4/14/2015 – JOTF Policy Wrap Up
Dear <<First Name>>,
With a new governor and major turnover in both the Senate and House of Delegates, we knew 2015 would present both change and challenge in Annapolis. As the legislative session closed Monday night, we simultaneously felt a strong sense of accomplishment and a yearning to do more.
After four years before the General Assembly, we were elated when the Maryland Second Chance Act cleared both chambers late in the evening Monday. By shielding certain nonviolent, misdemeanor convictions from public view, this legislation will open the door to housing and employment for more than 200,000 Marylanders. Gov. Larry Hogan has already offered his support for the measure and is expected to sign it into law.
We are also excited to announce that legislation repealing a law that prevented the expungement of a record if a person is convicted of a subsequent crime also passed the General Assembly mere minutes before the session came to a close at midnight. Similar legislation has been introduced multiple times over the past decade but has never succeeded.
Unfortunately though, and despite support from nearly 100 lawmakers, the Maryland Healthy Working Families Act, another JOTF top priority, did not advance this year. Support for this effort, which would bring paid sick days to hundreds of thousands of Marylanders, has grown tremendously in recent years as voters and political leaders have recognized the everyday realities facing working families.
Last week, JOTF and our partners in the Working Matters coalition, received a joint chairmen’s letter directing us to convene with opponents during the legislative interim. While disappointing, this instruction from legislative leadership is a clear sign they understand the magnitude of this issue and will be ready to give it serious consideration in 2016.
Your support is what made this year’s progress possible. We are grateful and look forward to putting our combined energy into next year’s priorities.
Check out the chart below for a complete update on our 2015 priorities.
The JOTF Policy Team
JOTF Legislative Priorities
|Healthy Working Families Act
|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. The Working Matters Coalition, of which JOTF is a founding member, supports legislation that would enable workers to earn a limited number of annual paid sick and safe days from their employer.
|Lawmakers announced they will not vote on the Healthy Working Families Act in 2015.||Fact SheetWorking
Matters CoalitionFor more information or
to provide support, contact
Chance Act of 2015HB 244
|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 with the filing a petition after a waiting period.
Law enforcement will continue to have access to the shielded records.
to sign this
into law. HB 244 was amended and passed the House by a vote of 81-56 and passed
the Senate unanimously. SB 526 passed the
was amended and passed by the House.
|Fact SheetFor more
|Criminal Records Expungement –
Non-Convictions HB 304
|Employers often refuse to hire applicants with criminal records, even if the person was never convicted. Maryland law prohibits the expungement of non-convictions if a person is subsequently convicted of any crime, no matter how minor.JOTF believes that Marylanders should not be penalized for offenses for which they were never convicted. JOTF supports legislation that would repeal the subsequent conviction rule.||This legislation is headed to the
governor’s desk. HB 304 passed theHouse by a vote of 95-45.
An amended version of the bill passed the Senate by a vote of 44-3. As amended, SB 652 passed the Senate by a vote of 33-14 and passed the House by a
vote of 88-49. Variations between the House and Senate versions were resolved in conference committee.
|Fact SheetFor more information or
to provide support, contact
Expungement of Court and Police Records —
Acquittal or Dismissal HB 904
|Maryland’s existing laws require a formal petition process and fee to expunge eligible criminal records. This process is cumbersome and presents significant barriers for job seekers.This bill would authorize the automatic expungement of court and police records related to charges that result in a dismissal or acquittal.||As amended,
HB 904 passed the
House of Delegates
unanimously but failed to receive a vote in the Senate Judicial Proceedings
|“Expungement should be automatic” video|
and Rating – ProhibitionsSB 749
|Mobility is a important for working families, yet the insurance industry practices of setting rates based on factors unrelated to driving performance mean certain Marylanders pay more for insurance than others.SB 749 would prevent auto insurers from using factors including credit history, education, martial status and occupation to set insurance rates.||SB 749 failed
to receive a
*During the 2015 state legislative session, JOTF will also closely monitor the budget process and be prepared to act should harmful cuts arise in the areas of post-secondary access, adult education, and workforce development.
JOTF Legislative Watch List
Bills featured in the watch list are tracked by our policy experts, but their appearance here does not necessarily indicate JOTF support.
|Maryland Secure Choice Retirement
and TrustHB 421
|This legislation would create a statewide system to provide retirement savings opportunities to low and middle-income
workers. It will prevent hardworking people from falling into poverty later in life.
|HB 421 failed to receive a vote in the House Economic Matters Committee.SB 312 failed to receive a vote in the Senate Budget and Taxation Committee.|
|Limits on Use of Leave for Birth,
Placement or Care
of ChildHB 564
|This bill would enable state employees and their spouses who also work for the state to each take 12 weeks of leave, under the Family Medical Leave Act, for the birth or adoption of a child or to care for a family member with a serious health condition. It would also allow state employees and their state-employed spouses to each use up to 30 paid sick days.Current law combines and limits the amount of leave couples can take when they both work for the state. FMLA is currently limited to 12 weeks per couple and sick days are capped at 40 days.||Del. Kelly||This legislation
is headed to the governor’s desk. HB 564 passed the House unanimously.
It was amended and passed the Senate by
a vote of 42-4.
The House accepted the Senate version of the bill, which now moves to the governor.
Conviction of a
Crime that is No Longer a CrimeSB 651
|This legislation would allow a person
to petition for expungement of criminal
records for crimes that are no longer considered illegal.
|Sen. MuseDel. Anderson||This legislation is headed to the governor’s deskSB 651 passed the Senate with a vote of 41-6 and passed the House with a vote of 91-47.
