Here’s a fun new law for all you Maryland employers. As of July 1, 2019, the Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation will officially be known only as the “Department of Labor.” So now our handy way of distinguishing between the state (DLLR) and the federal (DOL) agencies will disappear.

In case you’re wondering why this was necessary, well, apparently folks were getting confused about what the Department actually does, which is licensing and regulating business. According to the fiscal note, “the department has received inquiries related to marriage, firearm, and health-related licensing.” I guess this is such a concern that the Democrat-led General Assembly unanimously passed the bill and our Republican Governor approved it. (Ah, a brief moment of bi-partisanship in an era of deep polarization.)

By the way, the law provides

That letterhead, business cards, and other documents reflecting the renaming of the Department of Labor, Licensing, and Regulation to be the Maryland Department of Labor may not be used until all letterhead, business cards, and other documents already in print and reflecting the name of the Department before the effective date of this Act have been used. (Emphasis added!!)

Interesting drafting – does the use of “all” mean that every last scrap of paper with “Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation” must be used before they can switch over to the new name? God only knows when the last business card will be used… And what happens in the meantime when one person runs out of business cards while others still have them? Do they have to order more with “DLLR” on them since they can’t switch over? In which case, WHEN DOES IT END? Honestly, this could take years…

The law also provides

That the publisher of the Annotated Code of Maryland, in consultation with and subject to the approval of the Department of Legislative Services, shall correct, with no further action required by the General Assembly, cross–references and terminology rendered incorrect by this Act.

So in one fell swoop, the General Assembly has authorized a publisher to amend dozens (if not hundreds) of laws. That’s an efficient delegation of power. (Perhaps a little scary.)

And as my partner Parker Thoeni wryly noted, if an employee says to you that he’s made a complaint to the DOL, you’ll now have to ask “Which one?”