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 on March 1 before the House Economic Matters Committee on House Bill 417. This bill is the cross file of Senate Bill 212, which was heard last week in Senate Finance. MACo supports HB 417 with amendments.
The legislation would remove the distinction between a “wholly” and “partially” dependent individual. 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.
The Senate Finance Committee amended the”opt-in” provisions into HB 417’s cross-file, SB 212, on March 3.