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.
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.
- 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.
SB 107 – Unemployment Insurance - Tax Deferment, Trust Fund Solvency, and Cost-Neutral
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.
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
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 -
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 -
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.
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.