Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation (DLLR) Secretary eNews

In This Issue

A Message from the Secretary

Welcome New Staff

Legislative Update
Budget
Administrative Bills
Departmental Bills
Labor & Industry

Bills of Interest
Financial Regulation
Occupational & Professional Licensing
Labor & Industry

 

Newsletter Archive

A Message from Secretary Sanchez

On March 4, I had the pleasure of witnessing Montgomery County Executive Ike Leggett sign an executive order calling upon all branches of county government to remove any language barriers to public services for people with limited English proficiency.

It was a big step forward in our statewide effort to make government more responsive and accessible to every Marylander – which is the mission of the Maryland Council for New Americans.

Governor O'Malley signed an Executive Order creating the Council in January 2009 to assist the Governor and State agencies to maximize immigrant integration in Maryland. The council brought together representatives of government, business, labor, social service organizations, faith-based organizations and education to formulate policy recommendations for the Governor. Now, its activities are poised to accelerate with the naming of a staff director, an announcement we will make very soon.

In short, the objective of the Maryland Council for New Americans is to help Marylanders be as American as can be – learning English, becoming a citizen, and getting a better job.

A majority of Maryland's workforce growth since 2000 has been from immigrants. Although Maryland's immigrant population provides vital contributions to our economy, indicators show that segments of this workforce are not reaching their full potential. For example, 40 percent of recent immigrants from Africa and Latin America with college degrees work in unskilled occupations. Leading causes are: limited English proficiency, lack of job training and obstacles transferring credentials.

Studies show that our immigrant demographic is unique among American states: it is more highly educated than the native population, it has a higher income than in most states, and it is highly diverse (almost equal parts Latino, African, Asian and European). This can be a great strength in our economy if the State continues to follow the inspired leadership of the O'Malley-Brown Administration.

Beyond my own role as co-chair of the Maryland Council, DLLR has numerous roles to play in ensuring that immigrants have every opportunity to be fully integrated into the workforce and civic life of the state of Maryland.

I will highlight three here:

Through our Division of Workforce Development and Adult Learning, we are committed to improving our English for Speakers of Other Languages services for adult learners and making sure that we are fully prepared to offer these services through our One-Stop Career Centers. The language barrier is one of our biggest challenges in increasing the skills of Maryland's workforce and overcoming underemployment of immigrant professionals, and it is very much part of the Skills2Compete strategy that Governor O'Malley announced in March.

The Division of Unemployment Insurance is adding more bilingual claims takers in College Park, where our bilingual claims operations are centralized. I recently spent a day there, and could see and hear the dedication of the dozen or so people we have in that unit and the challenges they face very patiently in helping people with limited English proficiency to file an initial claim or resolve issues with their benefits. Without these bilingual claims takers' skills, sensitivity to cultural differences and ability to instantly translate bureaucrat-speak, people in need would face great difficulty in accessing the benefits they need to get through a most difficult time.

The Office of the Commissioner of Financial Regulation, in partnership with the Department of Housing and Community Development and other stakeholders, combats mortgage fraud that often targets immigrant communities and assists homeowners in danger of losing their homes to foreclosure. I, as well as other DLLR employees, have participated in foreclosure prevention outreach events for Hispanic audiences in order to reach those immigrant communities directly.

As the highest ranking Hispanic official in Maryland State government, I take very seriously Governor O'Malley's credo that "there is no such thing as a spare Marylander." The work of the Council for New Americans is vitally important, and I welcome your suggestions on ways we can provide truly equal opportunity for all Marylanders.
 

Welcome

DLLR recently welcomed two important additions to its leadership team:

Jeff Beeson, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Division of Workforce Development and Adult Learning Jeff Beeson joined the Division of Workforce Development and Adult Learning as a Deputy Assistant Secretary responsible for the integration and alignment of adult and correctional education programs with Maryland's workforce system.

Prior to joining DWDAL, Jeff served as Special Assistant to the Secretary of the Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services, where he was responsible for the development of workforce strategies to enhance the employment opportunities for ex-offenders returning to the community.  In 2006, as Executive Director of the Maryland Correctional Enterprises (MCE) Management Council, he developed the MCE CARES (Continuing Allocation of Reentry Services), a successful inmate employment integration model for formerly incarcerated individuals reentering to the workforce.

Prior to joining the State of Maryland, Jeff worked for Senator Barbara Mikulski, serving in a number of positions on her executive staff, including communications and constituent services.  He received his Bachelor's in Political Science from Towson University and will complete his Master's this fall.  Jeff lives in the Loch Raven community with his wife and two sons. Irby Cole, Director of Budget and Fiscal Services

Irby Cole brings 25 years of accounting experience in the private and public sectors to his new role as Director of Budget and Fiscal Services.

