Governor O'Malley Signs Legislation Enabling Extension of Unemployment Insurance Benefits


Extended benefits bill among a handful of Maryland Department of Labor legislative efforts signed into law today

ANNAPOLIS, MD (May 11, 2011) - Yesterday, Governor Martin O'Malley signed several important bills that will enhance the Maryland Department of Labor's ability to provide services for Maryland workers, consumers and homeowners - including legislation that will allow the children of undocumented, tax-paying residents who graduated from Maryland high schools to apply for in-state tuition at Maryland colleges and a bill that allows unemployed jobseekers to extend the period of eligibility to collect unemployment insurance.

"Because of Governor O'Malley's leadership and the work of the General Assembly, the Maryland Department of Labor is building on the progress we've made over the past five years. The bills signed yesterday go a long way to strengthen a safety net for working families, protect consumers and homeowners and help unemployed jobseekers recover from the national economic downturn," said Maryland Labor Secretary Alexander M. Sanchez. "I am especially proud that Maryland recognized the dignity of all of our neighbors and passed the Maryland DREAM Act - making college more accessible for New Americans who came here hoping to live the American Dream. Investments like these in our workforce pipeline will help Maryland be more competitive in the New Economy than other states."

In an effort to develop a workforce with the skills to compete, Governor O'Malley signed into law SB 167, providing in-state tuition to Maryland high school graduates regardless of the immigration status of their parents. Maryland joins 11 other states, including California, Texas, New York and Utah, in extending affordable college to Maryland high school graduates, regardless of the immigration status of the students' parents, provided they have paid taxes in Maryland and are on a path to citizenship.

Governor O'Malley signed SB 882/HB 1228, which provides an extension of federal benefits for long-term unemployed job seekers. This legislation allows the State of Maryland to access an estimated $283 million in Federal unemployment insurance benefits for the long-term unemployed. The U.S. Department of Labor allows for extended benefits for workers who have exhausted regular unemployment insurance benefits during periods of high unemployment. The basic extended benefits program provides up to 13 additional weeks of benefits to unemployed individuals when a state is experiencing high unemployment. As many as 70,000 Marylanders may benefit and nearly 40 other States are already participating. The legislation takes effect October 1 and the DLLR Division of Unemployment Insurance is already working tirelessly to have the systems in place to meet the anticipated demand for extended benefits. As the effective date approaches, eligible Marylanders will receive a letter in late September explaining how to file. Additional information will also be available at Unemployment Insurance web page.

Governor O'Malley also signed a departmental bill (HB 728) that will make the foreclosure mediation process more accessible for homeowners facing foreclosure. It increases the time available for homeowners to opt into mediation from 15 to 25 days. The new law also gives the Commissioner of Financial Regulation authority to improve the process for homeowners through regulation. Regulation increases the flexibility to make improvements to the process in order to reach more homeowners.

A full list of bills enhancing the Department of Labor's service signed yesterday follows:

  • HB 171: Collective Bargaining - Independent Home Care Providers
  • SB 92: State Board of Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Contractors - Sunset Extension and Program Evaluation
  • SB 14/HB 1130: Vehicle Laws - Race-Based Traffic Stops
  • SB 15/HB 34: Commission to Study the Impact of Immigrants in Maryland - Sunset Extension
  • HB 195: Secondhand Precious Metal Object Dealers and Pawnbrokers - License Application and Renewal Fees
  • SB 147: State Commission of Real Estate Appraisers and Home Inspectors - Continuing Professional Competency
  • SB 235: State Board of Master Electricians - Sunset Extension and Revision
  • SB 285: State Real Estate Commission - Reinstatement of License and Inactive Status
  • SB 287: State Board of Public Accountancy - Educational Requirements for Examination and Licensure
  • SB 290: State Board for Professional Engineers - Examinations
  • SB 293: State Board of Examiners of Landscape Architects - Applicants for Licensure - Educational and Experience Requirements
  • SB 370/HB 328: Accountants - Regulation - Preparation of a Compilation of Financial Statements
  • SB 516/HB 842: Foreclosed Residential Property - Tenants - Collections of Rent Payments - Prior Notice
  • SB 658/HB 1181: State Commission of Real Estate Appraisers and Home Inspectors - Special Fund and Registration and Regulation of Real Estate Appraisal Management Companies
  • SB 728/HB 1135: State Board for Professional Engineers - Increase in Membership and Practice Specialties
  • SB 741/HB 1022: Commercial Law - Debt Settlement Services
  • SB 746: Economic Development - Task Force on Industrial Job Creation in Baltimore County
  • SB 839: Counties - Kennel Licenses - Requirement of Breeders
  • SB 950/HB 1116: Prince George's County - Secondhand Precious Metal Object Dealers - Precious Metal Objects - Holding Period
  • SB 980: Credit Unions - Boards of Directors - Electronically Conducted Elections
  • HB 12: Procurement - Employee Uniforms and Equipment - Place of Manufacture
  • HB 67: State Board of Architects - Sunset Extension and Program Evaluation
  • HB 69: State Board of Professional Engineers - Sunset Extension and Program Evaluation
  • HB 358: Office of the Commissioner of Financial Regulation, the Banking Board and the State Collection Agency Licensing Board - Sunset Extension and Program Evaluation
  • HB 362: Maryland Home Improvement Commission - Sunset Extension and Program Evaluation
  • HB 757: Governor's Workforce Investment Board - Development of Educational Programs to Aid Unemployed State Residents
  • HB 758: Task Force on Funding a Green Technology - Life Science and Health Information Technology Loan Assistance Repayment Program
  • HB 1143: Business Regulation - Secondhand Precious Metal Object Dealers - Exempted Transactions and Record Keeping Requirements

DLLR oversees the O'Malley-Brown administration's efforts to prevent foreclosure and protect homeowners from fraud; develop and train a dynamic and skilled workforce to compete in the new economy; enforce wage and safety laws that protect workers in the workplace; provide occupational and professional licensing to protect consumers against incompetent and unscrupulous practitioners; and provide a safety net for unemployed Marylanders while they find new work in a recovering economy.