Saturday, January 2, 2021

New Maryland Laws Effective January 1, 2021

Happy New Year Everybody!  2021 can only get better!

Here are some new laws in Maryland that take effect on Jan. 1.

Due to the truncated legislative session in 2020 the number of new laws is smaller than in previous years but here are some of the main bills.


State Minimum Wage New Minimum Wage: $11.60 And $11.75

Starting Friday, Jan. 1:

·         Organizations with at least 15 employees will increase the minimum wage to $11.75.

·         Those with fewer than 15 employees will see a minimum wage increase to $11.60.

Prince George's County, which has had its own higher minimum-wage standards, will align with the state's starting Friday. Its minimum wage had been $11.50; but effective Jan. 1, 2021, it will be the same as the state's minimum wage.


For employers with at least 15 employees, this is the increase schedule:

·         Jan. 1, 2021 — $11.75

·         Jan. 1, 2022 — $12.50

·         Jan. 1, 2023 — $13.25

·         Jan. 1, 2024 — $14

·         Jan. 1, 2025 — $15


For employers with 14 or fewer employees, this is the schedule:

·         Jan. 1, 2021 — $11.60

·         Jan. 1, 2022 — $12.20

·         Jan. 1, 2023 — $12.80

·         Jan. 1, 2024 — $13.40

·         Jan. 1, 2025 — $14

·         Jan. 1, 2026 — $14.60

·         July 1, 2026 — $15




Voluntary Disability Self-Disclosure Card

The Motor Vehicle Administration must make a card providing details of an individual's developmental disabilities available by Jan. 1, 2021, to any person of driving age who requests one and to the parents of a minor who requests one. The card, which is voluntary, may include written guidance on effective communication between law enforcement officers and people with developmental disabilities.


In Vitro Fertilization Coverage

A new law takes effect Jan. 1, 2021, that enables unmarried people to have in vitro fertilization (IVF) covered by insurance if they have met certain requirements, such as three attempts at artificial insemination that have not resulted in pregnancy over the past year, and it also changes the time married couples and same-sex couples must wait to access the benefit as well, from two years to one year of unsuccessful attempts.


Prostate Cancer Screening

Health care providers cannot charge co-pays or deductibles for prostate cancer screening.


Baltimore Banning Plastic Bags

Plastic bags will be banned from Baltimore City, effective Jan. 13. Businesses must charge at least 5 cents for alternative bags, according to the Baltimore City Comprehensive Bag Reduction Act.


Montgomery County Labor Law: 30-Hour Janitorial Guarantee

In Montgomery County, employers will be required to guarantee 30-hour minimum work weeks for each employee working as a janitor, building cleaner, security officer, concierge, door person, handy person or building superintendent, effective Jan. 1, 2021.


Bowie Race Course Land

The city of Bowie must enter into a joint use agreement with Bowie State University, including an easement, to use the property associated with Bowie Race Course Training Center that is within 100 feet of the top of the Patuxent River bank for passive recreational activity, such as hiking, walking, picnicking and wildlife viewing, while the other parts of the land can be used for recreational activities including baseball, football, soccer and cricket, with one structure up to 50,000 square feet allowed to be built on the property.


Payment For Impounded Vehicles

In Prince George's County, people must pay outstanding tickets to reclaim their vehicles from impoundment.


Campaign Laws: Write-In Restriction, Caller ID

Two laws dealing with campaigns will take effect Jan. 1.

·         A candidate who was defeated may not run as a write-in candidate the next year, effective Jan. 1.

·         Automated or prerecorded campaign calls must identify the organization and treasurer :

o     “This message has been authorized and paid for by (name of the payor or any organization affiliated with the payor), (name and title of treasurer or president). This message has not been authorized or approved by any candidate.”


Sexual Assault Victim Protection

Legislation that took effect Oct. 1 made it illegal to provide sexual assault victims with forms saying they waive their rights to an investigation. In the event that these victims request limitations of suspensions of investigations, law enforcement agencies must document the request and conduct a follow-up. Each law enforcement agency must have policies in place for this process by Jan. 1, 2021, and must submit a copy of the policy to the Maryland Sexual Assault Evidence Kit Policy and Funding Committee by Jan. 15, 2021. These measures ensure law enforcement agencies are protecting the rights of sexual assault victims.


Scooter Contact Info

Public motor scooters and electric low-speed scooters must provide tactile displays with contact information including website and mobile application information for the visually impaired.


Mattress Regulations

Those selling or importing juvenile products, mattresses, upholstered furniture or reupholstered furniture containing more than 0.1 percent of flame-retardant chemicals by mass.


Liens On Motor Vehicles

A release related to motor vehicle liens must be filed with the Motor Vehicle Administration within five business days of transfer (an extension from the previous requirement of three days) for the purpose of publicly available

electronic vehicle records.


Life Insurance Reduction Option

People can reduce the face value of their life insurance policy as an option to retain coverage and prevent lapse.


Health Care: Bias Training

Implicit bias training will be established for health professionals involved

in perinatal care.


Workweek guarantee in Montgomery County:


Montgomery County adopted a 30-hour workweek guarantee for janitors and other building maintenance staff in privately owned buildings. The bill was designed to expand health insurance to more workers. Beyond janitors, covered building staff include door attendants, concierges, security officers, handymen or superintendents not earning more than twice the living wage.

(Much of this information was taken from Elizabeth Janney, Patch Staff)

The Maryland General Assembly will reconvene on Wednesday January 13th.  In another newsletter I will let people know what are going to be the big issues and bills being discussed in Annapolis.  Jimmy