MACo Associate Director Les Knapp, Montgomery County Risk Management Director Terry Fleming, and county workers’ compensation attorneys Suzanne Berger (Baltimore County) and Paula Etting (Harford County) testified in support of SB 805 in the Senate Finance Committee on February 22. The panel also supported SB 212 with amendments.
SB 212 is a reintroduction of legislation introduced in 2010 (HB 1318/SB 953). The legislation would remove the distinction between a “wholly” and “partially” dependent. It would set a 12-year cap on benefits subject to certain exceptions, provide benefits for dependents who are not spouses or children, raise the allowance for funeral benefits, and expand the definition of a dependent. In his testimony, Mr. Knapp requested an amendment for an “opt in” provision for county governments based on concerns over how the new benefits systems would interact with existing death benefit provisions for dependents of covered employees subject to a public safety occupational disease presumption.
SB 805 is identical to SB 805 but also contains the protective “opt-in” provision for county governments that the panel requested be amended into SB 212.