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Maryland governor signs two worker-friendly bills

Last month, we wrote about two bills that awaited review on Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan’s desk. We now know that he decided to sign both into law, a positive sign for state workers. 

The correctional-officer Workers’ Compensation bill   

The governor signed Maryland H.B. 205 into law on May 15. As we described in our earlier post, this law adds state correctional officers to a group of public-service workers who receive significantly higher amounts of Workers’ Compensation benefits for permanent partial disabilities that last fewer than 75 weeks.

Others already in this category include paramedics, police officers and firefighters. 

Eligibility for these higher-level benefits will begin for correctional worker claims that originate after September 30, 2018. 

The Slow Down to Get Around legislation 

On May 8, Governor Hogan signed H.B. 531/S.B. 445, known as the Slow Down to Get Around or SDTGA bill, that will require vehicles that approach garbage or recycling trucks stopped on Maryland roads to follow safe passing procedures. As we said in our previous post, the approaching driver will be required to signal that he or she is changing lanes to move away from the stopped truck. 

If a safe lane change is not possible, the approaching vehicle must slow down and pass the stopped truck using a reasonable speed. 

This bill is part of the National Waste and Recycling Association’s national campaign to make working conditions safer for sanitation workers. The new requirements go into effect on October 1, 2018. 

According to Waste Dive, Maryland is the 18th state to enact a version of SDTGA legislation and garbage collection work is the fifth-most-dangerous job nationally. 

We applaud these legislative attempts to make workplaces safer and to enhance workers’ compensation benefits for dangerous public-service work.

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