Governor O’Malley Signs Bills to Help Maryland Families and Workers


BALTIMORE (April 14, 2009) – Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation Secretary Thomas E. Perez today applauded Governor Martin O’Malley’s signing of new laws that will benefit both current and future workers in Maryland and help the state continue its efforts to combat the foreclosure crisis.

Among the bills signed at today’s bill signing ceremony in Annapolis were a bill to extend unemployment benefits to part time workers and a bill to make sure Maryland meets federal mandates for mortgage originator licensing.

“Governor O’Malley’s leadership was instrumental this year in securing the passage of critical new laws that recognize the contributions made by Maryland workers and aim to help workers and their families make it through these distressing times and prepare them for the future,” Secretary Perez said.

Previously, Maryland workers could only access unemployment benefits if they were seeking full time work. However, this outdated rule failed to account for the realities of the modern workforce, in which nearly 15 percent of Maryland workers work part time. The new emergency law signed today will ensure that those Marylanders who are unable to work full time because of family, medical or other obligations can still access the critical safety net that unemployment insurance provides to take care of their families, particularly during times of economic distress.

Another bill signed into law today adopts federal requirements created by the Secure and Fair Enforcement for Mortgage Licensing Act of 2008, or the SAFE Act. This law builds on the progress Maryland made last year in setting stricter standards for mortgage industry licensing. The bill requires the licensing of all mortgage originators through the Nationwide Mortgage Licensing System, and will allow Maryland’s Commissioner of Financial Regulation to share information with other states. This information will be vital in improving Maryland’s enforcement efforts and enhancing consumer protection.

“The national recession has impacted all of us, but despite the necessary belt-tightening this year, the General Assembly was able to move Maryland forward and to pass critical new laws that protect Maryland families and workers,” Secretary Perez said.