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  • 08/01/2018 4:09 PM | Patti Murphy (Administrator)
    Letter from Larry Helminiak, SCBA Board member and Government Affairs Chairperson

    August 2018

    How many times have you heard someone say, “I didn’t vote because my one vote won’t make a difference.”    Fact is, in the primary election for county executive,  in Baltimore County, the winning candidate got only about 10 votes more than the losing candidate.   Nationwide, there are 231 million people eligible to vote; but only 139 million actually voted.

    If you remember the presidential election in 2016, it was 3 o’clock in the morning before states like Florida and Ohio were finally decided.

    You’ve heard the word “Gerrymandering”.   What that means is that some districts are so outrageously drawn that the voting district looks like a salamander.   The roots of this word is from Massachusetts where, in the 19th century, Governor Gerry drew district lines so odd that someone in the Boston Globe said that it looked like a salamander, so he combined the names and called it Gerrymandering.

    This year in Maryland  we will vote for Governor.    What’s so important this year is that the person who wins the Governorship gets to supervise the drawing of the re-districting lines in 2020.   If you’ve ever seen an electoral map of the State of Maryland you’ll know how important this is.

    On the national scene, both the House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate are so closely divided that just a few votes (relatively) could decide which party controls the House and the Senate.

    Please take the time to vote.    We learned in Baltimore County that you and the voting members of your own family may just decide who makes our laws for the next four years.

     

  • 07/01/2018 2:38 PM | Patti Murphy (Administrator)
    Letter from Larry Helminiak, SCBA Board member and Government Affairs Chairperson

    July 2018

    The Primary election ended on June 26th. Seems like primary voting has lasted forever, even though it was only 8 or 9 days. Frankly, I can’t understand why the primary election was moved from September to June. It’s unfair to anyone running in a primary. When the primary was in September, candidates had all summer to knock on doors or greet voters at fire carnivals. I hope it goes back to September.

    For those who have not noticed, Maryland has moved from the 46th state in business friendly to to the 2nd in business friendly. Whomever you support, make sure you, your family, and your friends vote in November.

  • 06/01/2018 1:07 PM | Patti Murphy (Administrator)
    A Letter from Larry Helminiak, SCBA Government Relations Chair

    June 2018

    June 26th is the date we get to vote in the primary election. Early voting starts June 14th, at Westminster and the South Carroll Swim Club. The General Election is November 6th. So many people I talk to say they never vote in primaries. What would you say if I were to tell you that, in some jurisdictions, when the primary is over, the General Election is over?

    There are some jurisdictions that are so overwhelmingly one party that the opposing party has virtually no chance. Carroll County and Baltimore City are two such Jurisdictions. 1996 was the last time I remember a Democrat being elected in Carroll County to a county office. Theodore R. McKeldin was the last Republican elected in Baltimore City and that was a half century ago.

    So many people, especially young people, register as “unaffiliated.” Did you know that, as such, you can’t vote in the Democrat or Republican primaries?

    Here are some facts about Carroll County: In 2014, 25.82% of registered voters voted in the primary, compared to 57.34% in the general election. This means that your vote counts more in the Primary than it does in the General election.

    My advice to all new voters is this . . . . First – register as either a Democrat or Republican so that you can vote in the Primaries. Second, be sure to vote in the Primary because that is when the eventual winner is traditionally chosen in Carroll County.

  • 04/01/2018 3:06 PM | Patti Murphy (Administrator)
    To SCBA members

    This is a message from Delegate April Rose regarding      The  Maryland Healthy Working Families Act.  This is the message that she sent out February 12.   

    On February 11, 2018, the Maryland Healthy Working Families Act is scheduled to go into effect.  The Department of Labor has made a draft sample employee notice poster available on our website for your place of business at www.dllr.maryland.gov/paidleave.  The department is also developing sample policies that will be available on the department’s website in the near future.

    To the extent that the Commissioner of Labor and Industry receives complaints immediately after the law goes into effect, the commissioner will work closely with employers and employees to make sure both parties understand the requirements and limitations of the law and resolve any issues as fair and equitable implementation.

    Governor Larry Hogan issued Executive Order 01.01.2018.04 creating the Office of Small Business Regulatory Assistance to assist small businesses in complying with House Bill 1 (HB1).  Questions can be sent to this office at its dedicated email small.business@maryland.gov.

