Maryland Law Changes to Look for in 2021

Published on Dec 3, 2020 at 8:25 pm in Legal Information.

Person signing papers

The new year is rapidly approaching. With 2021 right around the corner, new laws and law changes will be put into effect. It’s important to know what Maryland law changes are happening and when so you’ll be up to date with state laws and will know if they will affect you. This way, you’ll be prepared for the upcoming law changes.

One law change focuses on schools and the need to have outbreak response plans to follow should an infectious disease break out. Other law changes have to do with vehicle laws. There’s also an amendment to an employer’s timeframe for when they have to notify their employees of certain changes. Let’s take a look at these laws.

What Laws Will Maryland Implement in 2021?

A few major changes to Maryland law will happen by the beginning of the new year and others may be planned to take place later in 2021. They are as follows:

School Outbreak Plans

The COVID-19 pandemic, which has caused unprecedented change to everyday life for the majority of 2020, has shown how vital it is for schools to have outbreak plans. But this isn’t the only virus schools should have a plan for.

In 2018, University of Maryland freshman Olivia Paregol, passed away after she contracted adenovirus. This virus affected 40 students and 15 needed hospital treatment. While experiencing severe symptoms from this virus is rare, those who are immunocompromised are at an increased risk. Paregol took medication for a different condition that weakened her immune system.

The University of Maryland waited 18 days to notify students of the outbreak, which led Paregol’s family to believe that Olivia’s death could have been prevented if the information had been given sooner.

Other health issues that affected students included mold, however this never reached a campus-wide emergency status due to lack of communication between departments.

This has culminated to a new law called Olivia’s Law. Colleges and universities will be required to have plans to handle infectious disease outbreak. As of 2021, the schools must submit their plans to the Maryland Department of Health on or before August 1 each year.

Vehicle Laws and Liens Involving Security Interests

Section 2 of Senate Bill 778 will go into effect on January 1, 2021. This bill has to do with recording information on motor vehicle liens with the Motor Vehicle Administration electronically within a given period of time.

If a required release has to do with a motor vehicle, then the release needs to be filed electronically with the Motor Vehicle Administration. This needs to be done within five business days. The five-day window begins after the holder has received full payment. This amendment extends the previous window for this release to be electronically filed, which used to be three.

Maryland’s Mini-WARN Act

In 2020, there was a new amendment for the Maryland Economic Stabilization Act. The Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act, also known as WARN, will protect workers and enforce mandatory guidelines for employers when they are dealing with a reduction in operations.

It states that employers need to give employees 60 days’ notice of reduced operations. The phrase “reduced operations” includes relocation to a different site or proposed site, shutdown of the workplace, or if the employee number is going to be reduced 25% or 15 employees over a 3-month period.

Maryland law also states that local officials will need to know this occurred. The Maryland Secretary of Labor will work with the employer so they can provide health, pension, and severance benefits to affected employees.

If the employer fails to notify their employees, this could be considered a civil penalty and could be fined up to $10,000 per day that they were in violation. When examining a violation, the Secretary Of Labor or the Secretary’s designee will look into the gravity of the violation, the employer’s business size, whether or not the employer acted in good faith, and if the employer has had violations like this in the past.

The Department of Labor is working on regulations so they can implement this new Act as quickly as possible. The regulations will be available for public comment by November 2020. While this is all occurring during 2020, the plans to have full implementation extend to April 2021.

Staying up to date with law changes is important to Belsky, Weinberg, & Horowitz, LLC. We also want citizens of Maryland to be aware of any changes to state laws or new laws that will be implemented. In addition to staying informed, these laws could possibly affect a personal injury case. Reach out to us today if you have questions.




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