New state laws are coming your way in 2020. While a number of the laws we’re going to discuss were implemented in late 2019, most Maryland residents won’t notice a major impact until 2020 or later. We’ll also mention laws that haven’t been implemented yet, but they’re ones you should be on the lookout for, as they’re likely to get passed. Let’s start by taking a look at how Maryland is trying to improve our state’s environmental impact.
Maryland Could Be Going Foam-Free
According to The Baltimore Sun, Maryland could be the first state to issue a styrofoam ban. Foam is one of the most common plastics, but it’s difficult to recycle. This is because it continually breaks down into pieces and isn’t considered biodegradable. It can also transport toxins from the environment into the food chain.
Beginning July 1, 2020, restaurants, coffee shops, and grocery stores may not be allowed to use foam products like cups, plates, and bowls. Violators would face a $250 fine.
Anne Arundel County Council passed a foam ban in February 2019. Opponents to the statewide foam ban are using schools in the area as an example as to why the foam ban shouldn’t pass, because it cost one school district $700,000 to purchase alternatives to foam.
Firefighter Jesse McCullough’s Cancer Protection Law
The Firefighter Jesse McCullough’s Cancer Protection Law alters the circumstances under which firefighters, firefighting instructors, rescue squad members, advanced life support unit members, and members of the Office of the State Fire Marshal are presumed to be suffering from an occupational disease.
Workers who suffer or die from an occupational disease can be compensated if they have at least 10 years of cumulative service with Maryland and the disease resulted in partial or total disability or death. Jesse McCullough passed away in October 2018 after a battle with metastatic colon cancer related to his occupation.
Giving College Athletes Collective Bargaining Rights
House Bill 548 could give collective bargaining and unionization rights to student-athletes at University System of Maryland institutions. Like the foam ban, Maryland would be the first state to provide this opportunity.
Previously, the university would negotiate terms and deals on behalf of their athletes. University officials would hold a meeting and a liaison would contact players to relay what had been discussed.
If this bill becomes a law, a union representative for student-athletes to bargain through would have to be in place by July 1, 2020. The representative would negotiate scholarships, health insurance, and the use of an athlete’s likeness or image.
2020 Firearms Study
In 2019, Maryland lawmakers approved legislation that requires the governor’s office to collect more detailed information about guns used for criminal purposes. The study requires the Governor’s Office of Crime Control and Prevention to collect information regarding the types of guns used in crimes, charges and convictions for illegal transfers, possession, and illegal transportation. Other data being collected includes information on the people using guns, including age, residence, and charging location.
Data collection will cease on December 31, 2020. The overall goal of the study is to better understand how criminals are getting guns, so lawmakers can take steps to reduce gun violence.
Organ and Bone Marrow Donation Leave
House Bill 1284 provides a leave of absence for employees serving as organ or bone marrow donors. While the leave provisions went into effect October 1, 2019, aspects of the law do not go into effect until January 1, 2020.
Under the law, an employee is eligible for this leave if they have been employed by the same employer for at least 12 months and 1250 hours during the previous 12-month period. The employee is eligible for up to 60 days of leave to serve as an organ donor and 30 business days to serve as a bone marrow donor. Once they return to work, they are entitled to the position they held previously or an equivalent position.
Employers with at least 15 employees are required to abide by this law. They can require the employee provide written verification from a doctor that they are becoming an organ or bone marrow donor and that there is a medical necessity for the donation.
The laws above are just a sampling of the changes you’ll see in 2020. If you have questions about how the changes could impact you, we can help. Some law changes have an impact on personal injury claims, so we stay up to date on all the changes to make sure we can provide our clients with the best representation possible. For more information, contact us today.
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