He received his B.A. from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County with a double major in economics and accounting and is an active C.P.A.  He is a member in good standing of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and the Maryland Association of Certified Public Accountants. Before coming to DLLR, Irby served in budget and finance leadership positions at the Department of Public Safety and Corrections and the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. He completed his 20-year career in the private sector as Vice President of Finance and Corporate Treasurer for one of Branch Bank and Trust's (BB&T's) most profitable subsidiaries.

Married for 25 years, he has two sons. The elder is a veteran of the U.S. Navy and the youngest is currently completing his college education.

Irby succeeded David McGlone, who remained with DLLR as a deputy assistant secretary in the Division of Unemployment Insurance.
 

Legislative Session Report
April 27, 2010

On April 12th, the Maryland General Assembly completed its work for the 2010 legislative session. Lawmakers considered more than 2,700 bills and passed 810 bills and 4 resolutions. DLLR had an extremely successful session, and saw the passage of all bills that were priorities for Governor O'Malley. Among those were the Unemployment Insurance Modernization and Tax Relief Act, which modifies the UI law to make Maryland eligible for federal funds, and the Job Creation and Recovery Tax Credit bill that creates a tax credit for employers who hire qualified individuals.  This report is a synopsis of those and other legislative issues of importance to the Department.

Budget

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 107 – Unemployment Insurance - Tax Deferment, Trust Fund Solvency, and Cost-Neutral Modernization Act
This emergency Administration bill makes changes to the State unemployment insurance law required to secure a one-time payment of $126.8 million in federal funds available through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. The modifications to Maryland UI law reflect the changing modern workforce Effective March 25, 2010.

SB 106 - Labor and Employment - Job Creation and Recovery Tax Credit
This emergency Administration bill creates a State income tax credit for employers who hire qualified individuals between the effective date of the Act and December 31, 2010. The Department of Labor, Licensing, and Regulation is authorized to award $20 million in credits on a first-come, first-served basis. Effective March 25, 2010.

HB 472 - Real Property - Residential Property Foreclosure Procedures - Foreclosure Mediation
This Administration bill establishes processes for loan modification or mitigation and mediation relating to foreclosure activity on residential property. It provides meaningful efforts to homeowners in determining whether alternatives to foreclosure are possible. Effective July 1, 2010.

SB 275 - Education - Maryland Longitudinal Data System
This Administration bill establishes the Maryland Longitudinal Data System (MLDS) as a statewide data system that contains individual-level student data and workforce data from all levels of education and the State's workforce. The bill also establishes a Maryland Longitudinal Data System Center within State government to serve as a central repository for the data, to ensure compliance with federal privacy laws, to perform research on the data sets, and to fulfill education reporting requirements and approved public information requests. Effective July 1, 2010.

Departmental Bills

Financial Regulation
HB 79 - Commercial Law - Credit Services Businesses - Limitation on Fees
This departmental bill amends the Maryland Credit Services Businesses Act (MCSBA) to limit the fees that may be collected in connection with an extension of credit. Specifically, the bill prohibits a credit services business from charging or receiving a fee in connection with an extension of credit that, when combined with an interest charge, would exceed the interest rate permitted by law. Effective October 1, 2010.

HB 402 – Collection Agencies - Application and Renewal Fees
This departmental bill repeals the existing statutory fees for new and renewal collection agency licensees and gives the State Collection Agency Licensing Board the authority to establish fees by regulation. The bill further authorizes a new fee for the investigation of prospective collection agency licensees. Any fees established by the board must (1) reasonably cover the actual direct and indirect costs of regulating collection agencies; and (2) be published by the board. Effective October 1, 2010.

HB 1152 - Commissioner of Financial Regulation - Applicant and Staff Criminal Background Checks
This departmental bill requires the Commissioner of Financial Regulation to conduct a State and national criminal history records check for each job applicant prior to an offer of full-time, part-time, or temporary employment. The bill also allows the Commissioner to obtain a criminal history records check on a current employee. Effective October 1, 2010.

HB 1136 - Financial Institutions - Supervision and Reorganization
This departmental bill requires a nondepository trust company to pledge securities or deliver a surety bond to the Commissioner of Financial Regulation to defray the costs of receivership. The bill authorizes the Commissioner to take immediate possession of a nondepository trust company in the event of insolvency. The bill further establishes procedures for a federal mutual savings bank to convert to a Maryland-chartered savings bank. Effective October 1, 2010.

