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Maryland Politics Begin to Heat Up

Mon, Jan 23, 2017

Columbia, Maryland

Montgomery County Council passes $15 minimum wage for most businesses

Legislation to raise Montgomery County’s minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2020 passed the County Council on a 5-to-4 vote Tuesday, but it is unclear whether County Executive Isiah Leggett (D) will allow the measure to become law. The county of about 1 million would be the first jurisdiction in Maryland — and the second in the Washington area after the District — to adopt a $15 hourly minimum wage.

The Montgomery legislation would go into effect by 2020 for most businesses and in 2022 for businesses with fewer than 25 employees.  Leggett will study the issue further before deciding whether to sign the bill, veto it or allow it to become law without his signature. The council would need six votes to override a veto by Leggett, which is one vote more than the legislation received on Tuesday.

Organized labor and other groups have secured laws requiring a $15 minimum wage in Seattle, California and New York, in addition to the District. But efforts to approve a $15 minimum wage failed this past summer in Baltimore, and some Montgomery council members were wary of becoming the first jurisdiction in Maryland to pass such a wage hike.  Increases in the minimum wage that the council launched began in 2014, from $7.25 to $10.75 an hour. Another increase, to $11.50 an hour, is scheduled for July 2017.

Association testifies in Annapolis

The legislative session is now underway and committee hearings are in full swing. The association advocacy team took the opportunity to communicate with legislators on the Senate Finance Committee and testify in support of SB 33 - Financial Institutions - Mortgage Lenders - Examinations and Records. The bill would allow the Office of Commissioner of Financial Regulation (DLLR) to alter the time period during which the Commissioner must examine the business of specified mortgage lender licensees from at least once during any 36-month period to at least once during any 60-month period.

While the bill is not directed at credit unions or other competing financial institutions, the association is supportive of changes in the examination process as it would allow for more flexibility and be less onerous and time consuming to the mortgage lender licensees absent another reason to be examined by the Commissioner. The association will continue to focus on bills (at least two thousand bills are expected to be filed) that directly and indirectly impact credit unions and plan to communicate, submit written testimony and/or testify as we continue to engage the General Assembly during the legislative session.