2009 End of Session Report


Download the report (Word document, 57KB, download Word viewer for free)

May 13, 2009

On April 13th, the Maryland General Assembly completed its work for the 2009 legislative session. Lawmakers considered more than 2,600 bills and passed 799. DLLR had an extremely successful session, and saw the passage of several bills that were priorities for Governor O'Malley. Among those were the Workplace Fraud Act of 2009, which cracks down on employers who misclassify employees as independent contractors, and a bill to extend unemployment benefits to part time workers, a critical measure when so many Marylanders are struggling to make ends meet. This report is a synopsis of those and other legislative issues of importance to the Department.


Operating Budget

The General Assembly passed a $32.3 billion budget bill for Fiscal Year 2010, which includes $2.5 billion in federal stimulus funds for FY 2009 and FY 2010. The Department's $193.8 million budget request for FY 2010 remained largely intact.

Budget Highlights

  • In the Unemployment and Appeals divisions, a total of 60 federally funded positions were added to assist with the large increases in case loads due to current unemployment rates.
  • The budget authorized the transfer of the adult and correctional education programs from MSDE to DLLR, effective July 1, 2009. This authorization will add 183.5 positions and a budget of $34.3M to DLLR's newly named Division of Workforce Development and Adult Learning.
  • The budget also added 8.5 new positions in FY2010 for the adult and correctional education program. It also included $200,000 for moving costs associated with transferring the programs.

Administration Bills

SB 909 - Workplace Fraud Act of 2009
The new law makes it a violation of law to fail to properly classify workers as employees, and it imposes penalties on those employers who knowingly misclassify their workers. Effective October 1, 2009.

HB 310 / SB 270 - Unemployment Insurance - Eligibility - Part Time Work
This emergency Administration bill allows individuals who are available to work only part time work to collect unemployment benefits. The bill recognizes the realities of the modern workforce, in which approximately 15 percent of workers work part time. Effective April 15, 2009.

HB 292 / SB 269 - Financial Institutions - Mortgage Lenders and Mortgage Loan Originators (SAFE Act Compliance)
This bill revises the State's mortgage lender and mortgage loan originator laws to conform to the requirements of the federal Secure and Fair Enforcement Mortgage Licensing Act of 2008 (SAFE Act). The bill alters the licensing requirements, initial license terms, and renewal license terms for mortgage lenders and mortgage loan originators; requires licensees to submit certain information to the Nationwide Multistate Licensing System and Registry (NMLSR); increases civil penalties; and permits the Commissioner of Financial Regulation to issue interim mortgage loan originator licenses. Effective July 1, 2009.

Departmental Bills

Financial Regulation
HB 1555 - Financial Institutions - Enhanced Supervision - Branch Banking
This departmental bill (1) allows an out-of-state bank to open a de novo branch in Maryland only if that bank's home state has reciprocal laws; (2) creates an expedited application process for the establishment of a bank branch; (3) authorizes the Commissioner of Financial Regulation to issue civil penalties against banks and credit unions under specified circumstances; and (4) permits the commissioner to close a public hearing regarding the assessment of civil penalties in extraordinary circumstances. Effective July 1, 2009.

Labor and Industry
SB 82 - Inflatable Amusement Attractions - Inspections
This departmental bill exempts "inflatable amusement attractions" from mandatory inspection before beginning operation at a new location. Instead, under the bill, inflatable amusement attractions are subject to annual inspection. Effective October 1, 2009.

Workforce Development
HB 1526 - Workforce Development - Maryland Workforce Corporation
This bill establishes the Maryland Workforce Corporation (MWC), an entity designed to obtain public and private resources to be used as a vehicle to coordinate and administer workforce development programs. The MWC will act as a resource for new and emerging workforce issues, and evaluate effectiveness as well as provide grants and contract with training providers. Effective July 1, 2009.

Unemployment Insurance
HB 1453 - Unemployment Insurance - Exemption from Covered Employment - Home Workers
This departmental bill exempts work performed by a home worker from unemployment insurance coverage as long as certain conditions are met. The Secretary of Labor, Licensing, and Regulation must be satisfied that the work is (1) performed according to specifications furnished by the person for whom the services are performed; (2) the work is performed on textiles furnished by the person for whom the services are provided; and (3) the textiles must be returned to the person for whom the services are performed or that person's designee. The bill applies to unemployment contribution rates and benefit charges beginning January 1, 2010. Contributions paid and benefit charges collected before January 1, 2010, are not subject to refund. Effective October 1, 2009.

