JOTF tracks workforce development legislation in the Maryland State Senate and Maryland House of Delegates. We also provide written and verbal testimony on a variety of local, state, and national legislative and budget issues.
Unemployment Insurance for Part-Time Workers
Maryland’s economy could not function without the state’s nearly 500,000 part-time workers. Although taxes are paid on these workers wages, they are ineligible to receive benefits if they lose their job. The proposed legislation would make part-time workers eligible if they meet other criteria.
SB 270 passed the Senate with a 36-11 vote.
HB 310 passed the House with a 94-43 vote.
Unemployment Insurance - Benefit Increase
SB 576 passed the Senate with a 36-11 vote.
HB 740 passed the House with a 96-39 vote.
Flexible Leave Act - Language Clarification
The Flexible Leave Act, which passed during Maryland's 2008 legislative session, gives workers the right to use their accrued paid leave for the care of a child, parent or spouse. The proposed legislation makes technical clarifications and defines certain terms found in the 2008 bill.
SB 562 passed the Senate with a 44-0 vote and will be heard in House Economic Matters on 3/31/09.
Released Inmates - Identification Cards
One of the most significant barriers faced by the 15,000 inmates released from incarceration in Maryland each year is their lack of government recognized identification. Without official ID, ex-offenders are unable to complete job applications, apply for housing, receive medication, open a bank account or cash a check. The proposed legislation would facilitate the process of inmates applying for Maryland State ID upon their release from prison.
SB 186 passed the Senate with a 32-15 vote and will be heard in House Judiciary on 3/31/09.
Ex-Offenders - Certificates of Employability
In Maryland, nearly 60 occupations list a license, certification, or registration as a prerequisite to employment. Some of these licensing methods automatically bar an individual from receiving a license if they have a past conviction. The proposed legislation would enable ex-offenders to earn certificates of relief from disabilities, which would serve as evidence that they are rehabilitated and therefore able to apply for the license. The individual would still be required to list their complete conviction history on employment applications, and employers would still be legally permitted to refuse employment if the conviction is job-related.
HB 635 passed the House with a 138-0 vote and will be heard in Senate Judicial Proceedings on 4/7/09.
Post-Secondary Education - Part-Time Grant Program Eligibility
The Part-Time Grant Program is Maryland's primary need-based program for non-traditional students. With awards of up to $1,500 per academic year, it can help close the gap for working adults, but students must be taking between 6 and 11 credits. The proposed legislation would expand the defiintion of part-time to include students taking between 3 and 11 credits.
HB 948 passed the House with a 134-0 vote and will be heard in Senate Education, Health, and Environmental Affairs on 4/8/09.