Governor Larry Hogan held a press conference today to announce a bill that initially sounds great: he wants a statewide sick leave bill (thanks to Bryan Sears for the video, which you can fast forward to 6:00, when the presser actually starts). Here’s the Hogan press release:
First off, this bill only applies to employers with more than 50 employees. You find me a large employer like that who doesn’t already provide sick leave, I’ll give you a cookie. The 2016 version of the sick leave bill in the General Assembly required employers with as few as 15 employees to provide paid sick leave, and smaller employers would be required to provide unpaid sick leave.
Second off, this bill would kill Montgomery County’s new paid sick leave bill by preempting it. That bill requires all employers to provide paid sick leave at varying levels depending on the number of employees.
So the net effect of this bill, rather than a step forward, is in fact two big steps back. What it shows us, not for the first time, is that Larry Hogan is vastly better at political spectacle than he is at making good policy for Marylanders. He sees momentum for a good bill, so he tries to hijack the issue with a bill that does as little as possible while allowing him to claim credit for a watered down bill that kowtows to the business community.
There’s a good paid sick leave bill out there. This isn’t it.