MD Family Leave Bill Proposed

Recently, DC proposed a paid family leave policy that would include all workers, including federal employees. One concern is that it would create a disparity in leave policy between two workers in the same office who happened to live in separate jurisdictions.   Last week, the Hill reported that Delegate Ariana Kelly will introduce a bill to provide paid family leave for all Maryland workers, a proposal that will also allow Maryland residents who work for the federal government in DC to opt in to the program.

Following the path of D.C.’s ambitious proposed paid leave policy, federal workers who live in Maryland might also see a change to their paid leave benefits. Maryland Del. Ariana Kelly, a Democrat, plans to introduce legislation in January to allow federal workers who work in D.C. and live in Maryland to opt-in to a state insurance pool and receive up to 12 weeks of paid leave benefits.

The D.C. Council recently unveiled paid leave legislation that would provide up to 16 weeks of paid leave for Washington, D.C., residents, including those who work for the federal government. Non-residents who work for private companies based in D.C. would also be covered, but federal workers who live in Maryland, Virginia or another state would not. Because of this, two employees working side-by-side in the same federal office could wind up with wildly diverging paid leave plans.

Good Proposals From MoCo Legislators

While the main news of the day was – rightfully – the Planned Parenthood Pink Out Day and Cecile Richards’ appearance before Congress, there were a couple of very good policy proposals that moved forward today courtesy of two Montgomery County legislators. Fortunately, both of them bragged about their accomplishments on Facebook so I could write about them.

First, Delegate Ariana Kelly has been pushing for several years to enact a paid family and medical leave proposal for the State. It hasn’t succeeded yet, but there is now funding available from the federal government to study such proposals in the states where they exist and to look at costs and be edits as well as implementation issues. Kelly pushed to get the State to apply for such funding in 2015, but the Hogan Administration wasn’t interested. Undeterred, Delegate Kelly partnered with Montgomery County Councilmember Hans Riemer to apply for the federal funding, and today announced that the County’s grant application has been funded. This will provide meaningful data to the county and the state to move forward with potential legislation to provide paid family and medical leave.

Second, Senator Roger Manno has submitted a bill for the 2016 session to provide for automatic voter registration for all eligible individuals, subject to the right to opt out for those who affirmatively do not want to register. The Universal Voter Registration Act is a forward thinking and innovative proposal that seeks to begin the process of bringing our antiquated voting processes into the 21st century.

More of this kind of stuff, please.