44TH LEGISLATIVE SESSION

 

The 44th Session of the General Assembly of Maryland has ended, and the legislature has presented its approved bills to the Governor. The Governor now has until May 30th to act on passed legislation by signing, vetoing, or allowing them to become law through passivity i.e., neither signing nor vetoing.

Throughout this legislative session, MPEC members united to improve and defend employee protections and benefits. The below bills resulted in a favorable outcome for MPEC members and their families:

HB 139 

Requires all teachers in Juvenile Services and the Department of Labor to be in the professional services of State Personnel Management. This will bring those teachers into the bargaining unit. Effective July, 2022.

SB 275-Veto Override

Creates the Maryland Family and Medical Leave Insurance (FAMLI)Program. Maryland is now one of ten states, plus the District of Columbia, to enact a law that provides benefits (paid leave) for an employee’s serious health condition, the birth or adoption of a child, the serious health condition of an employee’s relative, or for a qualifying exigency of a family member of an individual serving in the military. The law goes into effect on June 1, 2022, but benefits will not be available until January 2025.

HB 172 

Allows union dues to be tax-deductible.  Effective date July 1, 2022. 

SB 541- The Maryland Outdoors Act

Improves state park infrastructure, capacity, accessibility, and employee retention. Some specifics include:

  • Renames Park Ranger Associates to Park Rangers
  • Adds Park Rangers to the Hometown Heroes tax deferment 
  • Gives Park Rangers the ability to issue parking citations
  • Covers Park Rangers under presumptive language on Lyme Disease 
  • Provides $12 million for the hiring and retaining of state park personnel

Effective Jun 1, 2022

SB 794- Successfully STOPPED

This bill was successfully stopped. It would have given complete autonomy to MSDE’s management without accountability and stripped employee protections. If passed, the agency would not have to follow the standard protocols for hiring, advancement, or termination of employees.

Together, we will continue working towards a better work-life in state service as we strengthen and increase our collective efforts.

 

 

COVID RESPONSE PAY GRIEVANCE UPDATE

Group grievances were filed for certain classifications believed to be eligible for the COVID-19 response that DBM did not include. The grievances include:

STOP THE SABOTAGE OF STATE PARKS

"...War!" this declaration has been made by many government leaders, including our Governor. The impacts of Coronavirus have many parallels to World War II and the Vietnam War. Some include the current economic cycle, the expansion of government and the debate of civil liberties, and the rising death tolls national leaders have compared to war figures.  And last but not least, the equivalent of frontline employees and frontline soldiers who put themselves at risk for the good of others.

While some may debate the use of "war" to describe the current times, the severe effects of the Coronavirus are certain.  Therefore, we all have a responsibility to act in the best interest of Maryland's recovery, especially those in a position of authority and serving as Heads of State Agencies making decisions that affect citizens' lives.

Frontline soldiers are the first line of defense in this war, and the best strategy is to reinforce the frontline. This is done by providing them the resources and support necessary to perform their duties and maintain morale. Morale wins wars!!

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Agency Non-Compliance of Telework Orders

 

MPEC is working to address agency non-compliance with the Governor's telework orders on November 10th. (Click here to download the letter sent to Governor Hogan and Secretary Brinkley) The Dept. of Budget and Management has allowed each agency to interpret and implement policies and mandates that are intended to protect employees at the manager's discretion. The difference in implementation that we are experiencing has certainly revealed the value of human life as very subjective to individual personalities. We are thankful for the managers whose actions clearly display respect and appreciation for the life of others. However, the managers whose actions indicate otherwise, creating gratuitous risks, will certainly be addressed to the greatest extent possible.

Sadly, this difference in implementation has been an on-going issue since the beginning of the pandemic. We are speaking with lawmakers to pass legislation that will eliminate subjective loopholes in policies and mandates intended to prevent or mitigate harm to state employees. We will post updates on the MPEC website and Facebook page.

In solidarity,

Jerry Smith, President