2018 Legislative Watch
- HB 673/SB 22: Debt Exemption
It has been 30 years since Maryland has raised its debt exemption threshold. We need to bring our exemptions up-to-date to account for the increased costs of living. In 1988, tuition at a four year college cost, on average, $3,190 per year. Today the average cost has increased by 213% to $9,970. The median rent in 1990 was $600 per month, while today it has more than doubled to $1,478. Wages haven’t kept up with the rising costs-of-living and neither have Maryland’s debt exemption laws. Time to pass legislation that would impose modest increases to our state's debt exemption threshold.
Read our fact sheet about the issue by clicking here.
- HB 656/SB 945 and HB 657/SB 1059: Non-Driving Related Factors in Auto Insurance
What does your education or your occupation have to do with your auto insurance? It has nothing to do with how you drive, but based on current Maryland law, these factors may drive up the cost of your car insurance. MCRC is working to remove certain non-driving related factors from pricing auto insurance and move towards ending discrimination in the industry.Read our one-pager about gender and marital status as discriminatory non-driving related factors by clicking here.
Read our one-pager about education and occupation as discriminatory non-driving related factors by clicking here.
- SB 1068: Student Loan Servicing
Student loan servicers are committing many of the same offenses that the mortgage servicing industry participated in leading up to the financial crisis. As more federal student protections are rolled back, Maryland has a unique opportunity to reinstate vital protections for borrowers in our state.
SB 1068 is a consumer protection omnibus bill. Within it is a section on student loan servicing, which clarifies and makes explicit that student-loan servicers should be licensed by the Commissioner of Financial Regulation. Not only will this classification assert stronger consumer protections on the student loan servicing industry, but it will enable the Commissioner of Financial Regulation’s Office to examine and license these firms, as well as hold them accountable. It also creates an ombudsman role – housed within the Commissioner of Financial Regulation’s office – to help student borrowers who are having problems with their student loans or with their servicer.
Read more in our fact sheet by clicking here.
HB 1081/SB 1050: Debtors' Prisons
Maryland has created a system of de facto debtors prisons. Maryland's Constitution says that "no person shall be imprisoned for debt," but each month, the Maryland District Court issues about 130 arrest warrants for consumers who are being sued for debt.
Under this proposal, when Marylanders are picked up, they complete the required forms and are released. No one is jailed for debt. This reduces the burden on the sheriffs’ departments, jails, taxpayers, and judges and creates a more fundamentally fair process for indigent consumers.
Learn more by downloading our fact sheet by clicking here.
- HB 1103/SB 795: For-Profit School Regulation
In recent years, for-profit colleges and career schools have come under scrutiny for poor student outcomes and high debt for graduates relative to earnings.
HB 1103/SB 795 increases disclosure requirements for for-profit schools operating in the state. It also creates clear regulations for MHEC to implement to create a Guaranty Fund for defrauded for-profit school students. The bill dictates that all for-profit colleges in the state must pay into the fund – regardless of performance – and that the fund must maintain a balance no less than “the amount of money that would be needed to refund all the Maryland students at the for-profit institution of higher education that has the largest student tuition liability in the state.”
Learn more about this issue in our fact sheet by clicking here.