JOTF: Job Opportunities Task Force
JOTF Legislative Wrap-Up / April 9, 2013

The Job Opportunities Task Force is pleased to bring you this final wrap-up of the 2013 state legislative session, which ended at midnight Monday. Outcomes for each piece of legislation tracked by JOTF during the 90-day session can be found below.  

For more information about the items discussed in this wrap-up, please contact Melissa Broome at 410-234-8046.

Legislative Wins: State Training Fund Signed into Law Today, Ban the Box" Headed to Governor's Desk!
 
Legislation to create a state job training fund was signed into law this morning by Governor Martin O'Malley.  The legislature approved a budget allocation of $4.5 million to create the EARN program.  Funding for EARN (Employment Advancement Right Now) will help create and support sector-based workforce partnerships between nonprofit organizations - including community colleges - and businesses to build training and educational programs geared toward the needs of employers.  This model is expected to provide support services to adults who are seeking to improve their skills in selected, growing business sectors that have a clear demand for workers. 

In addition to EARN, after four years of hard work, advocates succeeded in passing "Ban the Box" legislation for state job applications.  Maryland will now become the eighth state in the nation to remove the question regarding criminal history convictions from state job applications. 

Legislation that would have enabled
workers to earn a limited number of annual paid sick days from their employer failed in committee.  A bill to allow for the shielding of certain nonviolent misdemeanor convictions failed in the final hours of the session when the House and Senate were unable to reach compromise.  JOTF looks forward to returning to these important issues in the future.
 

Please see below for additional information on these and other bills tracked by JOTF during the 2013 state legislative session, or contact Melissa Broome for further details.

JOTF LEGISLATIVE PRIORITIES

PRIORITY SUMMARY OUTCOME RESOURCES

Earned Sick and Safe Time Act

HB 735
SB 698

 

Everyone gets sick and everyone deserves time to recover without risking their economic stability, yet 41 percent of American workers are unable to earn paid sick days.  In Maryland, more than 700,000 of our neighbors are forced to make impossible choices: Go to work sick, send an ill child to school or daycare, or stay home and sacrifice much-needed income or, worse, risk job loss.   Working Matters, a coalition of which JOTF is a founding member, will support legislation to guarantee employees the chance to earn a limited number of annual paid sick and safe days from their employer. 

This legislation failed after HB 735 received an unfavorable report from the Business Regulations subcommittee within Economic Matters. 

View our fact sheet and frequently asked questions.


Add your organization to our growing list of supporters.  Click here for a list of Working Matters members.

Sign our petition to become an individual supporter of the Maryland Campaign for Paid Sick Days.
 

Maryland Reporter: Mandated paid sick leave draws support, opposition

Maryland Reporter: Paid sick leave supported in poll, but businesses leery

Gazette: Maryland lawmakers pitch paid sick leave requirement

Baltimore Sun: Maryland paid sick-leave bill unveiled in Annapolis


The Today Show: Americans without sick days work through the flu
 

Criminal Record Shielding - Nonviolent Convictions

HB 1006
SB 701

Jobs are the key to our economic recovery, and the ability to secure a job is crucial to the successful reentry of those returning to society from prison. Research shows that recidivism risks are highest in the first 3-5 years following incarceration. Given that recidivism declines steadily over time, the proposed legislation would make certain nonviolent misdemeanor convictions eligible for shielding after a waiting period. Law enforcement will continue to have access to the shielded records.

HB 1006 passed the House with amendments with a vote of 99-38 and passed the Senate with amendments with a vote of 41-6.  Unfortunately, the bill failed in the final hours of session when the House and Senate were unable to reach compromise.   

 

Baltimore Sun: Bill would 'shield' misdemeanor convictions from public

Read JOTF's fact sheet.

Click here to see how 28 other states have policies in place to limit public access to certain prior criminal convictions.

Do you know someone whose criminal record has prevented them from securing employment? If so, please contact Caryn York at (443) 692-9424.

