Five bills covered earlier died in committee: online sales tax, overtime pay, corporate filing fee

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By Daniel Menefee

For MarylandReporter.com

Many bills get a hearing, and maybe some discussion in committee, but not much more, dying a silent death with little notice.

Here are some of those bills whose hearings MarylandReporter.com covered, but were never heard from afterward. All but one never got a vote in committee.

HB1213/SB855, Online sales tax fails: A proposed online sales tax failed to move after committee hearings in the House and Senate on March 8. Passage of the Main Street Fairness Act of 2017 would have required sellers without a physical presence in Maryland to collect the state’s 6% sales tax from Marylanders buying on. Under current law only online sellers with a physical presence in Maryland must collect the 6% sales tax.

HB665, 80,000 salaried workers in Md. will continue to be denied overtime: A bill that would have made 80,000 more salaried employees in Maryland eligible for overtime pay failed to move after its Feb. 21 hearing. The bill’s sponsor, Del. Jimmy Tarlau, D-Prince George’s, argued that companies have avoided paying overtime for decades by unfairly classifying hourly workers as salaried employees. The bill, HB665, would have increased the salary cap for white-collar and service workers currently exempt from overtime pay to $47,476 — up from the current $23,660, or $913 per week, up from $455 weekly.

HB691, Annual corporate filing fee increase based on company assets fails: Maryland businesses came out strongly against a proposed change in the annual corporate filing fee that would have gone from a flat fee to a progressive tax based on a company’s assets.  The annual corporate filing fee is currently a flat fee of $300. Under a progressive tax the rate would have climbed as high as $4,000. The bill was withdrawn by the sponsor after an unfavorable report from the Economic Matters Committee

HB72, Replenishment of election financing fund dies after Feb. 7 hearing.  Public financing of Maryland gubernatorial elections would have received help from the general fund in years the Fair Campaign Financing Fund falls short. A bill sponsored Del. Eric Luedtke, D-Montgomery, would have required the State Board of Elections to assess the sufficiency of the fund the year before an election to make sure it can fully finance bids for two candidates in the primaries and one in the general election.

HB361, A bill to make appointed lawmakers defend their seats sooner fails. A proposed constitutional amendment with bipartisan support would have required senators and delegates appointed by the governor in the first year of their term to defend their seats in the year of a Presidential election. Currently, appointees can ride out the entire unexpired term of the former office holder until the next gubernatorial election. The proposal gives voters “more direct say on who should be their representatives,” said Del. Jimmy Tarlau, lead sponsor of the bill, HB361 .