The 2019 Maryland General Assembly opened on January 9 with 61 new Legislators taking seats. As is true in the beginning of their 4-year term, legislators introduce more bills for consideration than any other year in the 4-year cycle. At this writing, 882 bills have been introduced in the Senate, and 1287 bills in the House. Many of these bills directly affect the lodging/hospitality industry, and many more affect businesses.
Even though Marylanders elected more Republicans to the House and Senate this year, the Democrats still hold the majority, and reflecting what is happening nationally, it seems by the legislation introduced that the Democrats are much more liberal in their approach to business and social issues. Many of the Committee Chairs are also new and left leaning.
As the Session opened, President of the Senate Mike Miller announced that he is suffering from prostate cancer, and will be undergoing chemotherapy during the legislative session. Senator Miller is the longest serving President of the Senate not only in Maryland, but nationally, and is widely credited with being extremely fair and judicial in his management of that body.
Issues of Note to the Lodging Industry
Minimum Wage increase has the backing of the Leadership this year. The bill(s) calls for the minimum wage to raise annually until it reaches $15.00 per hour in 2023, and then will be indexed to cost of living. The other provision of the bill affects tip credit. The minimum wage for tip credit employees will max at $15.00 in July 2026, and there will be no more tip credit as of July 1, 2027. MHLA testified against the bill at hearings on February 8 and 21. The most crucial testimony came from many tip credit employees and small restaurateurs. As of this writing, the House subcommittee amended the bill, but the amendments aren’t available as yet. Rumors say that they are not doing away with tip credit (as was written in the bill), they have done away with any penalties related to the bill, and have extended the date by which the $15 goal must be met.
Recycling. As the deadline nears for Counties to reach a mandated tonnage of recycling, many counties are no where near their set goals, so those counties are looking for ways to have businesses encourage more recycling among their employees—and in the case of hotels, their employees and guests. Some counties are addressing the issue with local legislation, and some state legislators are taking the lead by introducing legislation in the General Assembly. Most of the legislation talks about businesses “encouraging” their employees to recycle, providing recycling receptacles, etc. But, several also include provisions for fining employers that don’t provide recycling opportunities. MHLA has testified, offered amendments, and opposed as appropriate.
Short-term Rental Sales Tax. The amount paid by a consumer for lodging is subject to Maryland’s 6% sales tax, whether the transaction involves a hotel room or a short-term rental unit. MHLA has asked Senator Guzzone and Delegate Mosby to introduce legislation requiring hosting platforms to collect sales tax at the point of sale and remit it to the appropriate taxing authority on behalf of hosts. In 2018 Airbnb alone booked 383,000 visits in Maryland, accounting for $57 million in bookings. This potentially amounts to more than $3.4 million in state sales tax that was not collected up front by Airbnb. Senate Bill 533 and House Bill 884 are both being heard this week.
MHLA NEWS & EVENTS
MHLA Honors 2019 Stars of the Industry|
A record 400 lodging industry professionals gathered on Thursday, February 7, 2019 at Live! Casino & hotel to honor exemplary employees and unique programs in the hotel industry, at the Maryland Hotel Lodging Association’s (MHLA) 30th Annual Stars of the Industry Awards Luncheon.
Winners were announced in twelve categories. A special award was also given to Wynter Sharps with the SpringHill Suites Columbia. Wynter is the first hotel apprentice in Maryland to have participated in the American Hotel & Lodging Association’s (AHLA) apprenticeship program and was given an “Achievement Award” for her impressive progress in the industry. She began her career as a front desk agent and in less than 2 years was promoted to assistant general manager and holds a Certified Hotel Administrator certificate.
To view the full list of winners, click here
To view photos from the event, click here
Amy Rohrer, MHLA President & CEO
Wynter Sharps, Assistant General Manager SpringHill Suites Columbia
Chuck Chandler, Dual Property General Manager, Hampton Inn and Suites Columbia/South & SpringHill Suites Columbia & MHLA Board Chair
MHLA Scholarship Opportunity for Maryland Hotel Employees
In 2019, MHLA plans to award multiple $1,500 scholarships to Maryland hotel employees with a desire to pursue a professional career in the lodging industry. We will accept applications through May 31, 2019.
For more information and to view the application, click here.
Welcome to General Managers at New Member Properties
- Erin Adams, GM – AC Hotel Washington DC at National Harbor
- Cory Cartwright, GM – Hampton Inn Baltimore-Downtown/Convention Center
December 2018 STR Report
Smith Travel Research data for Maryland shows occupancy is down slightly, ADR has increased .02%, and RevPAR is down 2.0% YTD through December 2018 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.)
INDUSTRY NEWS & INFORMATION
Residence Inn Fulton at Maple Lawn Now Open
Plamondon Hospitality Partners of Frederick, Maryland, is excited to announce that their newest hotel, the 103-suite Residence Inn by Marriott in Fulton, is now open and accepting reservations. The hotel is the first to serve the Maple Lawn community, and brings 30 new jobs to the area. READ MORE
Here’s Why Baltimore landed the CIAA tournament, estimated to draw 150k visitors
Source: Baltimore Business Journal
Baltimore landed a role as the next home of the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association’s men’s and women’s basketball tournaments based on its walkable downtown, hotel supply and financial commitments. That’s according to interviews with CIAA Commissioner Jacqie McWilliams and Board Chair Dr. James Anderson who joined with state and local leaders to announce the tournament will be moving from Charlotte, North Carolina, to Baltimore’s Royal Farms Arena from 2021 through 2023. READ MORE
New beach-themed mini-golf course coming to Ocean City
Source: Delmarva Now
The new 18-hole mini-golf spot will be located at 45th Street and Coastal Highway, near the 45th Street Taphouse Bar & Grille, as part of a larger mixed-use construction project. In addition to the mini-golf course, the overall 45th Street Village project will include a new 120-room Marriott hotel and conference center called Aloft Ocean City. READ MORE
Triple Crown Closes Out a Monster Year with an Eye to the Future
The Frederick County Office of Economic Development assessed that 2018 was a “monster year” for growth in the area. Keeping with that assessment, local general contractor and MHLA partner Triple Crown Construction closed out the year with revenue growth upwards of 10% compared to 2017. READ MORE