2022 Maryland Works Legislative Update
Six weeks into Maryland’s 444th legislative session, activity has picked up dramatically. Already, over 2300 bills and joint resolutions have been introduced. Legislative committees are hard at work with long days of bill and budget hearings, subcommittee meetings, and workgroups. For the first time in nearly two years, an in-person legislative hearing was held on February 14th as the Maryland Senate transitioned to in-person bill hearings for the remainder of session. The House of Delegates is continuing to conduct its bill hearings virtually and has not announced a plan to conduct in-person bill hearings.
As expected, the dominant issue of this year’s Session is the unprecedented $4 billion State budget surplus. Analysts continue to brief committees on individual agency budgets with final decisions expected by late-March. Decisions on potential income tax reductions for retirees and other targeted tax cuts are expected then as well.
Several bills affecting the Employment Works Program and disability community generally have been introduced this year.
Senate Bill 93 expands the Maryland disability employment tax credit by increasing the maximum value of the tax credit that can be claimed for each qualified employee. This bill passed the Senate unanimously and will now be considered by the House of Delegates.
HB 660-Commission to Study the Division of Rehabilitation Services (Student Job Training Reformation Act)-the purpose of establishing a Commission to study the Division of Rehabilitation Services is to evaluate and make recommendations on improving various aspects of the Division of Rehabilitation Services’ programs and services. The bill passed in the House and had a hearing in the Senate Education, Health, and Environmental Affairs Committee on 3/23/22.
Governor Hogan has released a Supplemental Budget that includes an additional 4% rate increase ($57M) for DDA community services which will bring the total increase to 8% beginning July 1, 2022.
Two proposed bills directly impact the Employment Works Program and specifically Maryland Correctional Enterprises (MCE). Among other mostly technical changes to Maryland’s procurement law, SB 461/HB 723 consolidates pricing authority for Maryland Correctional Enterprises (MCE) under the pricing and selection committee that was originally formed to set prices for the Employment Works Program and expanded several years ago to include Blind Industries of Maryland. SB 248/HB 450 requires each State procurement unit to include the dollar value of its contracts with MCE in the total dollar value of its procurements for the purpose of calculating the unit’s performance relative to the State’s minority business enterprise (MBE) goal.
Along with our Annapolis-based lobbyist, we are monitoring these bills along with other State procurement and disability-related bills, and directly engaging when appropriate.
The legislative session ends on April 11th.
Source: Manis Canning & Associates