City Leadership to Hogan: Reinstate Federal Unemployment Boost

Baltimore City Mayor Brandon M. Scott, City Council President Nick J. Mosby, and City Comptroller Bill Henry this morning sent a letter to Governor Larry Hogan urging him to reverse his decision to halt federally-funded unemployment benefits. As previously reported on Conduit Street, the governor earlier this month announced that Maryland will discontinue its participation in pandemic unemployment programs that enhance benefits, including the extra $300 weekly payments and coverage for the self-employed. According to…

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State & Local Employment Still Down, Trailing National Trends

Despite a jump in overall employment, the latest reports show state and local jobs remaining unfilled, notably in education. While the American economy, with its mystifying mix of signs and signals, has continued to regain many jobs lost during the pandemic, job totals in state and local governments appear to be recovering more slowly. From coverage on Route Fifty, "State and Local Employment Remains Stubbornly Down" comes this insight: State and local government employment was…

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Maryland to End Enhanced Federal Unemployment Benefits

Governor Larry Hogan today announced that the State of Maryland will discontinue enhanced pandemic federal unemployment benefits and reinstate work search requirements on July 3. “Our health and economic recovery continues to outpace the nation, and we have reached the benchmark set by President Biden of vaccinating 70% of adults,” said Governor Hogan. “While these federal programs provided important temporary relief, vaccines and jobs are now in good supply. And we have a critical problem…

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Child Care Investments: Are States Ready for the Spotlight?

The American Rescue Plan includes $39 Billion for child care programs - more than the federal government has targeted for such needs in the last five years, put together. Are states ready for the infusion, and do they have the means to effectively manage these funds? Federal funding as part of a post-COVID recovery included a variety of facets -- but child care has long lingered among the tougher to solve elements of getting the…

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Former Delegate: Empower Public Sector Unions Everywhere

Former Delegate Jimmy Tarlau argues for the State to mandate all public sector employers to allow employees to unionize and collectively bargain. On the Maryland Matters website, former Delegate Jimmy Tarlau - still involved in labor leadership after his time in the legislature - makes the case for statewide unionization laws, rather than a local option. From his opinion piece: Most Northern states have collective bargaining laws in place that allow public workers to form…

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US Department of Labor’s FAQs on COBRA Continuing Health Care Coverage

A recent discussion of county Human Resources officers highlighted new federal rules, arising from the American Rescue Plan Act, altering employer and employee responsibilities for continuing health care coverage post-employment. A F-A-Q document available from the US Department of Labor is a good guide to employer and employee need-to-know topics. From the US Department of Labor, here are selections from the Frequently Asked Questions about COBRA health insurance continuing coverage: General Information Q1: I have…

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Hogan Announces $6.5M for Workforce Training Initiative

Governor Larry Hogan last week announced that over $6.5 million in state funding has been awarded to 33 strategic industry partnerships through the Employment Advancement Right Now (EARN) Maryland program. EARN Maryland is the state’s nationally-recognized workforce initiative that helps businesses cultivate the skilled workforce they need to compete while preparing Marylanders for meaningful careers. “As we continue to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, it is critical to keep investing in a well-trained, highly-skilled workforce in…

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Counties Oppose Expanding Prevailing Wage Application

MACo Policy Associate Drew Jabin yesterday testified in opposition to HB 37 Procurement – Prevailing Wage – Applicability before the House Economic Matters Committee. This bill expands Maryland’s prevailing wage law to include projects that have any shared state funds. From the MACo Testimony: The bill requires county work projects that are funded using any State funds to pay workers the prevailing wage. Currently, the State’s sensible rule is that the “majority partner” of a…

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MACo Recommends Study for On-Site Wastewater Services Bill

On January 15, 2021, MACo Policy Associate Alex Butler testified virtually before the House Environment and Transportation Committee to support HB 302 Environment - On-Site Wastewater Services - Regulation with amendments. This bill would create minimum standards for individuals who perform on-site wastewater systems. From the MACo Testimony: Data presented showed issues with systems were not abundant within three years after installations, suggesting that installers are sufficiently regulated. The vast majority of counties already require licensure for…

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MD Labor Provides Sweeping Update on Unemployment Benefits

The Maryland Department of Labor released a comprehensive update on the processing and payment of unemployment insurance claims during the COVID-19 pandemic. According to the Maryland Department of Labor, nearly 95% of claims have been processed, over $7.8 billion in benefits have been paid, 2.6% of claims are pending review for possible fraudulent activity, and new illegitimate traffic was detected and blocked. From press release: Nearly 95% of Claims Processed, Vast Majority of Pending Claims…

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