Mar 30, 2018

JOTF Weekly Policy Alert-March 30, 2018

(See JOTF’s 2018 Policy Agenda here)

Today marks the end of the twelfth 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.


Call Your Delegate and Urge them to Vote RED on
SB 122 “The Comprehensive Crime Bill of 2018” 

JOTF strongly opposes SB122, as it will increase incarceration through mandatory minimums and sentence enhancements. This crime bill does not address the needs of the State, poverty, or joblessness, but will drive unemployment by increasing the number of individuals who have a criminal record. Without expungement, correctional education or programming, or data to support these measures, SB 122 is not comprehensive. Call your delegate TODAY and urge them to vote RED on SB 122. To find your delegate, click here.

Call the House Judiciary Committee TODAY!

VOTE YES ON HB 1383 –  Maryland Record Expungement Designed to Enhance Employment (REDEEM) Act

HB 1383/SB1212 – The Maryland Record Expungement Designed to Enhance Employment (REDEEM) Act

One of JOTF’s priority bills needs your support. This piece of legislation works to expand expungement eligibility to ensure that individuals with certain criminal records have employment opportunities. This bill would automatically expunge non-convictions, provide clarification on the expungement eligibility of arrest warrants, and expand expungement for nonviolent misdemeanors and felonies.

The House Judiciary Committee is expected the vote on this bill soon. Committee members need to hear OUR voices in support of this important bill. PLEASE CONTACT COMMITTEE MEMBERS as many times as possible to urge a favorable report of HOUSE BILL 1383. Please see committee member contact information below:

Example phone/email script:
Hi Delegate ________. My name is _______ and I am calling to urge your support for HB 1383, which would expand expungement eligibility for nonconvictions, nonviolent misdemeanors and felonies, and arrest warrants. This bill would ensure that individuals who have served time, or in some cases were never even convicted of a crime, have equal access to stable employment. Please support HB 1383 for the future success and stability of all Marylanders.
Phone #
Email Address

Joseph Vallario
(410) 841-3488

Kathleen Dumais
(410) 841-3052

Curt Anderson
(410) 841-3291

Vanessa Atterbeary
(410) 841-3471

John Cluster
(410) 841-3526

Frank Conaway Jr.
(410) 841-3189

Paul Corderman
(410) 841-3125

Angela Gibson
(410) 841-3283

Glen Glass
(410) 841-3280

Trent Kittleman
(410) 841-3556

Jazz Lewis
(410) 841-3691
Michael Malone
(410) 841-3510

Susan McComas
(410) 841-3272

David Moon
(410) 841-3474

Dan Morhaim
(410) 841-3054

Neil Parrott
(410) 841-3636

Susie Proctor
(410) 841-3083

Pam Queen
(410) 841-3380

Deborah Rey
(410) 841-3227

Carlo Sanchez
(410) 841-3239

Charles Sydnor
(410) 841-3802

For more information on this legislation, please contact Caryn York, JOTF’s Executive Director,


Child Support -The Payment Incentive Program Act of 2018 (HB1554) 
JOTF supports which seeks to restructure the Child Support Enforcement Administration’s Payment Incentive Program (PIP) to provide more external outreach in counties that under utilize the program, grants participants a “grace period” due to unemployment or seasonal work schedules, and allows for the “grandfathering in” of payments made immediately before acceptance into the program.
Click here for fact sheet
HB 1554 passed in the House and is awaiting a vote from the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee

Higher Education – Educational Excellence Award Eligibility – High School Diploma by Examination(SB 842/HB 781)
JOTF supported this legislation, which restructures the eligibility requirements of the Howard P. Rawlings Guaranteed Access Grant (GAG) to allow non-traditional students, specifically those who secured their high school diploma via the GED test, to access GAG’s tuition assistance.
SB 842/HB 781 passed in both chambers
Click here for a fact sheet
Click here for a recent article on SB 842/HB 781 from the National Skills Coalition


The Maryland REDEEM (Record Expungement Designed to Enhance Employment Act) Act of 2018(SB 1212/HB 1383) 
JOTF supported this legislation as seeks to allow for the automatic expungement of non-convictions and clarifies the definition and expungement eligibility for dated, invalidated arrest warrants after a certain period of time. Additionally, it seeks to provide expungement eligibility for all nonviolent misdemeanor convictions after three (3) years, and certain nonviolent felonies after five (5) years.
Awaiting vote from the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee and the House Judiciary Committee
Click here for fact sheet

