With less than a month left before Maryland’s 2017 legislative term ends, Gov. Larry Hogan says he wants lawmakers to get their act in gear and move various bills forward to full votes. But for one highly debated proposal about mandatory paid sick leave for small business employees, the governor says he plans to stop it from becoming law.
In an address today in Annapolis, Hogan said the legislature had “misplaced priorities” and made “short-sighted” decisions in regards to votes affecting the state’s economy.
One issue that has hung over from past General Assembly sessions is that of paid sick leave for small business employees. A bill proposed by Del. Luke Clippinger of Baltimore already passed the lower house of the legislature earlier this month in an 88-51 vote, per the Sun’s Pam Wood. That measure requires firms with 15 or more employees to compensate full-timers with seven days’ worth of paid sick leave each year, and businesses with fewer than 15 employees to offer unpaid sick leave to employees.
A separate proposal in the Senate, which passed in a second reading today and is nearing a full vote, would require five full days of paid sick leave for full-timers and sets a higher threshold for the minimum number of days an employee must work.
Assuming the Senate version passes, lawmakers would need to craft a compromise bill before sending it to Hogan’s desk for his signature.
However, if they do that, the governor plans to nix the measure right away.
“If either of these job-killing bills reaches my desk, they are dead on arrival. I will veto them immediately,” Hogan said in his address today.
The governor has proposed his own paid sick leave bill that sets a five-day paid leave requirement for firms with 50 or more employees. It also offers a tax credit to businesses with fewer than 15 employees if they decide to offer sick leave to employees.
Hogan today argued that even the Senate’s less stringent version would have “disastrous” effects on Maryland’s economy by placing costly requirements on small businesses, which he said would in turn eliminate thousands of jobs.
“I want to make something very clear. I support common sense, paid sick leave for Marylanders,” Hogan said. “We proposed a fair, balanced, bipartisan, common sense, measure to expand sick leave while also making sure that we didn’t crush small business and kill jobs.”
Unfortunately, his proposal hasn’t left committee.
Should senators want to see the paid sick leave bill finally become law, they would need to get 29 of the 47 members of the upper house on board to override Hogan’s veto, according to the AP’s Brian Witte.
A February Goucher Poll found 80 percent of Maryland voters support a paid sick leave requirement similar to the measure in the Senate (and the one approved by the House), while 84 percent support a bill similar to Hogan’s proposal.
The Senate is expected to vote tomorrow.
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