Occupational and Professional Licensing
HB 1450 - State Board of Cosmetologists - Executive Director
This departmental bill repeals the requirement that the executive director of the State Board of Cosmetologists be a licensed senior cosmetologist or a master barber. It also eliminates the statutory requirement that the executive director be responsible for the day-to-day operations of the board. Effective October 1, 2009.

HB 1452 - Waiver of Examination Requirements - BRAC - Stationary Engineers, Plumbers, Gas Fitters, and Heating, Ventilation, Air-Conditioning, and Refrigeration Contractors
This departmental bill exempts individuals licensed as stationary engineers; plumbers; gas fitters; and heating, ventilation, air-conditioning and refrigeration (HVACR) contractors in specified jurisdictions outside the State from the State's licensing examinations in those trades, if these individuals have relocated to the State because of a family member's reassignment due to the Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) process. The request for a waiver must be made before July 1, 2012. Effective October 1, 2009.

SB 204 - State Board of Public Accountancy - Required Peer Reviews
This departmental bill modifies governing standards and procedures for peer reviews in the State for licensees and firms performing certified public accountancy services. The changes reflect revised standards adopted by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA). Effective June 1, 2009.

Bills of Interest

Workforce Development
SB 762 - Department of Labor, Licensing, and Regulation - Workforce Development and Adult Learning - Administration
This bill clarifies the transition of the adult education, literacy services, and correctional education programs from the Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) to the Department of Labor, Licensing, and Regulation (DLLR). This bill implements a number of recommendations of the Workforce Creation and Adult Education Transition Council, a statutorily established body that was put in place to ensure the seamless transition of the adult education, literacy services and correctional education programs from MSDE to DLLR. Effective July 1, 2009.

Financial Regulation
HB 776 - Real Property - Foreclosure of Mortgages and Deeds of Trust on Residential Property - Notice to Occupants
This emergency bill requires notices of foreclosure to be sent to all occupants of a residential property (1) when a foreclosure action is filed; (2) no earlier than 30 days and no later than 10 days prior to the foreclosure sale; and (3) a final notice after the entry of a judgment awarding possession of the property and before any attempt to execute the writ of possession. Effective immediately.

Occupational and Professional Licensing
HB 1440 - State Board of Public Accountancy - Reinstatement Fee for Expired Firm Permits
This bill allows the State Board of Public Accountancy to charge firms a reinstatement fee of about $100 if a firm allows their permits to lapse, but are otherwise entitled to be permitted. Effective June 1, 2009.

SB 597 - Secondhand Precious Metal Object Dealers and Pawnbrokers - Electronic Reporting
This bill requires secondhand precious metal object dealers to electronically submit all required transaction information to law enforcement by repealing the authorization to deliver or mail required records. The bill may not be construed to require these dealers to purchase additional software or pay a transaction fee to submit records. The Governor's Office of Crime Control and Prevention (GOCCP), in consultation with the Department of Labor, Licensing, and Regulation (DLLR) and local law enforcement units, must report by December 1, 2009, to specified legislative committees on the licensing and reporting requirements for sale of secondhand items in Maryland. Effective October 1, 2009.

HB 370/SB 507 - Maryland Locksmiths Act
This bill requires persons providing locksmith services to be licensed by July 1, 2010; establishes application and licensing procedures (including criminal background checks and photo identification); sets forth the authority of the Secretary of Labor, Licensing, and Regulation in administering the bill and adopting and enforcing regulations; establishes violations related to the provision of locksmith services for licensed and non-licensed individuals and establishes civil and criminal penalties; and requires the Secretary to report to specified committees of the General Assembly assessing the appropriateness of competency-based credentials for licensed locksmiths and the nature and number of complaints regarding locksmiths. Effective October 1, 2009.