Labor and Employment – General Contractor Liability for Unpaid Wages (Contractors Payment Protection Act) (SB 853/HB 1539) 
JOTF supported this legislation which seeks to amend the current law to allow a general contractor in the construction industry to be jointly liable for any violations related to payroll fraud and wage theft committed by subcontractors. In doing so, low-wage workers will have an added layer of protection from wage theft which is an all too common occurrence in the construction industry.
SB 853 passed in the Senate 85-48 and HB 1539 passed in the House 87-53

Correctional Services – Inmates – Labor (HB 628) 
JOTF supported this bill which would request that information related to inmate job classification and the total number of inmates employed be provided by the Commissioner of Correction Annual Report and the Division of Correction Financial and Operational Report. The provision of this information would ensure the employment of our individuals exiting the prison system and would include a full profile of skills being attained while behind the wall.
Passed in the House 97-40 and is awaiting a vote from the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee

Career Preparation Expansion Act (SB 978/HB 1216) 
JOTF supported this legislation as it would increase access to apprenticeship programming by requiring the Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation (DLLR) to develop a mobile application geared to promote participation in apprenticeship and workforce programming.
SB 978 passed in the Senate 47-0 and HB 12126 is awaiting a vote from the House Economic Matters Committee

Earned Income Tax Credit – Individuals Without Qualifying Children – Alteration of Minimum Age Requirement (SB 647/HB 856) 
JOTF supported this legislation as it expands the eligbility for EITC to include individuals ages 18-24 and would increase the income threshold to $23,540 (200% of the federal poverty level). This legislation would make over 350,000 Marylanders newly eligible for the EITC, doubling its current impact.
Passed in the House and Senate unanimously

Occupational Licenses or Certificates – Application Determinations – Use of Criminal History (HB 1597) 
JOTF supported this legislation as it expands the eligbility for EITC to include individuals ages 18-24 and would increase the income threshold to $23,540 (200% of the federal poverty level). This legislation would make over 350,000 Marylanders newly eligible for the EITC, doubling its current impact.
HB 1597 passed in the House 105-31. Awaiting a vote from the Senate Education, Health, and Environment Committee

Career Youth and Public Sector Apprenticeship Act (SB 618/HB 1234) 
JOTF supported this legislation as it would allow for individuals to receive high school or higher education credit in exchange for successful completion of a work-based training or apprenticeship program.
Passed in the House and the Senate unanimously

Food Stamp Program – Time Limit Waiver – Prohibition (SB 513/HB1273) 
JOTF opposed this legislation as it would prohibit a waiver to be used to extend the length of time that able-bodied adults without dependents can use to access food stamp monies regardless of their income status.
Both SB 513 and HB 1273 received unfavorable committee reports

Delay/Amend Bills of the Maryland Healthy Working Families Act (HB779/HB1262/HB1314/HB 1364/HB1417/HB1421)
JOTF opposed all six bills that seek to delay or amend the Maryland Healthy Working Families Act (HB 1 of 2017). These bills would have restricted, delayed, or even removed access to earned sick and safe leave for workers across the state.
The six bills have received an unfavorable report from the House Economic Matters Committee


On behalf of the Job Opportunities Task Force (JOTF), Out for Justice, Inc  (OFJ), and partners, we would like to thank each and every one of you for attending our March on Annapolis for Jobs & Justice 2018! This year we brought nearly 250 individuals to Annapolis to meet with their constituents and urge legislator support on all things jobs and justice. This day also served as an important commemoration of Dr. Martin Luther King and his iconic speech, “I Have A Dream”, which was given during the “March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom” in 1963. The March on Annapolis for Jobs & Justice 2018 honored Dr. King’s legacy by connecting individuals to their elected officials, conducting phone banking on our key policy issues, and engaging in powerful Justice Dialogue discussions.

We look forward to marching with you next year!

*Legislation to watch next week in Annapolis*

Adult Correctional Institutions – Financial Literacy and Entrepreneurship Pilot Program (SB 237)
Hearing for SB 237 on Wednesday, April 4 at 1 p.m. in the House Economic Matters Committee
SUPPORT – JOTF supports this bill as it would require the Correctional Education Council to implement a financial literacy and entrepreneurship pilot program to be offered as part of transitional training for currently incarcerated individuals. This bill would enhance educational and employment opportunities for individuals with a criminal record to gain and sustain employment post-incarceration.

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