In early April, Maryland legislators passed a bill to create a grant program for the installation of Mechanical Insulation.
The bill now goes to the desk of Gov. Larry Hogan for his signature.
For two years, Insulators Local 24 persistently advocated Maryland state legislators to pass a tax incentive program for the installation of Mechanical Insulation.
Their persistency finally paid off, as Sen. Jim Rosapepe (D-21) and Delegate Mary A. Lehman (D-21) were the primary sponsors and Delegate Ben Barnes (D-21), Shaneka Henson (D-30A), Joseline A. Pena-Melnyk (D-21), Susie Proctor (D-27A), Sheila Ruth (D-44B) and Vaughn Stewart (D-19) were co-sponsored Senate Bill 0314 House Bill 0405 in this session.
Senators passed S.B. 0314 unanimously (46-0) on March 17 and on April 9, the House of Delegates passed the legislation with amendments by a 120-15 vote.
The Senate then concurred with House amendments on April 9, sending the bill to Hogan.
The vote was encouraging, as two Mechanical Insulation bills did not gain traction in the 2021 session. While Senate Bill 0738 and House Bill 0982 did not pass, both pieces of legislation raised the awareness and consciousness of state law makers regarding the importance of Mechanical Insulation and the social-economic impact of Maryland.
This year, Insulators Local 24 Business Manager Brian Cavey strongly advocated Maryland Sen. Rosapepe and Delegate Lehman to re-introduced the 2021 versions their respective bills, which they did.
Members of Local 24, Mechanical Insulators LMCT leaders and local contractors provided written and oral testimony on behalf of the legislation that demonstrated the benefits of the energy savings and job creation for the state of Maryland.
While the revised bills were intended to mirror the 2021 proposed legislation for a Mechanical Insulation installation tax credit, legislators compromised to change the bill to a grant program instead of a tax incentive.
The intent of the grant is to not to pay for the whole project, but rather to encourage and educate a building/facility owner about the benefit of mechanical insulation. It is essentially the same concept retail stores and car dealership use when they offer “sales” or “incentive packages;” it is to get the customer into the store to see what else they can buy. Once a contractor is in a facility, it is up to the performance of the service provided and the level of professionalism of the workers.
“Mechanical Insulation offers an incredible return on investment and the creation of work will require the need of an increased professional workforce, which in turn creates not just jobs, but careers in the insulation industry,” said Cavey.
The following are highlights of the Mechanical Insulation Installation Grant Fund program:
- It is available to any business entity, non-profit group or individuals.
- The grant covers Mechanical Insulation materials and labor costs for preparation, assembly and installations.
- It funds 30 percent of the total costs, up to $20,000.
- Work must comply to the standards of ASHRAE Standard 90.1-2019.
According to Cavey, the grant program offers a tremendous opportunity for Local 24 signatory contractors to market themselves to various business who will apply for the grant.
“We can’t wait for the governor to put his signature on this important piece of legislation so we can get to work increasing energy efficiency and creating work for our members” he added.
S.B. 0314 is a good example of what can be done when the Local Union and signatory contractors work together to achieve the same goal of increasing work opportunities.
The development of legislation is an arduous and time-consuming process and the Insulators LMCT is always available to assist with such endeavors.
The LMCT encourages other Locals to build on the success of Local 24 and work to pass legislation that is even more beneficial to the Local and their contractors. Each legislative victory should build upon previous successes and we are ready to help you.