Though the 2018 General Assembly hasn’t started yet, this is the time of year for task forces and interim study reviews. We’re staying involved in a number of discussions, including one that’s top-of-mind in other parts of the country: family and medical leave insurance.
Family medical leave insurance
Maryland’s task force on the issue recently met and amended its draft report. The biggest takeaway is that the task force recommends a shared employer-employee contribution. If you took our
mandated employee benefits survey
already, you’ll recall that this was one of our questions. Of those who responded so far, a third said they would support this model; however, more than half said they would not support a paid family leave insurance plan under any circumstance. Our position is that the current approach creates another tax on business, establishes another government-run program that could be better-run by the private sector, and takes away employers’ and employees’ abilities to choose which benefits and insurance are right for them.
Ban on polystyrene
The House Environment and Transportation Committee hosted a meeting on the interim study of the proposed ban on polystyrene in food service and certain shipping materials, to get more feedback from stakeholders. One key question here revolved around why the ban is exclusive to polystyrene and does not include other nonrecyclable materials, like Starbucks cups. We opposed the polystyrene ban in the 2017 session because of the increased cost to business. The bill died in committee last year, but we expect some version of it to be reintroduced in 2018.
Forest Conservation Act
We are also keeping watch on the interim study of the Forest Conservation Act. The study evaluated a 2017 bill we opposed, and which died in committee. It would have increased the required reforestation ratio for any tree removal, and increased the fees in lieu of reforestation. Maryland already has a zero- deforestation policy, ensuring no net loss of living trees. The 2017 bill was proposed because the existing regulation does not specify reforesting density; in other words, there is no requirement to replace dense concentrations with dense concentrations. But opponents of the new bill say the existing regulation accomplishes the stated goal. Maryland has no net deforestation, and therefore no further reforestation requirement is needed.
What’s happening in Illinois that could matter in Maryland?
It’s easy to be isolated in our own state, but other states’ legislative initiatives could help us see our own future.
Take a look at what we learned
at the Chambers of Commerce Government Affairs Conference.
The 2018 session is less than two months away. If we can help you advocate for your business,
tell us how.