The Montgomery County Council’s Health and Human Services (HHS) Committee at 9 a.m. on Thursday, Nov. 21, will hold a worksession on proposed Bill 27-13 that would establish a County minimum wage for private sector employees for work performed in the County for an employer located in the County. The County minimum wage would be phased in over three years, reaching $11.50 per hour on July 1, 2016 and indexed to increases in the Consumer Price Index-Urban beginning on July 1, 2017.
The HHS Committee, which is chaired by George Leventhal and includes Councilmembers Nancy Navarro and Craig Rice, will meet in the Third Floor Hearing Room of the Council Office Building at 100 Maryland Ave. in Rockville. The meeting will be televised live by County Cable Montgomery (CCM—Cable Channel 6 on Comcast and RCN, Channel 30 on Verizon). The broadcast also will be streamed through the County Web site at www.montgomerycountymd.gov
The chief sponsor of Bill 27-13 is Councilmember Marc Elrich. Council President Navarro and Councilmember Valerie Ervin are co-sponsors. As introduced on Oct. 1, the bill would gradually increase the minimum wage over a three-year period to $12 per hour, but Councilmember Elrich has indicated he would like to amend the bill to have the minimum wage reach $11.50 per hour within three years.
As introduced, Bill 27-13 would:
• Require certain private sector employers in the County to pay a minimum wage to employees working in the County.
• Provide a credit for an employer who provides health insurance to employees working in the County.
• Provide enforcement by the County’s Office of Human Rights and the Human Rights Commission.
Maryland's minimum wage is $7.25 per hour, or $15,000 a year for a full-time, year round worker. This leaves a full-time earner and their family below the Federal poverty line. Twenty-one states have raised their minimum wage above Maryland's rate.
Bill 27-13 would establish a County minimum wage for private sector employees for work performed in the County unless the State or Federal minimum wage is higher. The County minimum wage would be phased in over three years. The rate would be $8.25 per hour on July 1, 2014, $9.75 per hour on July 1, 2015 and $12.00 per hour (amended to $11.50 per hour) on July 1, 2016.
During the phase-in period between July 1, 2014 and July 1, 2016, Bill 27-13 would allow an employer to pay the prior year rate for an employee's first 90 days on the job. Beginning on July 1, 2017, the $11.50 rate would be raised by any increase in the Consumer Price Index on an annual basis. The County minimum wage would not apply to a worker who is not covered by the State minimum wage, a tipped employee or a worker eligible for an opportunity or youth minimum wage under the State or Federal law.
For more information on Bill 27-13—including a look at the minimum wage in other jurisdictions—go to:
At 2 p.m. in the Third Floor Conference Room, the Council’s Public Safety Committee, which is chaired by Phil Andrews and includes Councilmembers Elrich and Roger Berliner, will receive its first update on revenue from the Emergency Medical Reimbursement Program (also known as the ambulance fee).
The County began collecting revenue under the EMS Reimbursement Program in the spring of this year. Also in the spring, the Council approved Bill 7-13, which established that 15 percent of the net revenue collected under the program must be allocated for the benefit of Local Fire and Rescue Departments.
To be discussed at the worksession is that the total revenue received under the EMS Reimbursement Program in Fiscal Year 2013 was $3,431,187. Local fire departments received $451,000 from that total. About $460,000 went for equipment and protective gear for firefighters.
At 2 p.m. in the Seventh Floor Hearing Room, the Council’s Audit Committee, which is chaired by Council President Navarro and includes Councilmembers Ervin, Rice and Hans Riemer, will hold a worksession on the challenges that have been faced since the County began implementation of the Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) financial tracking and reporting system. Representatives of the Office of the Inspector General, the Office of Internal Audit and the Department of Finance will be among those in attendance.
One area of focus at the worksession will be the weaknesses found in the ERP system that can increase opportunities for fraud and that could go undetected. These weaknesses could increase the chance that material errors could occur.
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