RAIN TAX LIKELY TO BE REVISITED State Senator Ed Kasemeyer, Chair of the Senate Budget and Taxation Committee believes that changes to the "rain tax'' are likely when the General Assembly reconvenes next year. In the interim, the new fee will begin to show up on property tax bills in ten Maryland counties later this month. POST LABOR DAY SCHOOL START STUDY UPDATE The Task Force to Study a Post Labor Day Start for Maryland Public Schools is expected to be up and running by July 1. Final Task Force recommendations are due to the Governor and the General Assembly on or before June 30, 2014. NEW SAFETY MANDATES FOR MONTGOMERY COUNTY HOTEL POOLS Effective November 13, 2013 all Montgomery County Hotels with swimming pools will need to have automated external defibrillators (AEDS) and at least one staff member trained in their use onsite. A similar AED mandate is already in effect in Anne Arundel County and in Harford County. MH&LA MEMBERS RECEIVE NATIONAL RECOGNITION Sharon Bear, General Manager of the Courtyard by Marriott- Hagerstown is Marriott International's 2012 Courtyard by Marriott General Manager of the Year. Jeff Garland, Director of Sales for the SpringHill Suites-Hagerstown is Marriott's 2012 Direct Sales Leader of the Year for the SpringHill Suites brand. POSITIVE FORECASTS FOR THIS YEAR AND NEXT PricewaterhouseCoopers forecasts lodging demand growth of 2.2% this year, revPAR increases of 5.9% in 2013 and 6.2% in 2014; and 63.2% occupancy levels in 2013 (the highest occupancy levels since 2007). The projections anticipate more leisure, business and group travel and limited room supply growth. H2B PROGRAM UPDATE The Small Business Subcommittee on Economic Growth, Tax and Capital Access in the U.S. House of Representatives recently held a hearing on the importance of the H-2B visa program to hotels, resorts and other tourism-related businesses.