Tuesday, January 2, 2024

New Laws Effective January 1, 2024


Minimum Wage Increases to $15/hr.

Minimum Wage in Maryland goes to $15/hr. starting January 1. It is estimated that this will affect over 160,000 workers.

Tipped workers, such as servers and bartenders, will not have a required increase to their base wage. Tipped workers are allowed to be paid as little as $3.63 per hour (half of the federal minimum wage of $7.25), though their total pay and tips must exceed $15 per hour. If they don’t, the employer has to make up the difference.

Workers younger than 18 can be paid 85% of the state minimum wage, which would be $12.75.

People incarcerated in prisons are paid an average monthly compensation of about $183 (or 4.50/hr.).

Stop The Spam Calls Act

Puts new restrictions on telephone solicitations in Maryland. The law essentially bars the use of automated systems to make such calls to:

·         solicit people to purchase, lease, or rent goods or services. 

·         offer a gift or prize.  

·         conduct a poll. 

·         or request survey information if the results will be used directly to solicit persons to purchase, lease, or rent goods or service.

Those caught violating the law face a fine of $1,000 for the first offense, and up to $5,000 for each subsequent offense.

Biomarker testing coverage

Health insurers in Maryland - except Medicaid - will be required to cover biomarker testing starting January 1. Biomarkers are genes, proteins, and other substances that provide information about cancer. Testing for biomarkers can not only detect cancer, but also help formulate treatment plans. Medicaid will start covering biomarker testing in Maryland on July 1, 2025.

 And insurers must also provide coverage for certain lung cancer diagnostic imaging and limit the copayment, coinsurance, or deductible that the entities can require for lung cancer screening and diagnosis.

Medicaid covers transgender patients’ gender-affirming treatments.

Medicaid, or the Maryland Medical Assistance Program, will be required to provide medically necessary gender-affirming treatments on Jan. 1, 2023.  The Trans Health Equity Act expands the number of procedures prescribed by a licensed health care provider that are covered by Medicaid in the state.

Expansion of Financial assistance for energy bills

Starting in 2024, the State office will enroll any resident who meets the eligibility for certain social support programs in a fuel and utility assistance program. The law also expands electric bill assistance to Marylanders with an annual income of 200% of the federal poverty guidelines.

Plastic Bag Ban Expanded to Prince George’s and Anne Arundel Counties

Anne Arundel and Prince George’s counties, as well as the city of Frederick, all have plastic bag bans taking effect Jan. 1. The Anne Arundel law excludes the city of Annapolis from the countywide ban. In Anne ArundelPrince George’s and Frederick, plastic bags will still be allowed for certain items like raw meat and bulk goods, such as nuts. Retailers in Anne Arundel and Prince George’s counties will have to charge a minimum of 10 cents for paper or reusable bags in most cases.


This summary of new laws has been gathered from various news sources including the Baltimore Banner, Baltimore Sun, WTOP, and Washington Post