Maryland 2015 Session Review

Date: September 02, 2015

Related Content: Issues State Maryland

The 2015 Maryland General
Assembly legislative session wrapped up at midnight on Monday April 13. Under
the leadership of Governor Larry Hogan, it was a much better year for the small
business community in Annapolis.  Below you can learn more about the outcome of
the key pieces of legislation that NFIB worked on during the 2015 session:

Passed:

Rain
Tax
SB
588

Outcome:
Passed, waiting on the Governor’s Signature

Position: Supported

Summary: 
The bill will repeal
state-mandated stromwater fees, but still requires that local officials prove
that they can pay to meet the federal requirements of the Clean Water
Act.  Counties will need to report a five-year projection of costs
and revenues, including specifying funding sources, for permit compliance to
the Maryland Department of the Environment. This means that nine counties and Baltimore City will still
have the option to charge the rain tax.

Stop
Loss Self-Funding Insurance

HB
552

Outcome:
Passed, waiting on Governor’s Signature

Position: Opposed

Summary:
This bill makes fundamental changes to the Maryland law regulating stop-loss
insurance by changing the point at which stop-loss insurance takes over from
$10,000 to $22,500, in the event that an employee’s health expenses are far
higher than anticipated. As a result self-insurance will be more expensive and
is now a less attractive option for Maryland small businesses. The bill also
increases the aggregated attachment from the current 115% of expected claims to
120% which increases potential liability for small employers who wish to use a
stop-loss insurance policy

2.5 Year Fracking
Ban
HB 449

Outcome:
Passed, waiting on Governor’s Signature

Position: Opposed

Summary:
The General Assembly passed legislation that forbids drilling wells until
October 2017, and also requires Maryland to enact regulations to monitor
fracking. The original draft of this bill called for an eight-year ban, but was
diluted resulting in a veto-proof majority vote.  At the time of print,
the governor’s position on the bill is unknown, but NFIB is encouraging a veto.

Supported:

Gas Tax Relief – SB 589 / HB 483

Outcome:
Dead

Position: Supported

Summary:
backed by Governor Hogan, the “Motorist Tax Relief” bill would repeal
a requirement that gas tax rates be adjusted in future years based on growth in
the Consumer Price Index (CPI).

Opposed:

Mandated Paid
Leave
SB
40
/ HB
385

Outcome: Delayed until next year

Position: Opposed

Summary:
House and Senate leadership announced that legislation that would mandate businesses
provide paid leave to employees will not pass this session. Instead leadership
is encouraging groups on both sides of the fight to work out difference during
the summer. Mandatory paid leave legislation would require employers with 10 or
more employees to provide one hour of paid leave for every 30 hours worked,
among other things. It’s almost guaranteed based on leadership’s statement that
there will be a push to pass some form of mandated paid leave next session. We
encourage members to continue to contact your legislators about this issue.
Summer is a great time to schedule a meeting with your elected representatives,
while they are home in the district. 

“Fair
Scheduling”
HB
969
/ SB
688

Outcome:
Died in Committee

Position: Opposed

Summary:
would put restrictions on how employers handle scheduling employees by
requiring a scheduled notice 21 days in advance and charging employers to pay
employees for changes to the schedule if they occur within those 21 days, plus
additional tedious requirements.  Learn more and

“Equal
pay for equal work”
HB
1051
/ SB
424

Outcome:
Unfavorable Report

Position: Opposed

Summary:
would impose enormous burdens and risks on employers; devalue important factors
in establishing wages, such as training, education, and skill; and expand
litigation opportunities for plaintiffs’ lawyers seeking millions of dollars
from employers without even having to prove that a business intentionally
discriminated against women.

Fracking
Liability
SB
458

Outcome: 
Dead

Position: Opposed

Summary:
would establish some of the harshest liability standards for fracking in the
country.  

Ag
Sales Tax Exemption
HB
928

Outcome:
Died in Committee

Position: Opposed

Summary:
would repeal the tax exemption that exists in current law for the purchase of
inputs for farm operations. 

Chicken
Tax
HB
886
/SB
533

Outcome:
Unfavorable Report

Position: Opposed

Summary:
would create a five cent tax on every chicken grown in Maryland.  If
passed, Maryland would be the only state that charges a tax on chickens.

Tanning
Ban
HB 56 / SB
152
 

Outcome:
Unfavorable Report

Position: Opposed

Summary:
would have banned all minors under 18 years old from using tanning devices.

Food
Allergy Awareness
HB
751

Outcome:
Unfavorable Report

Position: Opposed

Summary:
would have impacted all restaurants or food-related business that provides seating
for customers. It’s expected that a harsher version of this legislation
will reappear during the 2016 session.

Baltimore
City Minimum Wage Hike
HB
4

Outcome:
Unfavorable Report

Position: Opposed

Summary:
originally a state-wide bill amended and passed by the Baltimore City
delegation would have gradually raised Baltimore City’s minimum wage to $11.50
per hour by Oct. 1, 2017.  A majority of the Baltimore City delegation
supported raising the minimum wage, and may try to push this next year.

Thank
you to everyone who has contacted their legislators, written testimony and/or
testified in Annapolis. Legislators value your input on these bills and your
correspondence does make a difference, so please keep up the good work next
session.  If you would like additional information on these bills or would
like to become involved in our efforts, please contact Miranda Bond miranda.bond@nfib.org.

 

Related Content: Issues | State | Maryland

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