For several years, the Maryland General Assembly has been unsuccessful in passing a paid sick leave bill. It’s a national priority for President Obama, Montgomery County did it, and the District of Columbia did it - although Prince George’s County saw its 2015 bill squelched by Council President Mel Franklin.
With the start of the legislative session only ten days away, the Post reports today that 2015 sponsors Senator Catherine Pugh and Delegate Luke Clippinger are preparing to give it another go in 2016.
Democrats will try again in 2016 to make Maryland one of the few states in the nation that require employers to provide paid sick leave for workers.
State Senate Majority Leader Catherine E. Pugh (D-Baltimore) and Del. Luke H. Clippinger (D-Baltimore) said last week that they will propose bills to require businesses with 10 or more employees to provide one hour of paid sick leave for every 30 hours of work.
Both lawmakers sponsored similar legislation in 2015, but the measures stalled at the committee level. They said that they will introduce new versions of the bills within the first weeks of the 2016 legislative session, with minor changes to clarify details such as how the rules would apply to businesses that already provide paid sick leave.
“We want to present the best bill possible, but at same time we want to accommodate as many people as we can,” Pugh said.
As always, with Larry Hogan in the governor’s office, it’s about constructing a veto proof majority from the Democratic caucus.
The 141-member House needs 85 votes to overcome a veto, and the 47-member Senate needs 29; Democrats hold 33 seats in the Senate and 91 in the House.
In 2015, 77 delegates and 22 senators co-sponsored the sick-leave bills, eight and seven votes short of a veto-proof majority, respectively.
“There was a feeling last time that the first year of a governor’s term would not be the right time to put this on his desk,” said Melissa Broome, deputy director of the Job Opportunities Task Force. “At this point, there’s really no reason to wait.”
Hogan spokeswoman Shareese DeLeaver Churchill did not offer a position on paid sick days but said the governor will “carefully review any bill that makes it to his desk.”
More than 140 groups have expressed support for Maryland sick-day legislation since October, including unions, businesses, faith-based organizations and public-health advocates.
This should be a party loyalty vote in both chambers. At some point, being a Democrat has to mean something more than just a label. This bill is about fairness, it’s about public health, and it’s about families. Pitch it right and get it done.