JOTF Policy Update-Feb 16th, 2018
JOTF WEEKLY POLICY UPDATE
(See JOTF’s 2018 Policy Agenda here)
Today marks the end of the sixth week of the Maryland General Assembly’s 2018 Legislative Session. JOTF’s policy team is hard at work in Annapolis managing our legislative agenda and ensuring that our signature priorities are progressing through the legislative process. As we continue to aggressively advocate on behalf of low-wage workers and job seekers across our state, we want you to be aware of some key highlights from this past week.
If you would like to support our 2018 policy agenda, please contact our Policy Team for further information: Nikki Thompson, Senior Policy Advocate or Lee Domeika, Policy Advocate.
BILL TO DELAY EARNED SICK LEAVE DIES IN ECONOMIC MATTERS COMMITTEE (ECM)
Last session, the Maryland General Assembly passed the Maryland Healthy Working Families Act (MHWFA), but Governor Hogan subsequently vetoed the legislation. The Maryland General Assembly overrode his veto in the first week of the 2018 legislative session. Despite the override, members of the opposition went to great lengths to delay and limit the bill’s implementation. Yesterday, SB 304, the bill that sought to delay the implementation and accrual of earned sick and safe leave until July 1st, 2018,DIED in the House Economic Matters Committee (ECM). Please take a moment to contact members of the ECM Committee to thank them for their commitment to earned sick and safe leave for Maryland low-wage workers!
Hon. Dereck E. Davis (Chair)
Delegate Charles Barkley
Delegate Talmadge Branch
Delegate Benjamin Brooks
Delegate Luke Clippinger
Delegate Diana M. Fennell
Delegate C. William Frick
Delegate Cheryl D. Glenn
Delegate Benjamin F. Kramer
Delegate Kriselda Valderrama
Delegate Jeff Waldstreicher
Delegate C. T. Wilson
JOTF’S POLICY PRIORITIES
*The following JOTF 2018 policy priorities have been assigned bill numbers and hearing dates*
The Maryland REDEEM (Record Expungement Designed to Enhance Employment) Act of 2018
HB 1383 – Hearing scheduled for March 13 at 1 p.m. in the House Judiciary Committee
JOTF is working with partners to expand expungement eligibility to ensure that individuals with a criminal record have a fair chance at employment. JOTF and partners are focusing efforts on advancing the Maryland REDEEM Act which would:
Automatically expunge non-convictions
Provide clarification on expungement eligibility of arrest warrants
Expand expungement for nonviolent misdemeanors and felonies.
If you are interested in supporting this policy priority, please contact Nikki Thompson.
College Access and Affordability – Educational Excellence Award Eligibility
SB 842/HB 781 – House Hearing on February 22 at 1 p.m. in House Ways & Means; Senate Hearing on February 28 at 1 p.m. in Senate Education, Health, and Environment
JOTF supports this legislation that would provide eligibility for GED recipients access the Howard P. Rawlings Guaranteed Access Grant (GAG). The GAG is a need-based grant that covers up to 100% of tuition and fees for community college or a four-year university.
If you are interested in supporting this policy priority, please contact Lee Domeika.
Child Support Enforcement Reform – The Payment Incentive Program Expansion Act of 2018
HB1554 – Hearing scheduled for March 8 at 1 p.m. in the House Judiciary
The Payment Incentive Program Expansion Act will grant a six (6) month grace period for participants who have become unemployed, allow alternative payment schedules for seasonal workers, and will grandfather-in payments made immediately prior to acceptance; the legislation will also provide for online application submissions.
If you would you are interested in supporting this policy priority, please contact Nikki Thompson.
EYE ON ANNAPOLIS
*Bills that the JOTF Policy Team testified on this week*
SB 22/ HB 673 – JOTF supported this bill, which seeks to increase the amount of a low-wage worker’s wages that are exempt from wage garnishment, through testimony in both the House and Senate. If implemented, the bill would enable low-wage workers to keep more of their hard-earned income for necessities.
SB 304 – JOTF opposed SB 304 which sought to delay the Maryland Healthy Working Families Act (MHWFA) until July 1, 2018. SB 304 died in the Economic Matters (ECM) Committee on Thursday, February 15, 2018.
SB 484/HB 480 – JOTF supported this bill, which would eliminate the fees for pre-trial monitoring that often fall on pre-trial participants who are unable to afford the fees.
SB 513/HB 1273 – JOTF opposed this bill, which would eliminate the ability for able-bodied individuals to receive food stamps in 10 jurisdictions, including Baltimore City.
HB 656/HB 657 – JOTF supported both bills, which would prohibit insurance companies from using discriminatory non-driving factors including marital status, gender, education, and occupation to determine auto insurance rates, which commonly saddles low-wage workers with high premiums.
ON THE HORIZON
*Legislation to watch next week in Annapolis*
SB 517/HB1226 – Career Apprenticeship Investment Act
JOTF SUPPORT – Tuesday, February 20, 1 p.m. in the Senate Budget & Tax Committee and House Appropriations Committee
This bill aims to increase the amount of funding that the Governor is required to provide in the annual budget for the Maryland Higher Education Commission for Workforce Development Sequence Scholarships.
HB685 – Pretrial Release – Grace Period for Failure to Appear
JOTF SUPPORT – SIGNATURE PRIORITY – Tuesday, February 20 at 1 p.m. in the House Judiciary Committee.
This legislation will provide a seven (7) day grace period for individuals who miss a court date after being granted pretrial release.
SB 1050/HB 1081- Civil Actions – Body Attachment Procedures
JOTF SUPPORT – SIGNATURE PRIORITY – Wednesday, February 21 at 1 p.m. in the Senate Judicial Proceedings and House Judiciary Committee
This bill requires the Court to take an individual’s ability to pay into consideration when arrested for body attachments, and also requires that an individual be immediately released without additional conditions.
SB 586/HB203 – Higher Education – Senatorial and Delegate Scholarships – Reimbursement of Certificate and License Programs
JOTF SUPPORT – Thursday, February 22 at 1 p.m. in the House Way & Means Committee
This legislation will allow for Senatorial and Delegate Scholarships to be used on certificate and licensing programs in any Maryland higher education institutions.
THE CRIMINALIZATION OF POVERTY
During the first week of February, JOTF released its new report, a 104-page document that details how Maryland policies perpetuate the criminalization of its most vulnerable residents. The Criminalization of Poverty: How to break the cycle through policy reform in Maryland, found that Maryland is criminalizing poverty in numerous ways:
Law Enforcement Policies
The Cash Bail System
JOTF examines how these policies, and more, disparately impact the poor and people of color, creating a vicious cycle of poverty that has been criminalized through Maryland’s current laws. For more information on the report, please contact JOTF’s Executive Director, Caryn York .