kirwan educational recommendations but was quickly defeated. Some of the services that were to be taxed included security, delivery, financial planning, plumbing, environmental remediation, attorneys, accounting, real estate and many more. 
 
S.B. 751- APPRENTICESHIP START-UP ACT OF 2020- ABC SUPPORTED- THE BILL PASSED BOTH HOUSES AND FORWARDED TO THE GOVERNOR FOR HIS SIGNATURE 
The bill eliminates the termination date of the apprenticeship income tax credit, expands the definition of an apprentice, increases the credit from $1,000 to $3,000 and the amount of credits that can be claimed by a taxpayer.
 
S.B. 831- LABOR AND EMPLOYMENT- WAGE PAYMENT AND COLLECTION- GENERAL CONTRACTOR LIABILITY- ABC INITIATED THIS BILL AND SUPPORTED- BILL WAS DEFEATED IN COMMITTEE 
The bill would have reduced the liability of the general contractor whose subcontractors violate the Maryland Wage Payment and Collection law by allowing them to resolve the violation within a certain timeframe before the violation would proceed through the normal administrative process.
 
S.B. 991- APPRENTICESHIP AND TRAINING COUNCIL- JOURNEYWORKER-APPRENTICE RATIOS- ELECTRICAL CRAFT OR TRADE- ABC OPPOSED- THE BILL DIED AS THE COMMITTEE TOOK NO ACTION.   
The legislation would have circumvented the process for establishing ratios in the electrical trades which currently exist within the Maryland Apprenticeship Training Council. These types of decisions regarding ratios should remain the responsibility of the Council.
 
H.B. 1036- VEHICLE LAWS- COMMERCIAL MOTOR CARRIERS- SAFETY, MAINTENANCE, AND INSURANCE INFORMATION- ABC OPPOSED- BILL PASSED THE HOUSE BUT DIES IN THE SENATE JUDICIAL PROCEEDINGS COMMITTEE
The bill would have required employers of commercial motor vehicles to provide a prospective employee driver with (1) the U.S. Department of Transportation number of any vehicle currently owned by the employer and (2) the website addresses for the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s safety and fitness records system and Safety Measurement System. This is information that should be available upon request and not mandated by the state.
  
H.B. 583- STATE PROCUREMENT0 PAYMENT OF EMPLOYEE HEALTH CARE EXPENSES- REVISIONS- ABC OPPOSED (as drafted) – BILL PASSED WITH AMENDMENTS
As introduced, this bill removed the MBE exemption and imposed the same health care expenses requirement on contracts with The Maryland Stadium Authority and the University System of Maryland. 
 
H.B. 163- LABOR AND EMPLOYMENT- LABOR ORGANIZATIONS- RIGHT TO WORK- ABC SUPPORTED- BILL WAS DEFEATED IN COMMITTEE
The bill would have prohibited an employer from requiring, as a condition of employment or continued employment that an employee join or remain a member of a labor organization or pay charges to a labor organization.
 
COPIES OF THESE BILLS OR ANY OTHER BILL INTRODUCED DURING THE 2020 SESSION OF THE MARYLAND GENERAL ASSEMBLY CAN BE OBTAINED BY CONTACTING BOB ZINSMEISTER AT 301-595-9711 OR bzinsmeister@abcmetrowashington.org,
 
Because of the early adjournment, there is a possibility that the General Assembly may reconvene for a special session in May.  This will depend on the status of the COVID-19 pandemic.