Labor and Industry
HB 404 - Labor and Employment - Wage Payment and Collection - Order to Pay Wages
This departmental bill establishes an administrative procedure for resolving wage complaints involving $3,000 or less under the Maryland Wage Payment and Collection Law. Effective October 1, 2010.

HB 85 - Commissioner of Labor and Industry - Boiler and Pressure Vessel Safety Act
This departmental bill specifies that owners of uninsured boilers and pressure vessels must contract for required inspections with either an authorized third-party inspector, the Chief Boiler Inspector, or another State inspector. Effective October 1, 2010.

Occupational and Professional Licensing
HB 80 - State Board for Professional Engineers
This departmental bill requires licensees of the State Board for Professional Engineers to demonstrate continuing professional competency as a condition of license renewal. The bill also authorizes the board to issue certain individuals a retired status license. Effective July 1, 2010.

HB 82 - State Board of Pilots - Limited Licenses
This departmental bill changes the categories of limited licenses issued by the State Board of Pilots. Limited licenses based on vessel drafts of 32 feet, 36 feet, and 40 feet replace the current categories of 28 feet, 34 feet, and 37 feet, respectively. Effective July 1, 2010.

HB 83 - Department of Labor, Licensing, and Regulation - State Real Estate Commission - Continuing Education
This departmental bill changes the continuing education requirements for licensees of the Maryland Real Estate Commission. The bill also requires course providers to pay a $25 continuing education course application fee. Effective October 1, 2010.

HB 84 - State Board of Heating, Ventilation, Air-Conditioning, and Refrigeration Contractors - Membership
This departmental bill increases the membership of the State Board of Heating, Ventilation, Air-Conditioning, and Refrigeration (HVACR) Contractors by two members. Under the bill, only five of the seven professional board members must be appointed to represent particular geographic regions of the State. Effective July 1, 2010.

HB 403 - Office of Cemetery Oversight - Preneed Trust Account - Underfunding
This departmental bill gives the Director of the Office of Cemetery Oversight the statutory authority to require sellers of preneed goods and services to correct any underfunding, including interest, due to a preneed trust fund. Effective October 1, 2010.

HB 406 - Real Estate Licensees - Services Provided Through Teams
This departmental bill establishes requirements for the provision of real estate services through teams of licensed real estate agents. Two or more associate real estate brokers or licensed real estate salespersons operate as a team when they: 1) work together on a regular basis to provide real estate brokerage services; 2) represent themselves to the public as being party of one entity; and 3) designate themselves by a collective name such as a team or a group. Each team must designate a team who has at least three years of experience. The team leader must maintain a current list of all members or employees of the team and provide the list to the requisite managers of the brokerage with which the team members are affiliated. This information must be made available to the Maryland Real Estate Commission upon request. Effective October 1, 2010.

HB 407 - State Board of Public Accountancy - Disciplinary Authority
This departmental bill specifies that the State Board of Public Accountancy may deny licensure or a permit to an applicant or discipline a licensee or firm permit holder if the applicant, licensee, or permit holder has been sanctioned for an act or omission that directly relates to the fitness of a person to practice public accountancy. The bill also establishes that a holder of a permit issued by the board may be fined for violations of the Maryland Public Accountancy Act. Effective October 1, 2010.

HB 408 - State Commission of Real Estate Appraisers and Home Inspectors - Administrative Sanctions - Civil Penalty
This departmental bill authorizes the State Commission of Real Estate Appraisers and Home Inspectors to impose a civil penalty against a licensed home inspector in lieu of or in addition to any administrative sanctions the commission deems appropriate. The bill also specifies that the commission must consider certain factors when determining whether to grant a home inspector's license to a person, renew a person's home inspector's license, or take disciplinary action against a licensed home inspector due to the criminal history of the applicant or licensee. Effective October 1, 2010.

HB 409 - Home Improvement Commission - Guaranty Fund Jurisdiction
This departmental bill establishes that a homeowner may not receive an award from the Home Improvement Guaranty Fund that is in excess of the amount paid by the claimant to the contractor against whom the claim is filed. Effective October 1, 2010.

Bills of Interest

Financial Regulation
HB 1470 - Title Insurance - Title Insurers and Title Insurance Producers - Regulation and Reports
This bill requires MIA and the Department of Labor, Licensing, and Regulation (DLLR) to collaborate on a number of issues relating to title insurance and real estate practices. The agencies must jointly develop a “Title Insurance Consumer's Bill of Rights” that explains a consumer's rights and responsibilities in a real estate transaction closing. The document must be made available to the public on MIA and DLLR web sites and be provided to a consumer at the same time that the consumer receives a good faith estimate in connection with a mortgage loan.

