Legislative Update

The following legislation has been introduced in the Maryland legislature.  The chart is current through the morning of March 9.  Status of several pieces of legislation receiving committee reports are indicated in caps.  The descriptions are meant to be brief.  Please reference the legislation for details.

Bill (House-HB, Senate-SB)

Brief Description

HB4

State Minimum Wage.  Proposes to do away with “phase in” of the increased Minimum Wage from last year.

HB15

UNFAVORABLE REPORT-Chesapeake Bay Bridge Toll Collection.  Requires electronic payment to cross the Bay Bridge except for a single cash lane.

HB22

Privacy of Education Records-Places limits on the disclosure of student information.

HB24

Allowance of Funeral Expenses-Increases the amount of funeral expenses that can be claimed as an estate administration expense.

HB41

Immunities – Associations, Organizations, and Charities – Liability of Agents and Volunteers.  Limits legal exposure of organizations and volunteers and agents connected with them.

HB 42

Fair Employment Preservation Act of 2015-Holds employers liable for discriminatory acts in the workplace, seeking to address recent U.S. Supreme Court decisions which apparently favored employers.

HB 99

Income Tax Subtraction Modification – Retirement Income of Law Enforcement, Correctional Officer, Fire, Rescue, and Emergency Services Personnel (Hometown Heroes).  Provides a subtraction from Maryland income in computing income tax of the first $10,000 in retirement income for eligible law enforcement, fire and first responders.

HB 165

Family Law – Grounds for Limited Divorce.  Changes the grounds for a limited divorce (partial divorce) relating to separation by no longer requiring that the separation be voluntary and without any hope of reconciliation.  Separation would be sufficient.  An absolute divorce (final divorce) may still be granted based on 12 months of separation.

HB 177

Income Tax – Subtraction Modification – Military Retirement Income – Individuals at Least 65 Years Old.  Raises the subtraction from Maryland income for tax purposes from $5000 to $10000.

HB 230

Health Insurance – Assignment of Benefits and Reimbursement of Nonpreferred Providers – Repeal of Termination Date-Allows the Assignment of Benefits and Reimbursement of Non-preferred providers to continue under existing law without repeal.

HB 244

Maryland Second Chance Act of 2015-Authorizing a person to petition the court to shield court records and police records relating to shieldable convictions no earlier than 3 years after the person satisfies the sentence imposed for all convictions.

HB 281

FAVORABLE REPORT WITH AMENDMENTS-Estates and Trusts – Elective Share-Changes how the “net estate” of a surviving spouse is calculated should he or she take an “elective share”.

HB 345

Labor and Employment – Flexible Leave – Use of Leave for Family Illness

Prohibits an employer from taking disciplinary or retaliatory action against an employee because the employee has requested leave with pay due to an illness of a member of the employee’s immediate family. Additionally, the bill voids any agreement between an employer and an employee to waive provisions relating to leave with pay due to an illness of a member of the employee’s immediate family.

HB 351

Corporations and Associations – Limited Liability Companies – Company Representative-Requiring a limited liability company to have a company representative.

HB 464

Handgun Permits – Reciprocity-A permit to carry a handgun, including a concealed handgun, issued to an individual by another state is valid in Maryland.

HB 651

UNFAVORABLE REPORT-Personal Property Reports – Exemption and Affidavit-Exempting a person who does not own or did not own during the preceding calendar year property that is subject to property tax from filing a specified annual report on personal property to the State Department of Assessments and Taxation subject to the filing of an affidavit.

HB 703

FAVORABLE WITH AMENDMENTS-Estates and Trusts – Maryland Trust Act – Incapacity- Defining “incapacitated” and “incapacity” for purposes of the Maryland Trust Act; and clarifying that a revocable trust does not become irrevocable if the settlor loses the capacity to create a will.

HB 730

Maryland Estate Tax – Unified Credit-Sets the Maryland Unified Credit at $1.5 million.

HB 767

Public Safety – Permit to Carry, Wear, or Transport a Handgun – Qualifications-Clarifying that self-defense can qualify as a good and substantial reason to wear, carry, or transport a handgun for purposes of the issuance by the Secretary of State Police of a permit to carry, wear, or transport a handgun.

HB 946

Labor and Employment – Noncompete and Conflict of Interest Clauses-Providing that specified noncompete and conflict of interest provisions that restrict the ability of an employee to enter into employment with a new employer in the same or similar business or trade are null and void as being against the public policy of the State.

HB 969

Labor and Employment – Fair Scheduling Act-Requiring an employer to provide employees with a work schedules and “predictability pay”.

