2019 Maryland Legislative Session

April 15, 2019

The 2019 Maryland Legislative Session was exciting! With your help showing up to vote, knocking on doors, and contributing to our PAC, Maryland was able to elect a wave of younger, more progressive lawmakers. And as you’ll see below, many of those lawmakers passed bills that will help create real change for working families.

We’re excited to share the following bills that passed or were defeated through the efforts of 1199SEIU’s members LIKE YOU testifying at hearings, meeting and contacting legislators, marching and rallying, and speaking to the media:

      ✔ Fight for $15, Sponsors: Sen. McCray/Del. Fennell (SB SB280/HB166):

            •Raises the minimum wage to $15 by 2025 for companies with more than 15 employees, with all employees reaching $15                   by 2026.
           • The bill is the first in the nation to increase reimbursements to medical providers, including nursing homes, to help fund                 wages.
           • Legislators overrode Governor Hogan’s veto making Maryland the 6th state to win the Fight for $15.

     ✔ The Blueprint for Maryland's Future, Sponsors President Miller/Speaker Busch (SB1030/HB1413):

          • Provides, along with the 2020 state budget, a total of $1.1 billion in new school funding for the Kirwan Commission                            recommendations, like full-day pre-kindergarten for low-income four-year-olds and increases teacher salaries 4.5%.
          • Funds “community schools” with a community schools coordinator and a health services practitioner— including 130                      schools in Baltimore City and 45 Prince George’s County!

     ✔ Ban the Box, Sponsors Sen. Carter/Del. Mosby (SB839/HB994):

          • Prohibits employers from asking about a job applicant’s criminal history at any time before the first in-person interview.

Defeated! Maryland Healthy Working Families Act - Absence Control Policy, Sponsors Sen. Beidle/Del. Wilson (SB0912/HB0686):

         • Would have allowed employers, at the specific request of hospitals like Johns Hopkins, to apply an absence control with a              progressive accountability structure to employees who used newly established sick and safe leave.
         • As current law allows employers to deny leave, members made their voices heard that no one should be punished for                     using earned leave and this unfair policy was defeated and sent to interim study where we will continue to advocate.

Quality Healthcare for All

     ✔ Protect Minors from HIV, Sponsors Sen. Lam/Del. Hill (HB1183/SB251

        • Gives our members at Chase Brexton and other medical providers the ability to prescribe an HIV prevention drug,                              recently approved by FDA for minors, without parental consent.
        • Critical step to saving our youth, as Maryland ranks 2nd in lifetime HIV infections.

    ✔ Prescription Drug Affordability Board, Sponsors Sen. Klausmeier/Del. Peña-Melnyk (SB759/ HB768):

        • Creates nation’s first board that makes drug corporations justify excessive prices for many high cost drugs.
        • Limits costs to be paid by state and local government for certain drugs.
        • Sets the stage for the General Assembly to act in 2023 to limit costs for all drug purchasers.

    ✔ Maryland Easy Enrollment Health Insurance Program, Sponsors Sen. Feldman/ Del. Peña-Melnyk (SB802/HB HB814):

        • Allows tax filers to indicate on their Maryland tax form that they would like health insurance.
        • Automatically enrolls those who qualify for Medicaid.
        • Helps people sign up for a private plan that works for their family.

    ✔ Keep Antibiotics Effective Act, Sponsors Sen. Pinsky/Del. Love (SB471/HB652):

       • Ensures that Maryland is restricting antibiotic use on farm animals that are not sick.

    ✔ Tobacco 21, Sponsors Sen. Kelley/Del. Davis (SB895/HB1169):

       • Prohibits retail stores from selling tobacco products, including e-cigarettes, to youth under the age of 21.

    ✔ UMMS Board Reform: Sponsors Sen. Carter/Speaker Busch (SB619/HB1428):

      • Bars no-bid contracts for board members, force all members to resign and reapply for their positions, and mandates an                  audit of contracting practices.
      • Prohibits board members from intentionally using the prestige of office for private gain and requires annual financial                    disclosure.

Environmental Justice:

    ✔ Clean Energy Jobs Act, Sponsors Senator Feldman/Delegate Glenn (SB1158/HB516):

      • Requires Maryland to purchase 50% of its energy from clean, renewable sources like solar and wind by 2030 to reduce                  pollution from dirty energy like coal and oil, that fall disproportionately on Maryland’s communities of color and poorest                communities.
      • Earmarks millions of dollars for job training and apprenticeship programs so that the more than 20,000 jobs created are                  local, good, and family sustaining.
      • Labor also successfully advocated for inclusion of language to help organize workers who get these jobs and require some             materials to be American made.

As you can see, legislators passed policies during the 2019 session that will have a tremendous impact on Maryland’s working families and our communities.

On a final somber note, we are deeply saddened by the sudden passing of Speaker Mike Busch. A champion for Maryland's working families, he lead fights like raising wages and expanding access to healthcare. Our thoughts are with his family during this difficult time.