Sunday, January 10, 2016

Votes to Override Governor Hogan’s Vetoes Will Be The First Item On the Agenda As the Legislature Convenes This Week

                The Maryland General Assembly convenes on Wednesday January 13th.  The session lasts ninety days and all bills have to be passed by that day. The last day is called “sine die” and any bill that has not passed has to be introduced the following year.

                Last year the Governor vetoed four important bills that passed the legislature. (There were actually six bills he vetoed but two of them were different versions of similar bills.)  In the beginning of the following session the legislature can over-ride a Gubernatorial with a 60% vote.   While the Democrats in the legislature have more than 60% in the Senate and House of Delegates, not every Democrat voted for these bills when they passed and we expect the votes to be very close.
                I voted for all four bills and will be voting to override the vetoes.  Here are brief descriptions of the four bills that we will be voting on.  There is a link after each description if you want to see the full text and more complete summary of the legislation.
  1. Voting Rights for Former Prisoners (HB 980) – This bill allows people to vote who are out of prison but still on parole.  These returning citizens can get work and pay taxes when they get out of prison they should also be allowed to vote!
  2. Internet Travel Company Tax Loophole (SB190) – The legislature plugged a loophole that  allows internet travel agencies (Travelocity, Orbitz, etc.) to only send part of the sales tax they charge on hotel rooms to the state.  These companies currently charge the full sales tax to the consumer but only send to the state the tax on the wholesale price of the room they purchased from the hotel and not on the retail price that the consumer pays for the room in an on-line purchase.
  3. Decriminalization of Drug Paraphernalia (SB517)– This bill reduced the penalty for the possession or use of drug paraphernalia involving the use or possession of less than 10 grams of marijuana to a civil offense
  4. Seizure and Forfeiture (SB 528) – This bill mandated restrictions on when police officers can seize cash and property during criminal investigations.
 I will let everyone know the outcome of the override votes.