Feb 23, 2018

JOTF Policy Update-Feb 23rd, 2018

(See JOTF’s 2018 Policy Agenda here)

Today marks the end of the seventh 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.


Educational Excellence Award Eligibility (SB 842/HB 781) 
Click here for fact sheet
Senate Hearing – February 28 at 1 p.m. in Education, Health, and Environment
House Hearing –  March 8 at 1 p.m. in Ways & Means

The Payment Incentive Program Expansion Act of 2018 (HB1554)
Click here for fact sheet
House Hearing –  March 8 at 1 p.m. in Judiciary

The Maryland REDEEM (Record Expungement Designed to Enhance Employment)
Act of 2018 (HB 1383) 
Click here for fact sheet
House Hearing – March 13 at 1 p.m. in Judiciary

If you are interested in submitting written testimony in support of any of our policy priorities, please contactLee Domeika.  Click here for tips of how to draft written testimony.

On Tuesday, March 27th, 2018, the Job Opportunities Task Force (JOTF), Out for Justice, Inc. (OFJ) and partners will once again descend on Annapolis for our annual lobby day! Please save the date!

Buses will leave from various locations in Baltimore City, as well as Baltimore, Montgomery and Prince George’s Counties. Once in Annapolis, we will march to and rally in front of the Maryland State House to urge support for policies that seek to eliminate educational and employment barriers and increase access to JOBS and JUSTICE for all Marylanders. Attendees can also expect to meet with legislators, engage in informational #JusticeDialogues, and participate in committee hearings. Breakfast and lunch will be provided!
If you plan to attend, please RSVP by emailing Lee Domeika or Nicole Hanson

*Bills that the JOTF Policy Team testified on this week*
SB 517/HB1226 – Career Apprenticeship Investment Act
JOTF supported this bill, which 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.

SB 586/HB203 – Higher Education – Senatorial and Delegate Scholarships – Reimbursement of Certificate and License Programs
JOTF supported this legislation, which would allow for Senatorial and Delegate Scholarships to be used on certificate and licensing programs in any Maryland higher education institutions.

SB 1050/HB 1081 – Civil Actions – Body Attachment Procedures  
JOTF supported this bill, which 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.

HB545  – Landlord-Tenant Action – Body Attachment – Prohibition (Jared Kushner Act)
JOTF supported this bill, which would eliminate the use of body attachments to collect debt owed in small claims court.

HB614 – Hospitals – Changes in Status – Hospital Employee Retraining and Placement
JOTF supported this bill, which provides funding for the retraining and placement of displaced hospital and healthcare workers.

*Legislation to watch next week in Annapolis*
HB1109 – State Government – Discrimination in Employment – Pregnancy and Childbirth
JOTF SUPPORT – Tuesday, February 27 at 1 p.m. in the House Economic Matters Committee
This bill would require reasonable accommodations for pregnant workers and prohibits employers from denying employment opportunities to pregnant workers.

HB 941 – Child Care Subsidy Program – Unemployment – Eligibility
JOTF SUPPORT – Tuesday, February 27 at 1 p.m. in the House Appropriations Committee
This legislation will allow unemployed individuals to continue to receive the child care subsidy for 90 days, if the individual can show proof of seeking employment.

HB1597 –  Occupational Licenses or Certificates – Application Determinations – Use of Criminal History 
JOTF SUPPORT –   Tuesday, February 27 at 1 p.m. in the House Judiciary Committee
This bill prohibits the denial of occupational licenses or certificates based on an applicant’s criminal history if five (5) years have passed since the conviction.

SB1141/HB1203 – Maryland Education Opportunity Act of 2018
JOTF SUPPORT – Tuesday, February 27 at 1 p.m. in the House Appropriations Committee
This bill would provide a 50% discount on tuition to individuals who have been unemployed for at least six (6) months, and are without a high school diploma or GED.

HB1514 – Baltimore City and Baltimore County – Low-Cost Automobile Insurance Program
JOTF SUPPORT – Thursday, March 1 at 1 p.m. in the House Economic Matters Committee
This bill would create a low-cost auto insurance program for residents of Baltimore City and Baltimore County.


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:
Debtors’ Prisons
Law Enforcement Policies
The Cash Bail System
Limited Expungement
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 .

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