Maryland Senate Passes “Wal-Mart Bill”

Annapolis, Md., Maryland’s Senate passed what has been called the “Wal-Mart bill”—a proposal to fine big employers if they don’t spend the equivalent of 8% of their payroll on medical insurance for employees.

The bill was previously vetoed by Republican Governor Bob Ehrlich. However, it advanced to the House of Representatives on a 30-17 Senate override vote. The proposal headed to the House, which is expected to pass it into law.

The measure applies to Maryland employers who have more than 10,000 workers. The employers must pay a penalty to the state’s health-insurance program if they fall short of the 8% threshold. Of all of Maryland’s employers, only Wal-Mart doesn’t meet the bill’s standards.

Wal-Mart employs 16,988 workers at 53 stores and two warehouses in Maryland.

The bill is being closely watched by legislatures around the country.