Ocean City Today

Senate sends House delay bill for paid sick legislation

By Greg Ellison | Feb 08, 2018

(Feb. 9, 2018) Legislation to delay enforcement of statewide mandated paid sick leave until April was amended last week by the Senate Finance Committee to push back its effective date to July, but with the original target date of Feb. 11 looming, time is running short for passage.

SB 304 was introduced two weeks ago by State Sen. Thomas Middleton (D-28) to allow small business operators sufficient time to become compliant with the Maryland Healthy Working Families Act.

After an initial hearing on Jan. 24, the Senate Finance Committee took up the measure and began discussing changes to address concerns from the business community.

After a long week of negotiations, Sen. Jim Mathias (D-38) and Sen. Kathy Klausmeier (D-8) hammered out an amendment late last Friday night, with the Finance Committee voting 11-0 to forward the bill to the full Senate for second reading.

“The good news is we got the thing passed on third reading, but we have more work to do,” Mathias said on Thursday afternoon following Senate approval.

After the Senate voted 29-17 in favor of the bill on third reading on Thursday, Mathias said the House would have a tight time table for passage.

The bill heads next to the House Economic Matters Committee, which would have but a scant few days to approve the bill before seeking Gov. Larry Hogan’s signature.

“The House has to act on it,” Mathias said.

If the delay compromise bill is not signed by Feb. 11, Mathias said, the Maryland Healthy Working Families Act would become law that day.

On Jan. 11, the House voted 88-52 to override Gov. Larry Hogan’s veto from last May of paid sick leave legislation, with the Senate following suit the next day by a 30-17 vote.

Due to concerns from seasonal business operators in Ocean City, Mathias said legislation was introduced to delay passage.

“We moved the delay later and allowed for a delay on full implementation rather than enforcement,” he said.

Mathias expressed gratitude for the opportunity to form a consensus that listened to employers, while also striving to provide protections for employees.

“Working across party lines, we heard the concerns of the business community to give them more time to implement this legislation,” he said. “This is the way the legislature is suppose to work.”

The Greater Ocean City Chamber of Commerce has scheduled a member’s seminar to review details of the paid sick leave law on Feb 22 at the Grand Hotel & Spa, 21st Street and Baltimore Avenue, from 2-4 p.m.

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