HB 124 passed the
|Commercial Law –
Consumer Protection –
Websites HB 744
|This legislation would establish procedures for people to request the removal of a mug shot from websites if charges or court record associated with the image have been shielded, expunged or otherwise kept from public access.||Del. Carter||This legislation is headed to the governor’s desk.HB 744 passed the House unanimously and received unanimous support from the Senate.|
|This legislation will help ensure workers receive adequate time to plan for their work and family lives by requiring employers to provide workers with at least three weeks advance written notice
of their schedule. It also guarantees
employees will only be required to work the hours on their schedule and mandates that schedule changes must be made 24 hours in advance with written notice and employee consent.
|Sen. BensonDel. Hixson||SB 688 was withdrawn. HB 969 was withdrawn.|
|Overwork Prohibition Act
|This legislation protects Maryland workers from employer retaliation, including termination or discipline, for declining to work more than 55 hours a week or to work outside of their regularly scheduled shift. The bill also provides for daily overtime (time and a half pay) for more than eight hours of work in a day.||Del. Glenn||HB 1027 was withdrawn.|
|Low-Income Student Outreach and College
Access Act of
|The bill would establish the Low-Income Student Outreach and College Access Pilot Program, which would encourage low-income high school graduates to attend, and graduate from, college.||Sen. Rosapepe Del. Washington||This legislation
is headed to the governor’s desk.As amended, SB 816
passed the Senate unanimously and passed
the House by a vote of 134-3.As amended, HB 779 was passed the House by a vote of 131 -5 and
passed the Senate unanimously.
College Tuition Exemption for
Full-Time StudentsHB 673
|This legislation seeks to reduce barriers
to higher education by exempting Maryland high school graduates from paying tuition at the state’s community colleges.
|Del. Haynes||HB 673 failed to receive a vote in the House Ways and Means Committee.|
Community College –
Public High Schools
|SB 131 would exempt eligible Baltimore City public high school graduates from tuition payments at Baltimore City Community College.||Sen. Gladden||SB 131 failed to receive a
vote in the Senate Budget and Taxation
Pay It Forward
|This legislation would require the University System of Maryland Board of Regents study the creation of Pay It Forward tuition programs which create payment plans based on a percentage of a graduate’s salary after graduation.JOTF believes this model may ultimately make college less affordable for low-income populations who currently rely on financial aid.||Del. Reznik
|HB 57 was withdrawn. SB 237 failed to receive a vote in the Senate Budget and Taxation
Door Pilot ProgramHB 66
|This legislation will establish a program
to ensure low-income Marylanders
have access to services to sustain themselves and their families.It aims to close gaps in services, increase access to state resources, provide more access for under-served populations and foster better coordination between public
and private service providers.
|HB 66 failed to receive a
vote in the House
& Hour Law –
Wage – IncreaseHB 4
|The legislation would increase the state minimum wage to $10.10 hour beginning July 1, 2015.||Del. Glenn||HB 4 received an unfavorable report (18 – 2) from the House Economic Matters Committee.|
Wage Rate –
Nonprofit OrganizationsSB 3
|This bill would authorize nonprofit organizations that provide social services and have a budget less than $250,000 to pay 85 percent of the state minimum wage.||Sen. Getty||SB 3 was not considered by the Senate Finance
|Criminal Procedure – Shielding –
Misdemeanor ConvictionsSB 130
|This legislation would allow Marylanders to request that certain court and police records
for certain misdemeanor convictions be shielded from the public record.
|Sen. Gladden||SB 130 received an unfavorable report (9-1)
from the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee
|Criminal Procedure – Expungement – Misdemeanor
& Felony ConvictionsSB 16
|The proposed legislation would expand the crimes eligible for expungement to include certain misdemeanors and nonviolent felonies. Applicable crimes
could be expunged after seven and 12 years, respectively.
|Sen. Conway||SB 16 received an unfavorable report (9 -2) from the Senate
|Equal Pay for Equal Work
|This bill would prohibit employers from providing “less-favorable” working opportunities based on a worker’s sex or
gender identity. The measure also would
prevent an employer from taking action
against a worker for disclosure or discussion of wages.
|SB 424 failed to receive a vote in the Senate
Finance Committee.HB 1051 was withdrawn.
|Fiscal Notes –
|The bill would require future legislation
to include a criminal justice policy impact
statement if it creates a criminal offense, significantly alters the elements of an existing offense, alters existing penalties or changes sentencing, parole or probation procedures.
|SB 478 failed to receive a vote in the Senate Rules CommitteeHB 678 failed to receive a vote in the House Rules and Executive
|Prevailing Wage –
Payment for Apprenticeship Programs HB 370
|This legislation would require contractors and subcontractors with public work
contracts to pay the full cost of apprenticeship programs for each apprentice that works on the contract.
|HB 370 received
an unfavorable report (13-8-1) in the House Economic Matters
Committee. SB 777 received an unfavorable report (11-0) in the Senate Finance
|Task Force to Study the
Expansion of Career and
Technical Education in
|This bill would create a task force to study the possibility of expanding Career and Technical education in Maryland.||Sen. Currie||SB 624 passed the Senate unanimously,
but failed to receive a vote in the House Ways and Means Committee.
|Justice Reinvestment Coordinating
|The legislation would establish a council that will develop statewide strategies to increase public safety and reduce recidivism.||Sen. Miller
|This legislation is headed to the governor’s desk. SB 602 passed the Senate unanimously and passed the House by a vote of 126-10.HB 388 passed the House by a vote of 118-20 and passed the Senate unanimously.|