    May I suggest that all business owners go to this website, get familiar with the new law and get them to send you some of the posters so that your employees see it.

    Larry Helminiak

  • 03/01/2018 3:05 PM | Patti Murphy (Administrator)

    There is a new Maryland Law affecting Employers.

    Name: Maryland Healthy Working Families Act

    Effective Date: February 11, 2018

    Questions: Everybody has questions. The main one is “Does this law apply to me?”

    The State of Maryland has a website that answers the most frequently asked questions about this bill.

    Please go to the following website. It probably answers questions for you.

    www.dllr.maryland.gov/paidleave

    In addition to FAQs, the department has provided a draft sample employee notice poster for your place of business, available through a link on this site: www.dllr.maryland.gov/paidleave or directly here: http://www.dllr.maryland.gov/paidleave/paidleaveposter.pdf

    If you still have questions, send them to small.business@maryland.gov

  • 02/01/2018 1:08 PM | Patti Murphy (Administrator)
    February 2018

    SCBA members:

    The Legislature is in session. We have to keep focus on proposed laws that affect small business. We are fortunate to have a number of pro-business Senators and Delegates representing us in Annapolis.

    Delegate April Rose sent me a proposed new law on Paid Sick Leave. Rather than try to explain it, I am simply forwarding her entire email. Read it, decide how it may affect your business if passed, and consider going to Annapolis to testify FOR or AGAINST it. As I have told you every year, YOU know more about how a law may affect small business more than the people who MAKE the laws.

    Larry Helminiak

    From:Rose, April Delegate [mailto:Delegate.A.Rose@house.state.md.us]
    Sent: Thursday, January 18, 2018 11:42 AM
    To: 'larry@goplarry.com' <larry@goplarry.com>
    Subject: FW:Hogan Administration Takes Action to Help Small Businesses Comply With Flawed Paid Sick Leave Bill

    Larry – please share this with the South Carroll Business Association.

    The Governor has assigned a single point person within DLLR to assist businesses with implementation of the mandatory sick pay bill. There is a link below. Compliance is required in 30 days.

    April

    For immediate release:
    January 15, 2018
    Contact: Shareese Churchill shareese.churchill@maryland.gov410-974-2316



    Hogan Administration Takes Action to Help Small Businesses Comply With Flawed Paid Sick Leave Bill
    Executive Order Creates Office of Small Business Regulatory Assistance; Governor Continues to Push Compromise Legislation

    ANNAPOLIS, MD – Governor Larry Hogan today issued Executive Order 01.01.2018.04 creating the Office of Small Business Regulatory Assistance to assist small businesses in complying with House Bill 1 (HB1), the Maryland Healthy Working Families Act, passed by the Maryland General Assembly over the governor’s veto. As stipulated in the Maryland Constitution under Article II, Sec. 24, the Maryland General Assembly has 50 days to consent or pass a resolution of disapproval.

    We all agree that hardworking Marylanders need and deserve access to paid leave, and our administration is committed to providing these benefits to workers without crushing small mom-and-pop businesses and killing thousands of jobs,” said Governor Hogan. “Now that legislators have openly admitted that there are serious problems with the bill that they passed, I hope we can all come together to find real, common sense solutions. In the meantime, it is our responsibility to use every tool at our disposal to ensure that our small businesses can continue to create good jobs for thousands of Marylanders.”

    The order reorganizes state government to create the Office of Small Business Regulatory Assistance, directs the Governor’s Business Ombudsman Randall Nixon to serve as Executive Director, and moves employees from the Office of Small Business Resources under the Department of Commerce to staff the new office. The office will be housed and report directly to Secretary Kelly Schulz within the Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing, and Regulation, the agency tasked with promulgating regulations for the new law.

    A strong and healthy workforce benefits all Marylanders, and the Hogan administration is committed to expanding access to paid leave for workers,” said Nixon. “The Office of Small Business Regulatory Assistance stands ready to help businesses provide these benefits for their employees while ensuring they can continue to grow Maryland’s economy and create jobs.”

    Immediately upon establishment of the office, Nixon contacted the over 1,000 small businesses and workers who previously provided their information to the governor’s Committee on Paid Leave Policy in order to solicit their input and provide a venue to address their concerns. He also contacted every member of the Maryland General Assembly, asking them to refer any small businesses in their districts now being mandated to comply with the new law.