The bill further requires the two agencies to share information regarding complaints received involving real estate closings and work collaboratively to track any patterns of problem transactions or licensees. By December 31, 2010, MIA and DLLR must report to the Senate Finance Committee and the House Economic Matters Committee on the status of the Consumer's Bill of Rights, regulations, and collaboration between the agencies. Effective July 1, 2010.

HB 1206 - Commercial Law - Consumer Protection - Refund Anticipation Loans and Checks
This bill establishes certain consumer protections in connection with refund anticipation loans and refund anticipation checks. The bill requires that a person who facilitates a refund anticipation loan or refund anticipation check provide the consumer with certain written and oral disclosures. In the case of a refund anticipation loan, the required disclosures include the amount of any loan fee; a statement that the product is a one- to two-week loan; and a notice that the consumer is liable for the full amount of the loan, even if the consumer's tax refund is less than expected. The required disclosures in connection with a refund anticipation check include a statement that the consumer may receive a tax refund in the same amount of time without paying any fee if the consumer's tax return is filed electronically and the refund is deposited directly into the consumer's bank account. Beyond the required disclosures, the bill establishes certain restrictions on refund anticipation loans and checks. Specifically, the bill prohibits a facilitator from requiring a consumer to take out a refund anticipation loan as a condition to obtaining tax preparation services, charging any fee other than the fee imposed by the lender, or arranging for any third party to charge a fee in connection with a refund anticipation loan or check. Effective October 1, 2010.

Occupational and Professional Licensing
HB 995 – Regulation of Crematories
This bill requires the board and the Office of Cemetery Oversight to establish a process for regulating crematories that provides for registration and issuance of permits or licensure, as appropriate, based on the regulatory entity. A crematory is regulated either by the office or the board based on the crematory's ownership. The operation or ownership of a crematory incinerator at a licensed medical facility or educational institution is exempt from the bill's provisions. By October 1, 2011, the office and the board must adopt identical regulations in numerous specified areas and must determine whether to adopt financial stability requirements for crematories. Effective October 1, 2010.

HB 956 – This bill Electricians, Gas Fitters, HVAC Contractors, and Plumbers - Display of Licenses and License Numbers
This bill specifies that a county or municipal corporation may not require a person licensed as a plumber or gas fitter to display a county or municipal corporation certificate number on each vehicle used to provide plumbing or gas fitting services. This provision does not apply to Baltimore County or areas of the State under the jurisdiction of the Washington Suburban Sanitation Commission. Likewise, a county, other than Anne Arundel County, or a municipal corporation may not require a person licensed to provide HVACR services to display a county of municipal corporation certificate number on a work vehicle. The bill requires licensed master electricians to display either a State or a county license number on vehicles used to provide electrical services; however, counties or municipal corporations may not require electricians who already display a license number to display additional license numbers on company vehicles. Effective October 1, 2010.

Labor and Industry
HB 110/SB451 - Prevailing Wage Rates - Public Works Contracts - Suits by Employees
This bill requires an employee to file a complaint with the Commissioner of Labor and Industry prior to filing a civil suit for recovery of unpaid wages under the State's Prevailing Wage Law. An employee is only authorized to file a civil suit if the employer fails to comply with an order issued by the Commissioner that requires the employer to reimburse unpaid wages to the employee. Effective October 1, 2010.

HB 214/SB694 - Labor and Employment - Wage Payment and Collection Law - Definition of Wage
This bill clarifies that definition of a wage includes overtime pay in the State's Wage Payment and Collection Law. Effective October 1, 2010.

SB789 - Labor and Employment - The Healthy Retail Employee Act
This bill requires employers that operate certain “retail establishments” to offer nonworking shift breaks to their employees. The bill applies to retail businesses in the State that employ 50 or more retail employees during each working day for 20 or more weeks in the preceding or current year. The employees may be located in one location or in multiple franchised locations that operate under the same trade name. The bill does not apply to wholesale establishments or restaurants or to units of State, county, or municipal governments. Effective March 1, 2011.

I want to give a special thanks to DLLR's legislative director, Jackie Lichter, and policy director, Elisabeth Sachs, for their tremendous work that made these results possible.

 

Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation
500 N. Calvert Street / Baltimore, Maryland 21202
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