Economic Inclusion Plans - Construction Contracts

HB 1319
Every year, Maryland invests millions in procurement and infrastructure development contracts.  These investments help create and support thousands of jobs, and if spent right, have the potential to transform local communities and economies.  The proposed legislation would help Maryland build a stronger workforce development pipeline that connects disadvantaged workers directly to jobs by requiring the Board of Public Works to approve economic inclusion plans for certain state procurement contracts.  This legislation failed after receiving an unfavorable report from Health and Government Operations.  Contact Melissa Broome for additional information on how to get involved with future efforts in this area.

 

Fair Hiring Practices - State Job Applications

SB 4
The State of Maryland should encourage all qualified applicants, including those with a prior criminal conviction history, to apply for State employment.  The proposed legislation would remove the question from state job applications that asks applicants to check a box if they have ever been convicted a crime.  Removing the question from the application simply allows applicants to get a foot in the door and prove their qualifications rather than be automatically dismissed because of a box they checked at the beginning of the process.   Governor O'Malley is expected to sign this legislation into law. 

SB 4 passed the Senate with a 33-9 vote and the House with a 102-34 vote. 
Read JOTF's fact sheet

 
Casino Hiring - Criminal Records

HB  1053
SB 282
As expanded gambling gets underway in Maryland, it is important to ensure that Maryland residents have access to potential job opportunities within the planned gambling centers.  Currently, Maryland's gaming law prohibits the hiring of prospective employees convicted of any crime involving moral turpitude.  The proposed legislation seeks to amend the existing gaming statute by prohibiting Maryland's gaming commission from disqualifying a prospective employee based on a conviction of moral turpitude or gambling after a waiting period. Governor O'Malley signed this emergency piece of legislation into law today. 

HB 1053 passed the House with a
94-40 vote and passed the Senate unanimously.

SB 282 passed the Senate unanimously and the House with a 90-46 vote.

 
Baltimore Sun: Assembly passes bill to open casino jobs to some ex-offenders

Washington Post: Measure to open casino jobs to criminal offenders wins final passage in Md.

Contact Caryn York for additional information.
Maryland Employment Advancement Right Now (EARN) Program

HB 227
SB 278
 
Many low-income Marylanders and working families continue to face significant challenges in obtaining the skills and credentials that are necessary to secure stable employment and advance in the workplace.  This comes at a time when the State’s employers and economic growth industries continue to have an unmet need for skilled workers, which inhibits the economic growth of the State.  EARN will provide much-needed funding for job training, employment advancement, and sector strategy opportunities for low-income Marylanders.      Governor O'Malley signed this legislation into law today.  The final FY2014 budget allocates $4.5 million for the EARN program.

SB 278 passed the Senate unanimously and the House with a 115-23 vote

HB 227 passed the House with a 111-25 vote and the Senate unanimously.


 
Washington Post: O"Malley jobs bill is first to cross finish line in Maryland's 90-day session

Baltimore Sun: Assembly passes O'Malley's job training bill  

Baltimore Business Journal: Maryland jobs training program passes House, heads to O'Malley


JOTF Brochure: A Better Approach to Workforce Development in Maryland

Read JOTF's testimony.

Contact Melissa Broome for additional information.
GED Eligibility Requirements

SB 58

 
Given that the role of education is crucial to individuals earning family-sustaining wages, we must ensure that adult workers seeking to obtain additional credentialing are not discouraged by unnecessary, time consuming barriers.  The proposed legislation would remove the 3-month minimum State residency requirement for individuals seeking to obtain a high school diploma by examination in Maryland. Governor O'Malley is expected to sign this legislation into law. 

SB 58 passed the Senate and House unanimously.
Contact Caryn York for additional information.


JOTF WATCH LIST
 

BILL SUMMARY SPONSOR OUTCOME

Ex-Offender Business Development Program Study 

SB 356
HB 698

The proposed legislation would require DBED, DLLR, and the Division of Parole and Probation in DPSCS to jointly study the feasibility of establishing a business development program for ex-offenders that invests in businesses run by ex-offenders and provides business training for ex-offenders.
 

