2021 End of Session Wrap-Up: Business Affairs

An overview of MACo’s advocacy on business affairs legislation in the 2021 General Assembly.

Through business affairs advocacy, MACo seeks to protect local regulatory and licensing authority, enhance citizens’ safety and improve access to regulated services.

This year the Maryland General Assembly conducted a legislative session unlike any other due to the enduring COVID-19 pandemic. The unique circumstances surrounding the 442nd legislative session, including necessary health and safety measures, posed a challenge for lawmakers and advocates alike. Despite the unusual circumstances, MACo’s advocacy still led to more positive outcomes for its members.

For more information on Maryland’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic visit MACo’s COVID-19 resource page.

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

Animal Shelters 

This legislation would have imposed stricter standards for animal shelters to achieve a 90% save rate, effectively converting government-run shelters into no-kill operations. Although well-intentioned, counties argued that this legislation would have strained limited local budgets and shelter resources and led to reduced acceptance rates. This bill did not have a hearing before the end of session.

Bill Information

Criminal Law

MACo supported legislation that would allow individuals to file a petition for costs of care to the owner of an animal that is held while a court hearing for animal cruelty is occurring. County-operated animal shelters or control agencies can incur significant costs for caring for animals, especially in cases that require special treatment to restore the animal’s health. This bill would have put in place a process for county entities and nonprofit shelters to reasonably recoup their costs. Unfortunately, this bill did not advance in the 2021 General Assembly after its public hearing.

Bill Information 

Maryland Electricians Act

MACo supported legislation that would revise and modernize Maryland’s laws concerning electricians and related employees. Counites would replace issuing licenses with a registration process, which allows local governments to maintain autonomy when disciplining contractors that fail to comply with local requirements.  This bill has passed both chambers and awaits the governor’s signature.

Bill Information

Economic Development

MACo supported legislation that would establish a new program to help support small businesses through grants. Due to the detrimental impact, the COVID-19 pandemic has had on small businesses this bill aims to provide funding in order for them to survive by creating a framework for state and federal funds to be distributed. Counites value the economic impact that small businesses have in their communities, and working closely with them believe that local governments are best suited to connect local businesses to resources. Economic Development – COVID-19 Small Business Grant Program (COVID-19 Crisis Small Business Survival PRogram ACt of 2021) passed the Senate but did not advance in the house during the 2021 legislative session.

Bill Information I MACo Coverage

For more information on business affairs legislation tracked by MACo during the 2021 legislative session, click here.