The start of 2020 also marks the beginning of new laws taking effect in Maryland. According to an article by Patch, these are some of the most significant pieces of legislation that could impact you and your family this year:
Minimum Wage Increase
Maryland’s minimum wage rose from $10.10 to $11 as of the first of the year. Minimum wage workers often struggle to meet basic needs with the rising costs of goods and services. The state’s goal is to increase the minimum wage to $15 by the end of 2025.
No More Puppy Mills
Pet stores across the state will no longer be able to sell commercially bred cats and dogs in an attempt to limit unlicensed puppy mills who force animals to live in unsanitary conditions. Animal rights activists see this new law as a big step in the right direction to encourage more pet adoptions and safe purchases from local breeders.
Organ Donation Laws
Even organ donors have had a history of being discriminated against- but not anymore! Maryland life insurance, long-term care insurance, and disability insurance companies are banned from discriminating against organ donors in a new act to protect those who are willing to make the ultimate sacrifice. The new act piggybacks on a law that went into effect in October 2019 requiring paid leave for individuals who are undergoing procedures to donate their organs.
Local Brewing Laws
Small and local breweries in Maryland are thrilled with the new Beer Franchise Law that will allow these businesses to end burdensome contracts with wholesalers more easily. Instead of the previous 180-day notice required to cancel a contract, breweries will now only be required to give a 45-day notice.
Food Truck Laws
If you were thinking about starting a food truck business, this might be a good time to do it. Food truck operators in Price George’s County no longer have to pay a license application fee of $500 for a truck operating less than 60 days, or a $3,500 fee for a truck operating for longer. This will allow more food truck businesses to make a profit instead of worrying about the fees to start.
Certain health plans will no longer require patients to obtain a re-authorization for repeat prescriptions. The law will apply to chronic conditions and only require a re-authorization after one year or until the standard course of treatment is complete if less than one year.
Criminal Injury Claims
Marylanders who are seeking compensation for criminal injuries can now file online. Other changes to criminal compensation law include individuals being able to claim $10,000 in mental health treatment for criminal injuries up from $5,000. Emergency awards are also up to $5,000 from the previous $2,000 allotted amount.
Electric Bike Laws
Electric bikes are becoming all the rage in metropolitan cities across America. And in 2020, companies in Maryland will be facing more regulations to keep riders safe. All electric bike manufacturers and distributors in Maryland must now place labels informing riders of the top assisted speed, classification, and motor wattage of the bike they are operating.
Homeowner Tax Laws
Low-income homeowners who are 65 or older, or disabled, will now be eligible for a state tax break on delinquent housing taxes. The new Property Tax - Collection of Unpaid Taxes and Tax Sales law has established a state tax sale ombudsman in the State Department of Assessments and Taxation. An ombudsman is a state official appointed to provide a check on government activity in the interests of the citizens, and who will be responsible for assisting homeowners who qualify under the new law.
For more information on Maryland laws that took affect on January 1, click here to view the Maryland Legislature.
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