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State House OKs Bill Requiring Paid Sick Leave in Maryland

BRIAN WITTE, Associated Press

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) — A measure to require paid sick leave in Maryland advanced in the House of Delegates on Wednesday.

The Democrat-controlled House could pass the legislation as early as Friday.

The measure would require businesses with more than 15 employees to provide earned paid sick leave. Businesses with 14 or fewer employees would have to provide unpaid sick leave.

The bill advancing in the House would provide paid leave to more people than an alternative proposal by Republican Gov. Larry Hogan, supporters of the House measure say. The governor’s proposal would require employers with more than 50 employees to provide paid leave. Employers with fewer than 50 employees would be given tax relief incentives. Hogan proposed the alternative to ease requirements on small businesses.

House Republicans sought to make the House bill more like the governor’s, but Democrats rejected the amendments, largely on party-line votes.

Del. Herb McMillan, R-Anne Arundel, tried to make the House bill identical to Hogan’s proposal.

“We’re about to pass a massive new entitlement that will without question kill jobs,” McMillan said before his amendment was defeated.

Del. Luke Clippinger, a Baltimore Democrat who is sponsoring the bill, said the governor’s bill didn’t go far enough.

“Ours covers people who really need it,” Clippinger said.

The House passed a similar bill last year, but it stalled in the Senate. Supporters have been trying to pass the legislation for five years. This year, however, lawmakers have taken the issue up earlier in the session to better enable the two chambers to work out differences before session ends April 10. The Senate, which also is controlled by Democrats, is working on a similar bill.

An analysis by the Maryland Center on Economic Policy estimated that the bill advancing in the legislature would expand paid sick leave to about 512,000 people who currently don’t have it. The analysis estimated the governor’s proposal would extend paid sick leave to 272,000 people at the most.

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(© Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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