Senator Catherine Pugh 

Delegate Joseline Pena-Melnyk


 

Governor O'Malley is expected to sign this legislation into law. 

SB 356 passed the Senate unanimously and passed the House with a 120-16 vote. 

HB 698 passed the House with a 124-5 vote and passed the Senate unanimously.  

Baltimore County Revenue Authority - Member Qualifications -  Criminal Conviction Prohibition

HB 39

JOTF opposes this legislation, which would prohibit individuals with criminal records from serving on the Baltimore County Revenue Authority, and would allow for the removal of existing members with criminal records.  Last year, the EEOC confirmed the illegality of policies that unilaterally exclude prospective applicants based solely on arrest or conviction records - unless the offense is directly related to the job at hand.         
 

Delegate John Cluster

This legislation failed after never being brought up for a vote in House Environmental Matters.

Certificate of Rehabilitation - Criminal Procedure

HB 541
SB 571

The proposed legislation would enable the MD Parole Commission to issue certificates of rehabilitation to eligible offenders who have completed the terms of their supervision.  While JOTF appreciates the intent of this bill, we do not believe that, as drafted, it will effectively help individuals enter employment. 

Delegate Michael Hough

Senator Chris Shank 


 

HB 541 passed the House unanimously with amendments but failed after never being brought up for a vote in Senate Judicial Proceedings. 

SB 571 was heard on 3/7/13 in Judicial Proceedings but was never brought up for a vote.

Minimum Wage - Maryland Wage and Hour Law

SB 683

HB 1204

The proposed legislation seeks to increase Maryland's minimum wage from the current $7.25 an hour to $10.00 in three steps by 2015 and adjust it annually to rise with the cost of living thereafter.  The proposal would also increase the minimum wage for tipped workers.      

Senator Rob Garagiola

Delegate Aisha Braveboy




 

This legislation failed after SB 683 received an unfavorable report from Senate Finance. 



 

Maryland Secure Choice Retirement Savings Program

HB 1318

Nearly half of all working Americans do not have access to a retirement savings plan at work, and over half of the bottom 50 percent of wage earners have no retirement savings at all.  The proposed legislation seeks to enable low and middle-income workers to save for their retirement in a low-cost, safe investment vehicle that will provide an annuitized lifetime income stream to supplement Social Security when they retire.  HB 1318 would create a publicly administered retirement savings program for private-sector Maryland workers whose employers don't offer a retirement plan.

Delegate Tom Hucker




 

This legislation failed after being withdrawn by the sponsor.
 

Civil Action - Procedure After Arrest for Failure to Appear to Show Cause

HB 596
SB 419

 

The proposed legislation seeks to increase due process for consumers who have been detained because of alleged debt.  It would allow consumers arrested in debt cases to immediately fill out a form that describes their assets and then leave.  If enacted, the bill would help ensure that no one in Maryland - especially those living in poverty - be jailed because they can't post a bond related to a small debt.

Delegate Luke Clippinger

Senator Brian Frosh


 

Governor O'Malley is expected to sign this legislation into law.

HB 596 passed the House with a 137-1 vote and the Senate unanimously.

SB 419 passed the Senate unanimously and the House with a 131-1 vote

Click here for a fact sheet.


 

 

Vehicle Laws - Judgment Debtors - License and Registration Suspension - Modification

SB 293

Many adult workers need a license to access jobs, transport their families and manage household responsibilities.  The proposed legislation seeks to repeal the requirement for the MVA to suspend the vehicle registration of judgment debtors, allowing for the issuance of a restrictive license for certain employment related purposes.  SB 293 would allow judgment debtors the ability to continue payments by eradicating a policy that effectively cripples an adult worker's ability to earn an income.  

Senator Bobby Zirkin
 

SB 293 passed the Senate unanimously but failed in the House when it was never brought up for a vote in Judiciary.

