Maryland Department of Labor Leads Successful Efforts to Protect Consumers, Provide Safety Net for Unemployed Marylanders, Combat Fraud


Maryland Labor Secretary applauds Governor O’Malley’s leadership and commitment to service during 2011 Legislative Session

BALTIMORE, MD (April 15, 2011) – The Maryland General Assembly, which adjourned Sine Die on Monday, passed important measures during the 2011 Legislative Session strengthening the state’s ability to protect consumers, provide a safety net for Marylanders impacted by the national economic downturn and combat fraud. The Maryland Department of Labor (DLLR) also worked closely with Governor O’Malley’s legislative office to save horseracing and keep the Preakness in Maryland.

“I commend Governor O’Malley and the Maryland General Assembly for a productive and collaborative session. While other states allowed partisan politics to delay progress and used political divisions to weaken consumer protections and safety nets for working families, Maryland’s elected leaders showed leadership and stood up for our families,” Labor Secretary Alexander M. Sanchez said. “I am proud of the DLLR legislative team for building on the success of past years and continuing our Department’s commitment to serving the people of Maryland.”

DLLR’s most notable successes include:

  • Unemployment Insurance – Federal Extended Benefits for the Long-Term Unemployed (SB882/HB1228): This legislation allows the State of Maryland to access $283 million in Federal funds for the long-term unemployed. As many as 70,000 Marylanders may benefit and nearly 40 other States are already participating.
  • Maryland Racing Commission – Distribution of Video Lottery Revenues (HB1039): This bill redirects certain revenue for operating expenses that would otherwise be used for capital improvements and purses for a limited period of time to allow standardbred and thoroughbred racing and breeding industries to evaluate and develop a long term plan that will sustain both industries in the future. The legislation also gives the Maryland Labor Secretary authority to mediate simulcasting agreements between the standardbred and thoroughbred industries.
  • Financial Regulation – Foreclosure Mediation (HB 728): This bill, originally introduced by Del. Doyle Niemann, improved existing law with the goal of making the foreclosure mediation process more accessible for homeowners facing foreclosure. It increases the time available for homeowners to opt into mediation from 15 to 25 days. The bill also gives the Commissioner of Financial Regulation authority to improve the process for homeowners through regulation. Through regulation, there is increased flexibility to make improvements to the process in order to reach more homeowners.

The DLLR Division of Labor and Industry successfully fought back legislative efforts that would have weakened the state’s prevailing wage and living wage laws and worked closely with legislators to pass legislation prohibiting employers from using a potential employee’s credit report as a basis to deny employment.

Governor O’Malley also included $1.13 million in the supplemental budget to fund over 900 summer jobs for young people in Baltimore City and $370,000 for the Civic Justice Corps that provides conservation service opportunities for young people in Maryland’s state parks.

DLLR oversees the O’Malley-Brown administration’s efforts to prevent foreclosure and protect homeowners from fraud; develop and train a dynamic and skilled workforce to compete in the new economy; enforce wage and safety laws that protect workers in the workplace; provide occupational and professional licensing to protect consumers against incompetent and unscrupulous practitioners; and provide a safety net for unemployed Marylanders while they find new work in a recovering economy.