HB 1007

Real Property – Condominiums and Homeowners Associations – Disclosures to Purchasers on Resale of Unit or Lot – Limitation on Fees-Limits the amount which may be charged for document copies required to be given a purchaser under law.

HB 1027

Labor and Employment – Overwork Prohibition Act-Requiring an employer to pay an employee overtime and limiting the amount of hours an employee may be requested to work.

HB 1028

Business Occupations and Professions – Real Estate Salespersons and Brokers – Formation of Business Entities and Payment of Commissions-Authorizing licensed real estate salespersons and licensed associate real estate brokers, with the consent of a specified licensed real estate broker, to form any type of business entity, not just a professional corporation or limited liability company and authorizes payment of compensation for the provision of real estate brokerage services to the business entity.

HB1066

Labor and Employment – Nondisclosure Agreements – Prohibition-Prohibiting employers from including a nondisclosure agreement in employment contracts, requiring an employee to enter into a nondisclosure agreement, or establishing an expectation with an employee that a confidential relationship exists with respect to the employer’s proprietary information.

SB6

Credit for Long Term Care Insurance Premiums-Altering a limitation on claiming the income tax credit for eligible long-term care insurance premiums 

SB 23

UNFAVORABLE REPORT Estates-Statement of Compensation and Reporting of Income-Requires a Register of Wills to provide a statement to an estate’s personal representative as to the compensation allowed to him or her and requires its reporting to the tax authorities.

SB40

Labor and Employment – Maryland Healthy Working Families Act.  Requires employers to provide “sick and safe leave”, paid and unpaid, to employees.

SB44

Maximum Speed Limit on Highways.  Increases the allowable speed limit from 65 mph to 70 mph on interstate highways in Maryland.  (The maximum speed limit would be set by the Maryland Department of Transportation.  The Bill raises the statutory maximum allowable from 65 to 70 mph.)

SB 98

UNFAVORABLE REPORT Vehicle Laws – Operation of Vehicle When Approaching a Service Vehicle.  Requires motorists to change lanes or slow down when approaching a roadside “service vehicle” (i.e. tow truck) which is displaying warning lights.

SB 101

UNFAVORABLE REPORT Maryland Uniform Real Property Transfer–on–Death (TOD) Act.  Permits a deed to be recorded that allows property (such as a house) to pass from the property owner to beneficiaries without the need for a will.  A living owner could sell or otherwise deal with the property while alive.

SB 123

Baltimore County – Public High Schools – Adoption of School Schedule.  Permits a Baltimore County school to adopt its own school schedule.

SB 338

Medical Records – Authorization to Disclose – Person in Interest-

Altering the definition of “person in interest” as it relates to the disclosure of confidential medical records to include the spouse, parent, or child of a deceased person; and requiring a person in interest to include an affidavit with an authorization for the disclosure of specified medical records.

SB 420

Estates – Modified Administration – Payment of Funeral Expenses Without Court Approval-Providing that an allowance by the court for a personal representative to pay funeral expenses is not required if the estate is solvent, under modified administration, and the personal representative includes the expenses on a final report.

SB 424

Labor and Employment – Equal Pay for Equal Work-Prohibits discrimination in the workplace based on gender identity.

SB 425

Labor and Employment – Wage Disclosure and Discussion Protection-

Prohibiting an employer from taking any adverse employment action against an employee concerning an inquiry about or disclosure or discussion of an employee’s wages; authorizing an employer, in a specified policy, to establish specified limitations on specified inquiries about or discussions or disclosures of wages; providing that, under specified circumstances, the failure of an employee to adhere to specified limitations shall be an affirmative defense against specified claims.

SB 457

Liability Insurance – Reservation of Rights for Failure to Cooperate – Prohibition-Prohibiting an insurer from disclaiming coverage under a policy of liability insurance on the ground that the insured or a specified person has breached the policy by failing to cooperate with the insurer or by not giving the insurer required notice.

SB 649

Real Property – Contract for Sale of New Home-An initial contract of sale for a new home must state that the contract is contingent on the buyer obtaining financing and state a maximum rate of interest.  The requirement may not be waived.

SB 698

UNFAVORABLE REPORT Property Tax – Valuation of Real Property – Internet Database-Assessment worksheets and cards would replace real property records now maintained on the SDAT website.

SB 784

Labor and Employment – Discrimination Based on Engagement in Lawful Activities – Prohibition-Prohibits discriminating against an applicant or employee on the basis of the applicant’s or employee’s engagement in a lawful activity off the employer’s premises during nonworking hours