Sine Die and Highlights from the Legislative Session

Date: 
April 10, 2018

2018 Maryland General Assembly Legislative Session

“Wins” for MCCC Members

In the 2018 Legislative Session of the Maryland General Assembly, over 3,000 bills were introduced - a record number which is to be expected in an election year.

 

MCCC tracked hundreds of issues related to economic competitiveness, strategic investment in infrastructure, and shaping the market to create opportunities for our members. MCCC submitted testimony supporting or opposing over 70 pieces of legislation.

 

Here are some of the highlights for the session for the Montgomery County business community!

 

Huge and historic initiatives for economic development in the region

·      $167 Million in Dedicated Funding for Metro

Maryland, Virginia and DC worked in concert to secure the necessary $500 million to fund a safer and more reliable system. Maryland Metro Funding Act – SB 277

·      $8.5 Billion incentive package for Amazon HQ2

Part of the package includes the potential tax breaks over 10 years for Fortune 100 companies meeting certain requirements included in the PRIME Act Promoting ext-Raordinary Innovation in Maryland's Economy - SB 877

·      Continued funding for the National Center for Veterans Institute for Procurement

 

Other wins include

Economic Competitiveness

·      Tax credits to businesses with 50 employees or fewer to off-set recent mandates (Small Business Relief Tax Credit - SB 134)

·      Support for younger low-wage workers through the Expansion of the Earned Income Tax Credit (Earned Income Tax Credit - Individuals Without Qualifying Children - Repeal of Minimum Age Requirement - SB647)

·      Preservation of estate tax levels secured in 2014; prohibited a roll back.

 

Strategic Investment in Infrastructure

·      Reform of the selection of the Maryland representative to the Metro Board (Metro Board Member Act - HB 370/SB 279)

·      Additional funds for school facilities (Education – Healthy School Facility Fund – Established - SB 611)

 

Shaping the Marketplace

·      Expands incentives to investors and provides credits for qualified purchases of technology or services (Cybersecurity Incentive Tax Credits - SB 228)

·      Expands ability to pursue apprenticeships in high school (Career Youth Apprenticeship and Apprenticeship in State Employment Opportunity Act - HB 1234/SB 618 – with amendments)

 

A number of bills that MCCC opposed did not advance including:

·      Combined Reporting (Business Relief and Tax Fairness Act of 2018 - HB566/SB195)

·      Prohibitions on using multiple incentives (Economic Development Income Tax Credits - Multiple Claims – Prohibition - HB750)

·      Property Taxes on Open Space (Property Tax - Country Clubs and Golf Courses - Rate of Assessment and Term of Agreements - HB176)

·      Burdensome requirements for procurement requirements (Procurement - Telecommunication and Computer Network Access - Security Requirements and State Funds - Procurement of Services From Internet Service Providers – Restriction - SB287 and SB882)

 

Other items of note:

21st Century School Facilities Act (HB 1783)

This legislation garnered a lot of attention when Governor Hogan vetoed HB 1783 on April 4, and the General Assembly overrode his veto on April 5, 2018.

 

The bill incorporated a number of changes recommended by the Knott Commission, which was appointed by the House and Senate to review state school construction funding and project approval. As amended, the bill removes all authority to oversee school construction funding by the Board of Public Works, a three member panel that includes Governor Hogan, Comptroller Franchot and Treasurer Kopp.

 

HB 1783 makes comprehensive changes to public school construction funding and approval processes in the State, including altering the name, composition, and role of the Interagency Committee on School Construction, renamed the Interagency Commission; streamlining the State approval process for school construction projects; and providing at least $400 million for public school construction annually as soon as practicable, including $10 million for school safety improvements. The bill takes effect June 1, 2018.

 

The Maryland Safe to Learn Act of 2018 (SB 1265)

This bill creates a school safety sub-cabinet which includes the Superintendent of Education, Attorney General, Secretary of Health, State Police Superintendent and the Executive Director of the Interagency Committee on School Construction.  The sub-cabinet will be staffed by the existing Maryland Center for School Safety (MCSS). 

 

SB 1265 moves the MCSS from the State Police to the Department of Education.  The MCSS will be responsible for advising on all aspects of school safety.  The MCSS and MSDE will create a model for assessment teams that will identify problem students who threaten school safety and develop comprehensive best practices.  Each school system is required to designate a school safety coordinator who will be certified by the MCSS and who will implement a safety evaluation of every school.  The MCSS will assess the status of School Resource Officers (SROs) in each local system and make SRO recommendations tailored to each specific system.

 

The bill also authorizes MSDE to adopt the standards contained in the “Active Shooter Preparedness Program” developed by the Department of Homeland Security or the Maryland Active Assailant Work Group and requires each system to appoint a mental health coordinator.  Finally, the bill expands existing school safety fund administered by the MCSS from $500,000 to $2 million per year.

 

Issues of importance this session that will return.

 

Minimum Wage

SB 543 and HB 664 (Fight for Fifteen) would have phased in an increase in the State minimum wage to $15.00 per hour by fiscal 2024. While the bill had strong support in the House, there were never enough votes to pass the bill out of the Senate Finance Committee. However, anticipated changes in the legislative membership of the Senate and House makes passage of this proposal more realistic in 2019.

 

Election 2018

The 2018 elections will see new Senators and Delegates in almost each of the eight districts in Montgomery County. There are also major races throughout the state that will likely result in changes in important committee chairs and make up of both the Senate and House of Delegates.

 

For more information on Election 2018, visit the MCCC website.

MCCC Strategic Partners