JOTF: Job Opportunities Task Force
JOTF Weekly Public Policy Update / January 22, 2010

The Job Opportunities Task Force is pleased to bring you this week's public policy update of the 2010 state legislative session. These weekly updates provide information on legislation, budgets, and other state policy activities that impact working families in Maryland.

Click here to view JOTF’s 2010 Policy Agenda. For more information about the items discussed in this update, please contact Melissa Broome at 410-234-8046.

Hearings Next Week on Unemployment Insurance Modernization 

Are you available to submit written or oral testimony in support of modernizing Maryland's unemployment insurance system so that more out-of-work residents will be eligible for benefits during these tough economic times?  Please contact Melissa Broome at (410) 234-8046 for more information.  

Read JOTF's Fact Sheet on Unemployment Insurance Modernization  



Unemployment Insurance Modernization -  Alternative Base Period

SB 107
HB 91

In Maryland, a worker's most recent earnings are not taken into account when determining unemployment insurance eligibility and benefits.  This is especially damaging in times of recession when so many residents have been laid off, desperately need assistance and are denied solely because the state ignores recent data.  By adopting the alternative base period and including workers most recent earnings, more Marylanders will qualify for benefits.

SB 107 hearing 1/26/10 at 3pm in Senate Finance.

HB 91 hearing 1/28/10 at 10:30am in House Economic Matters.

Submit written or oral testimony for the hearings.  Contact Melissa Broome at (410) 234-8046 for additional details.

Read JOTF's fact sheet on unemployment insurance modernization.

Read JOTF's report: Unemployment Insurance: Rescuing Maryland Workers and Buoying Local Business

Parole Fees

Persons on parole in Maryland are billed $40 per month for their supervision.  The fee is largely uncollectible since most parolees are in dire financial situations.  The imposition of the fee is out of line with Maryland's committment toward policies that protect the public by promoting successful reentry of parolees.  The proposed legislation would transfer the authority to grant fee exepemtions from the Parole Commission to the Department of Parole and Probation.   

Awaiting bill introduction.

Read JOTF's fact sheet on parole fees.

Credit Checks - Limiting Use by Employers

SB 110
HB 175

About 43% of employers use credit history checks as a tool in their pre-employment screening, even if the information has no relation to the job.  In these trying economic times, many Marylanders are experiencing financial hardship, which negatively impacts their credit.  The proposed legislation would limit employers' use of credit checks in hiring.
Awaiting hearing dates.Do you know someone who has experienced difficulty securing employment due to poor credit?  If so, please contact Melissa Broome at (410) 234-8046.

Read JOTF's fact sheet on credit checks.
Ban the Box
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.
Awaiting bill introduction.Read JOTF's fact sheet on banning the box.




Earned Income Credit Information Act

The proposed legislation would require employers to notify employees who may be eligible for Maryland's Earned Income Tax Credit. 

Awaiting bill introduction.



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