Unemployment Insurance
HB 740/ SB 576 - Unemployment Insurance - Maximum Benefit - Increase
This bill alters the unemployment insurance schedule of benefits to increase the maximum allowed weekly benefit amount from $380 to $410 for claims establishing a new benefit year on or after October 4, 2009. For claims establishing a new benefit year on or after October 3, 2010, the maximum weekly benefit is then increased from $410 to $430. Effective October 1, 2009.

SB 470 - Unemployment Insurance - Recreational Sports Officials - Coverage
This bill exempts officiating services performed by recreational sports officials from unemployment insurance coverage. Recreational sports officials include individuals who contract to perform officiating services at sporting events sponsored by a county government, municipal government, or government-affiliated entity. A recreational sports official does not include any individual who performs officiating services for a charitable or governmental organization and is considered covered for purposes of unemployment insurance. Effective June 1, 2009.

SB 123 - Unemployment Insurance Benefits - Determination Based on Severance or Dismissal Payments
This bill expands the severance and dismissal payments that are deductible from unemployment insurance benefits. The bill specifies that all severance and dismissal payments are deductible from unemployment insurance benefits, regardless of whether the unemployment is a result of job abolition. Effective June 1, 2009.

SB 1072 - Pimlico and Laurel Park Racetracks, Bowie Race Course Training Center, and Preakness Stakes - State Purchase or Condemnation
This emergency Administration bill authorizes the State to acquire by purchase or condemnation, for public use and with just compensation, private property relating to Pimlico Race Course, Laurel Park Race Course, the Bowie Race Course Training Center, and other tangible and intangible property related to the Preakness Stakes. Effective immediately.

Labor and Industry
SB 264 - State Employees - Collective Bargaining - Negotiations - "The Fair Share Act"
This Administration bill authorizes the State to collectively bargain with the exclusive representative of a bargaining unit for service fees from State employees who are not members of that exclusive representative. Thus, employees who are in a bargaining unit but are not members of any employee organization must pay the service fee if a fee is successfully negotiated. Likewise, under the bill, employees who are dues-paying members of an employee organization that is not the exclusive representative must also pay any negotiated service fee. The bill specifies that service fees may not be bargained for in negotiations between an employee organization and a University System of Maryland institution, Morgan State University, St. Mary's College of Maryland, or Baltimore City Community College. Effective July 1, 2009.

HB 1422/SB 991 - Business Occupations - Crane Operators - Certificate of Competence
This bill specifies that a person may not operate a crane or authorize operation of a crane in the State for the purposes of construction or demolition work unless the operator holds a certificate of competence. The Commissioner of Labor and Industry must adopt regulations to implement, administer, and enforce the provisions of the bill. Effective October 1, 2009.

HB 644 - Procurement - Apprenticeship Training Programs
This bill creates the State Apprenticeship Training Fund and requires contractors and some subcontractors on public works contracts that are subject to the prevailing wage law to either participate in an apprenticeship training program, make payments to a registered apprenticeship program or to an organization that operates a registered program, or contribute to the fund. Effective October 1, 2009.

HB 613 - Public Safety - Elevators - Inspections
This bill requires that certain elevator safety inspections be conducted by State inspectors and that elevator owners hire third-party inspectors for annual inspections. The bill also establishes specific adjudication procedures and penalty provisions for violations of elevator safety standards separate from penalties for occupational, safety, and health violations. Effective July 1, 2009.

Task Forces, Commissions and Interim Studies

HB 637 - Task Force on Prisoner Reentry
This emergency bill establishes a Task Force on Prisoner Reentry. The Secretary of Public Safety and Correctional Services, or the Secretary's designee, must chair the task force and provide staff support for the task force from the department. DLLR's Secretary and a member of the Governor's Workforce Investment Board serve as ex officio members of the task force. An interim report to the Governor and the General Assembly is required by December 31, 2010 and a final report of findings and recommendations is required by December 31, 2011. The bill terminates June 30, 2012. Effective immediately.

SB 140 - Task Force to Study How to Improve Financial Literacy in the State - Membership, Staffing, and Extension
This bill increases the membership of the Task Force to Study How to Improve Financial Literacy in the State and provides for additional staffing of the task force. The bill further extends the task force's reporting date to December 1, 2009, and its termination date to June 30, 2010. Effective June 1, 2009.