2019 End of Session Wrap-Up: Employee Benefits and Relations

The segments below provide a brief overview of MACo’s work in the area of employee benefits and employee relations in the 2019 General Assembly. 

MACo advocates for fair state laws governing employment practices, labor representation, and employer-employee relationships. MACo becomes particularly engaged when a proposal has a disproportionate or unique effect on public sector employees – frequently those affecting public safety employees or other public workers who engage in sensitive functions.

Follow links for more coverage on Conduit Street and MACo’s Legislative Database

Wage History and Range

MACo opposed a broad mandate on all employers, directly them to exclude a variety of wage and salary history during the job-offer and promotion process. Counties opposed this legislation as it would eliminate numerous structured promotion opportunities that are common within local government. This legislation did not advance following its hearing.

Bill Information | MACo Coverage

Medical Cannabis in the Workplace

MACo opposed legislation that would prohibit all employers, including county governments, from enforcing zero tolerance workplace drug policies. While the bill did create an exception for determining impairment at work, available drug testing technology is not able to discern when cannabis use may have occurred, muddying the link between an employee’s cannabis use and their impairment. Counties raised concerns about the ability to properly screen employees in law enforcement and other position fo public trust for such hard-to-test behavior. This legislation was withdrawn by its sponsor following the bill hearing.

Bill Information

Criminal History at Employment (“Ban the Box”)

MACo raised concerns with the “ban the box” legislation, as too prescriptive for public entities that frequently hire for sensitive positions in law enforcement, and the like. Several counties already have employed some version of this policy, but better-tailored to their own needs as public employers. The General Assembly agreed with this argument, and ultimately amended local government employers out of the definition affected by the bill, which has passed and has been sent to the Governor for approval.

Bill Information


For more on employee benefits and employee relations legislation tracked by MACo during the 2019 legislative session, click here.