Our state of Maryland saw several major legislative changes over the past year—police reform laws were passed, medications could legally be sold in vending machines, the Maryland Governor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs was created, COVID-19 emergency orders were terminated, and the state song was repealed.
A number of new laws in the state of Maryland are scheduled to go into effect in 2022 or will be in effect by the end of 2021. Below is a list of a few of the laws that may be relevant to many of the clients we serve in Baltimore and the surrounding Maryland areas. As always, we invite you to reach out to our law firm at Belsky, Weinberg, & Horowitz, LLC with any questions pertaining to the information in this article.
Financial Exploitation of Older and Susceptible Adults
The Financial Exploitation of Susceptible Adults and Older Adults (Maryland SAFE Act) allows older adults (over 68) and susceptible adults (individuals unable to perform daily living activities without assistance) who are financially exploited to file a lawsuit against the party exploiting them. Financial exploitation is defined as the illegal or improper use of another person’s assets or funds without their consent. Legal actions under the Maryland SAFE Act survive the death of the exploited adult.
The bill also specifies which parties are allowed to bring a cause of action on behalf of a financially-exploited adult, the damages that may be awarded, and the statute of limitations for taking legal action after financial exploitation. This information may be relevant to individuals who are exploring legal options after they or a loved one was financially exploited by a nursing home staff member or care provider.
Young Adult Healthcare Program
Maryland’s State-Based Young Adult Health Insurance Subsidies Pilot Program (House Bill 780) was launched in November 2021. This newly-enacted law requires the Maryland Health Benefit Exchange to establish and implement a program allowing qualified low-income adults aged 18 to 34 to enroll in a health insurance program costing as little as $1 per month. The program is intended as a means for young adults to reduce the amount they pay for health benefit plans in the individual health insurance market. The Maryland Health Benefit Exchange is required to designate money to the program for the years 2022 through 2024.
Prohibition on Releasing Balloons
The Solid Waste Management – Prohibition on Releasing a Balloon Into the Atmosphere House Bill (HB 391) prohibits a person or group from intentionally releasing balloons into the atmosphere, and from causing them to be released. People over 13 years old, corporations, partnerships, associations, non-profit entities, the State, or any government group or subdivision are the groups listed as banned from intentionally releasing balloons into the atmosphere.
Prohibition on Distributing Property of a Minor or Disabled Person
Maryland House Bill 1000 (HB 1000) places limits on what nonfamily guardians can do with the property of the minor or disabled person for whom they serve as guardian. The law prohibits a nonfamily guardian of the property of a minor or disabled person from distributing or disbursing the property of that minor or disabled person without court authorization. The law also states that guardians who are in violation of this law are liable for breach of duty, and are subject to the same penalties that apply to trustees.
Minimum Wage and Overtime Laws
The Maryland Department of Labor provides the following schedule for minimum wage and overtime rates for the years 2022, 2023, and 2024:
Employers with 15 or more employees must provide a minimum wage of:
- $12.50 (effective 1/1/2022)
- $13.25 (scheduled 1/1/2023)
- $14.00 (scheduled 1/1/2024)
Employers with 14 or fewer employees must provide a minimum wage of:
- $12.20 (effective 1/1/2022)
- $12.80 (scheduled 1/1/2023)
- $13.40 (scheduled 1/1/2024)
Employees under 18 years of age must earn at least 85% of the Maryland state Minimum Wage Rate. Tipped employees earning more than $30 per month in tips must earn the Minimum Wage Rate per hour. Employers must pay at least $3.63 per hour. For overtime pay, most employees must be paid 1.5 times their usual hourly rate for all work over 40 hours per week. Exceptions to overtime and minimum wage laws, such as the exceptions that apply to agricultural employees, can be found on the Maryland Department of Labor webpage.
As in years past, employers in the state of Maryland are required by law to post the above information concerning wage rates in a conspicuous area in the workplace so that all employees are aware of the state requirements. A failure to post this information could result in penalty for violation of the law.
Another employment law that went into effect at the end of 2021 expands Maryland’s Flexible Leave Act by allowing employees (of employers with at least 15 employees) to use earned paid leave for bereavement leave. Under this law, an employee is allowed to use bereavement leave for the death of an immediate family member.
Stay Informed of Your Legal Rights
At Belsky, Weinberg, & Horowitz, LLC, we believe that every citizen of our state should be informed and aware of the laws that affect our lives as Marylanders. As personal injury lawyers in the Baltimore area, part of our duty is to help support, educate, inform, and represent the community around us when it comes to legal matters. Our state laws define our duties, our rights, our opportunities, and our limitations as Maryland citizens. Our team of attorneys takes an active role in working toward better safety and improved quality of life for every person in our state. Please feel welcome to reach out to us at our office with any questions about how Maryland state laws apply to you and your family.