    The governor’s order specifies that the new office will assist businesses with the implementation of the new law, facilitate responsiveness of state government to small business needs, and serve as a central clearinghouse of information for business assistance programs and services available in the state. The office will be required to report to the governor and the legislature regarding problems encountered by small businesses complying with the law and its regulations and recommend policy improvements and solutions.

    The governor’s order follows widespread calls by legislators to fix serious flaws in HB1 and delay the bill’s implementation by 90 days due to its potential negative impact on small businesses. The governor continues to call on the legislature to pass his Paid Leave Compromise Act of 2018, which would address HB1’s most punitive provisions for employers, and his Small Business Relief Tax Credit, which will provide direct aid to help with compliance costs. Leading legislators indicated willingness to take up the governor’s proposals following last week’s vote.

    For more than a year, I have implored legislators to work with us in a bipartisan fashion to make sure we get this right for Maryland workers and job creators. There is still time to work together to ensure our small businesses and workers are protected and provided the benefits they need,” said the governor.

    In November 2016, Governor Hogan became the first Republican governor in the nation to advocate for paid sick leave legislation by proposing the Common Sense Paid Leave Act of 2017. The legislature did not act on the governor’s bill and instead passed HB1, which the governor vetoed while simultaneously announcing actions to expand paid leave benefits within the executive branch of state government and creating the Committee on Paid Leave Policy to study the issue. After conducting in-depth research and over 100 interviews with workers and business owners across the state, the Committee issued its final report to the governor in November 2017, which identified key flaws in HB1 and recommended solutions. The governor subsequently proposed the Paid Leave Compromise Act of 2018 and the Small Business Relief Tax Credit, both of which are pending before the General Assembly.

    Maryland small business operators and workers can contact the Office of Small Business Regulatory Assistance atSmall.Business@Maryland.gov.

  • 01/02/2018 1:06 PM | Patti Murphy (Administrator)
    Letter from Larry Helminiak, Government Relations Committee Chair:

    If you’re reading this on the SCBA page, you are likely the owner of a small business.

    I went in business in 1969.    There were rules and regulations regarding the insulation business but you could fit them all in a small binder.   

    Year after year after year, politicians and government agencies have added rules to the point that no one knows them all, and if you break one, you need a lawyer to defend yourself, and even the LAWYER has to look it up to defend you.

    There are rules on how to treat your employees.  There are rules regarding your company vehicles.  Pretty soon some counties in Maryland will have more rules regarding employee compensation depending upon how many employees you have.  

    Labor laws served a purpose.  They fixed a lot of problems and we are all better off now because of them. The issue many people have is that government has gone from an impartial judge to having its thumb on the scale against companies.  The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) became a partisan joke.   Now a new general counsel has taken over and a lot of stuff is going to get fixed.  Critics will say that it’s favoring business over workers.  But the pendulum is still dramatically on the side of the workers.   Business owners don’t want to tilt things back to the day when workers had no rights.  They just want things to be a little closer to fair.

    A growing economy fixes a lot of labor issues.  Low unemployment means workers who don’t like their situations can easily go find another one.  Companies with growing revenues can afford to pay more for quality workers.  Everyone wins.  But when regulation is so burdensome that companies and employers choose not to invest money into their businesses because they don’t see a chance of earning a return on it, everyone loses.

    When Donald Trump was elected he promised that for every ONE new regulation he signs into law he will eliminate TWO old regulations.    A report came out recently which stated that since January of 2017, for every NEW regulation at the Federal Level, SIXTEEN existing regulations have been removed from the books.   Let’s hope this continues.

  • 12/07/2017 11:30 AM | Patti Murphy (Administrator)
    Dear SCBA Members and friends,

    In the past week, we celebrated Thanksgiving.   Historically, it is said that the first Thanksgiving was in 1621, after the Pilgrims had their first harvest in the New World.   The first official Thanksgiving was declared by President Abraham Lincoln on November 26, 1863.

    There are many things to be thankful for but I think that being fortunate enough to have been born in the United States ranks up there near the top.   What other country has people trying so hard to get IN?

    When I was actively employed, I was in the insulation contracting business.   Insulation manufacturers, to entice you to buy their itchy product rather than their competitor’s itchy product, would offer foreign trips as prizes.   Buy this many dollars  worth of a particular brand in a set period of time and win a trip to an exotic place for you and your wife.  

