Legislative Updates from the 2019 Maryland General Assembly Session
With only days left in the 2019 Maryland General Assembly Session, many of the bills MHLA has been monitoring are still in limbo. However, the last couple of weeks were difficult for Governor Hogan. Three major pieces of legislation: Increase in Minimum Wage, School Year start/end date, and ending the Comptroller’s control over the alcohol beverage industry, all passed the Legislature, were vetoed by the Governor and then were passed by the Legislature through veto overrides.
The first bill calls for the minimum wage to increase annually starting on January 1, 2020 by seventy-five cents per year until January 1, 2025, when the hourly wage reaches $15.00. The bill also applies to employees 18 years and older (the law until now was 20 years of age and older.)
The law also says: “The Commissioner shall adopt regulations in consultation with payroll service providers and restaurant industry trade group representatives to require restaurant employers that include a tip credit as part of the wage of an employee to provide tipped employees with a written or electronic wage statement for each pay period that shows the effective hourly tip rate as derived from the employer—paid cash wages plus all reported tips for tip credit hours worked each week of the pay period. The Commissioner shall provide notification of the tip credit wage statement regulations on the Department’s website.
All of the penalty provisions were removed.
- As a slap on the wrist of the Comptroller, the General Assembly removed the Alcohol Beverage oversight from his jurisdiction and is setting up a new Department to manage and oversee the industry licensure.
- The Governor also received a rebuke from the Legislature in the form of legislation allowing each County Board of Education to determine start and end dates for the school year. This essentially overrides the Governor’s mandate that schools open after Labor Day—a fulfilled campaign promise to the tourism industry.
In other Legislative activity, polystyrene packaging will be banned in the state except for pre-packaged foods brought in from other states and any packaging used for fresh meat, poultry, fish and seafood.
The Maryland Office of Tourism and the Tourism Development Board received their full funding request, and the Baltimore Convention Center received permission to begin studying expansion and remodeling of the present convention center—with 2/3 of the funding for the study being paid for by the Maryland Stadium Authority and 1/3 by Baltimore City.
MHLA sponsored bills mandating that short-term rental platforms (Airbnb, HomeAway, etc.) collect sales tax at the point of sale and remit it to the state on behalf of hosts are moving through both houses.
More to come after Sine Die!
Inside Airbnb’s ‘Guerrilla War’ Against Local Governments
Note from MHLA: The article below underscores intense battles taking place across the country on the issue of tax collection by short-term rental platforms. Maryland is no exception and the MHLA sponsored legislation (referenced above) will be a win for us and for the State if passed. This is in addition to recent wins in Baltimore City and Prince George’s County that require collection of hotel tax in a similar manner (avoiding Voluntary Collection Agreements and subject to auditing), AND regulation of the short-term rental industry at the local level.
“Read my lips: We want to pay taxes,” Chris Lehane, Airbnb’s global head of public policy, told the nation’s mayors in 2016. In the years since, the home-sharing site has repeated the declaration in press releases, op-eds, emails and on billboards…From Nashville to new Orleans to Honolulu, Airbnb is battling local officials over requests to collect occupancy taxes and ensure that the properties listed on its site comply with zoning and safety rules. READ MORE
MHLA NEWS & EVENTS
Scholarship Deadline for Maryland Hotel Employee awards is April 30, 2019
MHLA is accepting applicants for multiple $1,500 scholarships dedicated to Maryland hotel employees with a desire to pursue a professional career in the lodging industry. The deadline to apply is April 30, 2019 and winners will be announced at the Annual Meeting in June.
For more information and to view the application, click here.
Welcome to General Managers at New Member Properties
- Keith Moses – Hilton Baltimore BWI Airport
February 2019 STR Report
Smith Travel Research data for Maryland shows occupancy is down slightly, ADR has decreased .3%, and RevPAR is down 1.9% YTD through February 2019 compared to the same period last year. Maryland data is provided monthly to MHLA by Smith Travel Research. Members may view the full report online. Go to https://mdlodging.org/members/ and select “Industry Statistics and Research.” (Member log-in required.)
Save the Date for MHLA Annual Meeting on June 6, 2019
The MHLA Annual Meeting will take place on June 6, 2019. Chip Rogers, recently named President & CEO of the American Hotel & Lodging Association, is confirmed as our guest speaker! More details will be announced soon.