Today is Sine Die, the final day of the 2017 Legislative Session of the Maryland General Assembly. Today will be a sprint to finalize all legislation that will become law this session. Marylanders have a lot to be proud of this session already.
Earned Sick Leave Receives Final Approval - This past Wednesday the House of Delegates gave final approval on House Bill 1- the Maryland Healthy Working Families Act (Earned Sick Leave), a bill that would give 700,000 Marylanders access to sick days. The House voted 87-53, giving the bill veto-proof support. The bill is the result of five years of work on behalf of a broad coalition. As I told the Sun, "I think we have a very good product that has been the result of good negotiation...The burdens of illness should not be compounded by the problems of poverty."
The Senate passed the bill Monday, after amending it to decrease the number of paid days off from seven days to five. The Senate also changed the average number of hours an employee needs to work per week to qualify from eight to 12 and extended the minimum number of days on the payroll to be eligible from 90 to 106, a concession to employers who hire workers for seasonal jobs. At a press conference following the House vote, I encouraged the Governor to sign this legislation. However, should he choose to veto the bill the House and Senate will immediately work to override the bill at the start of next year's convening of the General Assembly. Maryland joins seven states, the District of Columbia, and Montgomery County, MD in requiring employers to offer paid time off.
House Democratic Caucus is Working for Marylanders - As Chairman of the House Democratic Caucus, the last two weeks have involved orchestrating in concert with the Senate bills to deliver to the Governor's desk before Sine Die to be able to override them before the end of this session. Here is an update on how the Governor responded to the priorities of Marylanders:
The Governor signed into law the Capital budget, HB 503 - a bill that would give City Schools and other jurisdictions with declining enrollment extra money each of the next three years, and the Ban on Fracking. However, he refused to sign several critical items on the agenda of Marylanders. Including the Planned Parenthood Protection Act and HB 514 the Codification of EmPOWER Mayland which I am proud to have cosponsored. These bills that were not signed will become law this year.
On Thursday we as a Democratic Caucus overrode HB 978 the Protect Our Schools Act. We are proud that Marylanders don't have to wait until next year for this critical legislation. Our office received an outpouring of calls and emails in support of this override. Again, thank you all for your continued advocacy.
In the News - Washington Post- Maryland Passes Sick Leave Bill with Enough Votes to Override Hogan Veto
Baltimore Sun - MD General Assembly Gives Final OK to Democrats' Sick Leave Bill
Push to the End - So far it has been an incredibly productive session. I'm excited to share all that we have been able to do so far and look forward to a strong finish at midnight tonight. Please reach out to share your thoughts or questions at firstname.lastname@example.org or 410-989-3876.