Jobs, ethics, state roads: 3 new Md. laws that matter to you

WASHINGTON — The morning after the Maryland General Assembly finished its session, Gov. Larry Hogan signed 115 bills into law, including some of his most important priorities.

Among the bills signed Tuesday were the More Jobs for Marylanders Act, which created tax incentives for manufacturers to create jobs to parts of the state with high unemployment rates, such as Western Maryland, Baltimore and the Eastern Shore.

Hogan also signed an ethics reform bill which clarifies the definition of a conflict of interest and extends the amount of time state officials have to wait before becoming lobbyists. He called it “the first real meaningful ethics reform in 15 years.”

The governor didn’t sign a bill requiring employers with more than 15 workers to provide paid sick leave, a measure he had previously called “dead on arrival.” He didn’t veto the bill either; he has 30 days from passage to decide what to do with the bill, which passed last week.

Hogan also signed a bill which put off for two years a scoring system for state road projects; he had wanted a full repeal, and said it would kill road construction.

Jobs bill rethinks Maryland’s manufacturing sector

The jobs bill gives tax breaks and incentives to manufacturers who add jobs in areas of the state where the unemployment rate is higher than the state average. It also has a job training and apprenticeship component.

“It’s critically important to bring thousands of new jobs to the areas that really need them,” Hogan said.

When most people think about manufacturing, they think of the industries that have left the state, like steel making, said Mike Galiazzo, president of the Regional Manufacturing Institute of Maryland. “Manufacturing is about making pharmaceuticals, it’s about making optics, it’s about making biotechnology and nanotechnology,” he said.

Sen. Andrew Serafini, a Republican from Washington County, helped shepherd the bill through the legislature. Serafini’s known as a lawmaker who works well with members on both sides of the aisle. He said the bill is a compromise, but one that provides a win for everyone.

“It’s about jobs, but it’s also about job training” he said. “We’re going to train workers for the jobs of the future, and I’m excited for that.”

Hogan: ‘How government is supposed to work’

Hogan, a Republican, signed the bills on Tuesday while flanked by Senate President Mike Miller and House Speaker Michael Busch, both Democrats.

“I believe this is how government is supposed to work,” Hogan said. “We have disagreements, but we try to reach common ground.”

Hogan laughed and joked with the two Democratic leaders. At one point, Miller took an opportunity to give a shout-out to fellow senators present for the bill signing, including Sen. Richard Madaleno, a Democrat from Montgomery County who’s eyeing a run for governor.

Miller noted that Madaleno was a former staff person, and said, “Once a staff person, always a staff person. So he’s checking up on everybody in the place, making sure everything’s getting done.” Hogan interjected, “I know he’s checking up on me!”

That cracked up the room, and Miller got another big laugh when he replied without missing a beat, “He should be, governor; he should be! We’ve got 20 people assigned to you!”

WTOP’s Kate Ryan and The Associated Press contributed to this report from Annapolis.

Rick Massimo

Rick Massimo came to WTOP, and to Washington, in 2013 after having lived in Providence, R.I., since he was a child. He's the author of "A Walking Tour of the Georgetown Set" and "I Got a Song: A History of the Newport Folk Festival."

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