Family Investment Program - Earned Income Disregard Pilot Program 

HB 884
SB 686

 

The proposed legislation would implement a pilot program to assist families moving from welfare to work.  When the head of family receiving Temporary Cash Assistance starts working, the family's benefit immediately decreases (and is often eliminated).  The pilot would gradually phase out their cash assistance and allow them to keep their child care assistance for the first few months of employment.   The pilot would be followed by a study to measure outcomes.

Delegate Sandy Rosenberg

Senator Rob Garagiola

 

Governor O'Malley is expected to sign this legislation into law. 

SB 686 passed the Senate unanimously and passed the House with a 126-13 vote. 


Click here for a fact sheet.

Refundable Earned Income Credit

HB 845
SB 703

 

In an effort to offset the effects of regressive tax policies on low- to moderate- income people, the proposed legislation would expand the Maryland Earned Income Credit from 25% to 30% of the Federal EIC.
 

Delegate Sheila Hixson

Senator Richard Madaleno

 

This legislation failed after never being brought up for a vote in House Ways and Means or Senate Budget and Taxation.

Maryland Automobile Insurance Fund - Installment Payments 

SB 930


 

The Maryland Auto Insurance Fund (MAIF) is the insurer of last resort for about 100.000 residents who cannot get insurance elsewhere.  By law, MAIF is not allowed to offer installment billing to its policyholders like other insurance companies do.  97% of MAIF's policyholders cannot pay their premium in full (typically about $1,750) and therefore are forced to turn to premium finance companies, which charge an interest rate of 25-30%.  The proposed legislation would enable MAIF to offer installment billing and therefore help policyholders avoid predatory lending practices.

Senator Catherine Pugh

 

Governor O"Malley is expected to sign this legislation into law.

SB 930 passed the Senate with a 38-8 vote and the House with a 137-2 vote.  

Premium Financing - Insurance

SB 735


 

This bill would raise the cost of car insurance for Maryland Automobile Insurance Fund (MAIF) customers by allowing premium finance companies to increase fees and calculate interest differently.  Because MAIF is not allowed to accept installment payments, 97% of policyholders must use premium finance companies.  JOTF opposes SB 735 because it increases the cost of insurance for those who can least afford it, thereby reducing mobility for struggling Marylanders.

Senator John Astle

 

This legislation failed after never being brought up for a vote in Senate Finance.

HOME Act of 2013

HB 603

SB 487




 

The Maryland HOME Act of 2013 would prohibit landlords from discriminating against persons seeking rental assistance based on their source of income.  "Source of income" means any lawful source of funds to be used in the rental of housing such as any public assistance or rental subsidies.

Delegate Steve Lafferty

Senator Jamie Raskin




 

SB 487 received a favorable with amendments report from Judicial Proceedings but failed after a motion was adopted on the Senate floor (23-22 vote) to recommit the bill to committee. 
 

Transportation Infrastructure Investment Act of 2013

HB 1515
SB 1054

 

The proposed legislation represents a consensus plan put forward by Governor O’Malley, President Miller, and Speaker Busch that will increase investment in the State’s transportation system by an average of $800 million a year once fully implemented.  The plan is estimated to support 44,000 jobs over 5 years, and will cut the gas tax by five cents, from 23.5 cents per gallon to 18.5 cents per gallon.         

This is a Governor's Administration bill.


 

Governor O'Malley is expected to sign this legislation into law.

HB 1515 passed the House with a 76-63 vote and the Senate with a 27-20 vote.

Click here for a fact sheet.

Department of Public Safety - Reinvestment of Savings to Prisoner Reentry Programs

HB 1350


 

The proposed legislation would require DPSCS to report to the Governor and the General Assembly, by August 1, 2013, on the savings it has achieved through the efficient use of resources and how a portion of the savings may be reinvested in proven prisoner reentry programs, as recommended by the final report of the Task Force on Prisoner Reentry.

Delegate Tony McConkey



 

HB 1350 passed the House unanimously but failed after never being brought up for a vote in Senate Budget and Taxation.

 

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