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What's happening in Illinois that could matter in Maryland?

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It’s easy to be isolated in our own state, but other states’ legislative initiatives could help us see our own future.

State-level business advocates discussed legislation and regulation initiatives across the country last week at the Chambers of Commerce Government Affairs Conference, hosted by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. We found it interesting that most of our counterparts had seen more state-level bills responding to federal initiatives than ever before. They include issues like immigration, health care and tax reform.

In addition to that trend, here are a few examples of bills in other states worth Maryland’s awareness:

  • Illinois’ state legislature passed a measure that would require customers to affirmatively consent to electronic tracking of business interactions. Depending on application, this could limit e-commerce and customer targeting for businesses ranging from those who offer tailored deals and coupons to telecommunication companies that keep and protect data. Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner vetoed the bill, and the legislature failed to overturn the veto. It’s a similar bill in precedent to Maryland’s  SB 1200 last year, which would have required affirmative consent for internet service providers to sell or transfer a consumer’s personal identifying information for marketing purposes without express permission from the consumer. That bill didn’t make it to the governor’s desk, but we expect a version of it to come back in 2018.

  • New York is about to implement a sweeping paid family and medical leave insurance act that eventually allows employees up to 12 weeks of paid leave for family care. This new law, which goes into effect Jan. 1, is similar to the one Maryland lawmakers are discussing.

  • Legislators in Michigan and Minnesota have passed tax and labor preemption laws. Such laws prevent individual municipalities from creating their own laws that may conflict with state law. Maryland law permits Montgomery County to create its own laws in some areas, making compliance more challenging for businesses that operate there plus any other area of the state. Del. Dereck Davis proposed such a bill last session. That bill received an unfavorable report in committee.

  • Pennsylvania’s constitutional amendment on environmental regulations for water and air is broadly defined, and challenging to the business community there. State courts upheld the amendment’s applicability, creating more onerous regulations for businesses and increased litigation. There is a similar amendment on the docket in New York. These bills are in direct response to legal challenges on the federal Clean Power Plan and regulations for energy sources. We could see a similar bill in Maryland in the next few years.

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Chamber issues and legislation