The segments below provide a brief overview of MACo’s work on f pensions and public funds policy in the 2023 General Assembly.
In addition to the swearing-in of a new governor, the 445th legislative session kicked off with more relaxed health and safety measures compared to the turbulence of the last few years. This enabled MACo’s policy team to dynamically engage with private-sector stakeholders, legislators, and representatives across all levels of government. Under these more conventional circumstances, MACo’s advocacy led to a plethora of favorable outcomes for its members.
MACo supported SB 368/HB 791 – Law Enforcement Officers’ Pension System – Membership – Emergency Medical Technicians. This bill authorizes local governments participating in the Law Enforcement Officers’ Pension System (LEOPS) to permit paid emergency medical technicians (EMTs) to enroll in the LEOPS program. Emergency medical services in Maryland are rooted in the skills and commitment of county first responders, including EMTs. Counties appreciate the option to offer EMTs enhanced disability and retirement benefits through the LEOPS program. MACo prefers the approach proposed by SB 368, as it provides local autonomy to determine the best way to provide these incentives, rather than those that mandate reductions in local revenue sources. The bill passed the General Assembly and awaits the governor’s signature.
MACo supported HB 929/SB 264 – Law Enforcement Officers’ Pension System – Benefits with amendments. This bill would have increased the normal service retirement benefit multiplier for Law Enforcement Officers’ Pension System (LEOPS) members from 2.0% to 2.5%. The bill also sought to raise the cap on normal service retirement benefit payments from 65 percent to 70 percent of the member’s average final compensation. MACo raised concerns about the significant unfunded mandate on county governments and asked for a “local option amendment” to relieve that mandate and allow each jurisdiction to weigh these costs appropriately. The bill did not pass in the 2023 session.