April 10th marked the end of the 445th session of the Maryland General Assembly. A new legislature and new Administration brought challenges and opportunities for our members. Both Senate and House committees returned to in-person hearings as Annapolis saw a return to pre-pandemic levels of activity.
NFIB engaged on numerous bills this legislative session. Several issues from years past returned as separate bills. Labor and insurance bills impacting all small businesses were introduced. And organized labor continued their push towards minimizing merit shop opportunities. NFIB member engagement on these issues was critical to the outcome and disposition of these bills.
NFIB was actively involved with the priority legislation listed below. For more information on these or other items please contact NFIB State Director of Mike O’Halloran.
- SB555 – Fair Wage Act of 2023 – PASSED AS AMENDED
- Governor Moore’s #1 legislative priority
- Accelerates minimum wage to $15 for ALL employers (regardless of size) by January 1, 2024
- Stripped CPI attachment for future increases and pushed acceleration back from 10/1/23 to 1/1/24
- SB828 – FMLI Modifications – PASSED AS AMENDED
- Technical bill to create FMLI program after framework legislation was passed last year
- Major provisions:
- 2% cap on percentage of employee wages deducted from paycheck
- Payroll tax is split 50/50 between employees and employers
- Employers with <15 employees are NOT required to contribute employer portion
- Dept. of Labor runs program – applications, determinations, appeals, etc.
- Contributions begin 10/1/24; benefit payments begin 1/1/26
- 12 weeks with option for additional 12 under specified circumstances
- HB724/SB670 – Unemployment Insurance Modernization Act – FAILED
- Increases employee benefits and employer taxable wages; generally increases income disregard and dependent allowance
- Beginning 1/1/25, UI table rates cannot shift more than two tables from the immediately preceding year
- HB349/SB345 – Maryland Fair Scheduling Act – FAILED
- Applies to restaurants and retailers – including franchise operations – with at least 10 establishments nationwide
- Generally requires employer to pay employees a minimum number of hours per shift if employee reports to work but is required to work fewer hours than scheduled
- Employee has the right to decline work hours during the 11 hours following the end of a shift; if employee agrees then then they must be paid time and a half
- HB1256/SB803 – Payment of Minimum Wage – Tipped Employees – FAILED
- Phases out state’s tip credit by July 1, 2027
- HB551/SB547 – Office of Statewide Broadband – Study of Broadband Expansion Incentives – HB551 PASSED AS AMENDED
- As introduced, would have exempted broadband equipment from state sales tax
- As passed, state agencies must now conduct a study to make recommendations for broadband incentives