Star Local News
ANNAPOLIS, MD – With the 2018 Legislative Session officially underway, Governor Larry Hogan today introduced several pieces of emergency legislation that will provide paid leave benefits to our citizens, combat violence across the state, and ensure accountability in our schools, including the Paid Leave Compromise Act of 2018, a compromise proposal to fix a deeply flawed bill passed by the Maryland General Assembly, and subsequently vetoed by the governor, during the past legislative session.
 
“For three years in a row, we have remained committed to engaging our colleagues on both sides of the aisle in thoughtful debate about issues that matter the most to our citizens,” said Governor Hogan. “Today, we have submitted several emergency pieces of legislation we believe deserve swift and immediate action. We look forward to continuing to find common sense, bipartisan solutions to the serious problems that face us over the next 90 days.”
 
The Paid Leave Compromise Act of 2018 will provide paid leave benefits to Marylanders while fixing the most problematic elements of a bill passed by the Maryland General Assembly. Under the Paid Leave Compromise Act of 2018, businesses with 25 or more employees will be required to offer paid leave to their employees by the year 2020. To give businesses time to prepare, the benefits will be phased in, starting in 2018 for businesses with 50 or more employees, in 2019 for businesses with 40 or more employees, and extending to all applicable businesses in 2020.
 
The governor also submitted three pieces of emergency legislation aimed at restoring our communities, getting gangs and violent offenders off the streets, and saving lives. The Accountability for Violent Criminals Act of 2018 delivers on the governor’s promised truth-in-sentencing initiative, which will require second-time violent criminals to serve their full sentence and make them ineligible for parole. The administration’s second bill, Crimes – Firearms – Penalties, addresses the problem of repeat violent gun offenders failing to serve adequate time for their crimes by doubling the minimum sentence from five to ten years for repeat offenders who use firearms to commit felonies and violent crimes. The bill will require that the time be served consecutively to any other sentence and includes additional penalties for individuals convicted of using a firearm in relation to drug trafficking if they are later found to illegally possess a firearm. The governor’s third bill, Crimes – Gangs – Penalties, will further strengthen Maryland’s anti-gang and RICO statutes by expanding the list of gang-related crimes that can be prosecuted across jurisdictional lines.
 
Finally, the governor recently announced the administration’s plan to submit the Protect Our Students Act of 2018 to require that academic performance be counted as 80 percent of a school’s composite score. The legislation is the result of an override of Governor Hogan’s veto of a bill that makes it nearly impossible to fix failing schools and threatens Maryland’s reputation as a national leader in education.