    Over the years, we were able to go to Europe, Hong Kong, Africa and even Australia.    There was one thing that most of the people we met had in common.  They knew as much about the United States as many Americans do.   Wherever you went to shop, the sales people spoke English.  They knew our cities and often asked if I lived in New York.  

    Whether you like or don’t like who is holding a particular political office at a given point is time, or what political party they belong to, isn’t all that important.   What is important is that there are over 6 billion people on earth and only 300 million of them live in the United States of America.   That’s one out of twenty.  

    Between Thanksgiving and Christmas, take the time to thank God for living here.

    Happy Thanksgiving and Merry Christmas.  

    Sincerely,

    Larry Helminiak

  • 11/01/2017 9:02 AM | Patti Murphy (Administrator)

    Dear Members:

    Pretty soon, the legislators that we elected will be in session in Annapolis. If you’ve never visited the capitol to watch laws being made, you should go. It is a process that is beneficial to all citizens. And you may not know that tours are available! Please visit this web site for information: http://msa.maryland.gov/msa/mdstatehouse/html/tours.html

    There are other options for tours as well. If you're interested, a gentleman named John Wafer, who was the secretary for MdGOP for several years, holds trips to Annapolis for high school students during the Legislative session. His tour is generally open to high school students and their chaperones, with a preference to those 16 and older. The trip would include a visit to the balcony to watch the General Assembly in session and lunch. A typical itinerary includes the following: arrive in Annapolis by 11:45 am, have lunch with the delegation at noon, tour the Statehouse at 1:15, get a photo with Governor if possible, sit in on Legislative hearings from 3:00 to 5:00. If the group chooses the day that Carroll County has a reception, they should be invited.

    If you are interested in finding out more information, please contact Mr. Wafer directly at jdwafer@verizon.net or 410-262-3170.

    Very sincerely,

    Larry Helminiak

    Government Relations Committee Chair

    SCBA board member

  • 10/10/2017 1:39 PM | Patti Murphy (Administrator)

    If you’re reading this letter, you are likely to be a small business owner or work for a small business.  It is likely that you joined SCBA to help your business, and that’s good.    That’s one step toward making your business grow.  All of us want to do what we can to help our business.

    Are you registered to vote?   Are your employees registered to vote?   Keep in mind that the people who make the laws that affect your business have to get elected to be able to pass these laws.  

    I’ve heard so many people over the years say that their one vote won’t make a difference.   So how can you make your vote count the most?  I have a suggestion.

    Before going further, let me say that I am a member of the Republican Central Committee of Carroll County.   If you go to the local fire department carnivals you may have seen me working the voter registration booth.   That experience has actually allowed me access to a number of unregistered voters. 

    The majority of new voters we sign up are students just coming of age to vote.   I give them the card.  When they hand it back, the overwhelming majority of them fill in “unaffiliated.”   At that point I ask them to sit down and we have a talk.  I ask them why they don’t want their vote to count.  They seem shocked.   Here are some points to be made

    ·         Unaffiliated (a.k.a.  independent) voters, in a primary election, can only vote for school board.

    ·         Unaffiliated voters can’t vote in local OR national Democratic OR Republican primaries as primaries are only reserved for voters who are registered as members of that party.  If you are a registered member of the Green Party, for example, you can only vote for Green Party candidates in primaries, on both the national & local level – and that’s, of course, only if there are any!  This rule applies to all party affiliations.

    ·         In many primary elections, particularly local ones, the eventual winner is determined.

    o        In Carroll County, no Democrat has been elected in this century, for any office except school board.

    o        In Baltimore City, Theodore R. McKeldin was the last Republican elected as mayor,  and that was in 1963, 54 years ago.

    o        There are some jurisdictions that go back and forth between parties, but some jurisdictions typically vote solidly one way or the other with long standing regularity.  For example, Carroll County is known for its strong Republican voter base and Baltimore City is known for typically electing Democratic candidates.

    My point is that, if you want your vote to count, and live in a jurisdiction that goes with the same party election after election after election, in order for your vote to affect the outcome, it is worth carefully thinking about whether it is in your best interests to register with the party that usually wins in that jurisdiction.  This may be especially meaningful if it is common for that district to ONLY have candidates from the leading party.  It does not mean that you agree with the national party line – although it will mean that you will only be able to vote in your registered party’s national or local primaries.   But this method may give you an opportunity to make your vote count on the local level.

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