Governor Hogan Vetoes Maryland Sick Leave Mandate

Submitted by Shannon Gahs, Associate Director, MD Government Affairs (GAO)

As was widely expected, Governor Larry Hogan vetoed a controversial bill passed by the legislature during the session that ended on April 10, calling it bad for business. The bill would have mandated that all employers with more than 15 employees provide paid sick leave to most employees. Because the bill passed with a large majority of votes, we expect that the legislature will override the veto at the beginning of the 2018 session in January, with the law going into effect the following autumn. BAYADA supports paid sick leave for office and field employees, having a similar benefits plan already in place.

Maryland’s 2017 Legislative Session Now Closed

Submitted by Shannon Gahs, Associate Director, MD Government Affairs (GAO)

Wrapping up on April 10, the General Assembly considered 2,876 bills and resolutions over the 90-day session.  Of those, 940 bills and resolutions passed.   I am preparing a full session report but, of note, the bill containing our offices’ ability to accept orders from physicians in neighboring states passed and will become law as soon as Governor Larry Hogan signs it.  The budget passed nearly two weeks before it was due, including a 2% increase in Medicaid home health care reimbursement rate.  A bill mandating paid sick leave statewide passed but is expected to be vetoed.  Finally, three separate efforts to increase the minimum wage to $15 – statewide, in Baltimore City, and in Montgomery County – all failed.  Now the work to prepare for next session begins.

Statewide Mandate For Paid Sick Leave Continues To Be Negotiated in Maryland

Submitted by Shannon Gahs, Associate Director, MD Government Affairs (GAO)

Several years in the making, a bill that would require employers offer paid sick leave continues to be negotiated within the state legislature.  The House and Senate have passed different versions of the bill, carving out certain types of employees and offering different amounts of sick time per year.  Representatives and Senators now must negotiate a version that can be passed identically through both chambers before any regulation will be put in place.  Many business and industry groups, including the Maryland-National Capital Homecare Association, have advocated against this legislation.

Maryland Ambassadors Meet With Legislators And Key Staffers On Business Issues

Submitted by Shannon Gahs, Associate Director, MD Government Affairs (GAO)

Five ambassadors and I went to Annapolis on Wednesday to discuss business issues that could have a big impact on our practice. Increasing the minimum wage and mandating paid sick leave are hotly debated issues in this session. Baltimore, MD West Home Health (BWV) Area Director David Pareja, Maryland state resident and Delaware Pediatrics (DP) Associate Director Mandy Brady, Harford County Home Health (HFV) Marketing Manager Nicole Matricciani, Baltimore, MD (BAL) assistive care Associate Director Matt Paske, and DP Intern Tiffany Francis met with 18 legislators and key staffers on these issues and others, protecting our practice and building our reputation with our legislators.

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BAYADA staff in Annapolis

Debates Heating Up In Baltimore City, MD

Submitted by Shannon Gahs, Associate Director, MD Government Affairs (GAO)

Debate over mandating employer-paid sick leave statewide and an increased minimum wage for Baltimore City is heating up this week.  Both are expected to pass.  By the end of last week, the Maryland Senate and the House both reached their thousandth bill introduced since the 2017 session opened in mid-January.  Bills must be fully approved by both chambers before the last day of session, which is April 10 this year, or start anew in the following year in the state’s condensed legislative calendar.

Maryland Legislative Session Opens

Submitted by Shannon Gahs, Associate Director, MD Government Affairs (GAO)

An intense 90-day legislative session opened January 11 with Governor Larry Hogan pledging to operate in a spirit of bipartisan cooperation, as did Senate President Mike Miller.  Speaker of the House Michael Busch did not, promising instead to press forward with a Democratic agenda.  Mandatory paid sick leave and addressing a huge budget shortfall are expected to be the biggest topics of 2017.