Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Governor Hogan Vetoes Eight Bills - Other Legislation Becomes Law

Last Friday was the last day that Governor Hogan had to either sign a bill that passed the Maryland General Assembly, let the bill become law without signing it, or veto the bill.

If a bill is vetoed the General Assembly  can over-ride the veto next January.   A veto-over ride needs 60% of the House and Senate.  The Democratic majority is somewhat over 65% in both chambers.

On Friday  Governor Hogan vetoed 8 bills and let 300 bills become law without his signature.  He had previously signed hundreds of other bills.

The eight bills Hogan vetoed were:
  • The elimination of the state’s controversial Handgun Permit Review Board, which reviews and makes the final ruling on police decisions over who can carry concealed handguns. Some legislators have been critical of the board and its political appointees and argued that there are better ways to monitor what individuals are allowed to carry concealed weapons, The legislation would have sent appeals to administrative judges, rather than the panel.
  • *Ban-the-box” legislation, which would have limited the ability of many employers to make initial inquiries about a job applicant’s criminal record.
  • Oyster management: legislation sought to create a new process for developing plans for managing Maryland’s oyster population and regulating the harvest.
  • A bill that would have allowed more immigrants who live in Maryland to be eligible for in-state tuition,
  • A bill that would have required an annual $3.8 million allocation for the state to expand its bike lane program.
  • A bill that expands the ability of state workers to file grievances.
  • A bill that expanded transparency over gubernatorial appointments.
  • A bill that would have required trains carrying freight to have at least two crew members if the train is being operated “in the same rail corridor as a high-speed passenger or commuter train.”

There were a lot of important bills that the Governor signed or let become law without his signature. Here are some of the bills I was following.

Governor Signed Legislation

Expanded Tax Credit for Child Care (SB870)
               The bill would allow those Marylanders to claim more in credits, while expanding the credits to residents who make more than $50,000 but less than $141,000. That expands the number of Marylanders eligible for the tax credits from 23,000 to about 114,200 taxpayers.

Raising the Age of Selling Tobacco to 21 (HB1169/SB 895)

Ignition Interlock System (HB55)
         Requiring that an ignition interlock system be equipped with a camera capable of recording still images of the person.

Patients Bill of Rights (HB145)
             Requiring a hospital to provide patients with a patient's bill of rights and to provide patients with a translator, a  interpreter

Tax Credits for Grocery Stores in Food Deserts:  (HB188)
           This bill authorizes a tax credit in Prince George’s County for new food stores in what are determined to be ‘food deserts’ in the County.

U Visa Legislation (HB214)
             This bill will ensure that victims of crimes or witness of crimes who help the police can get a visa to keep them in the country
Governor Did Not Sign Legislation but These Bills Have Become Law

Banning Discrimination in Underwriting and Rating Because of Status As A Surviving Spouse  (HB191)

 Clear Energy Act (SB 516)  
            The bill mandates that 50 percent of the state’s electricity come from renewable sources, such as wind and solar power, by 2030.

Education Blueprint for Maryland Future (SB 1030)  
             Legislation mandates over $725  million in state spending for education over the next three years. The funding follows the recommendations of the Kirwin Commission that has been reviewing the education priorities for the State.  The legislation calls for $255 million in increased funding from state taxpayers for public schools for fiscal year 2020 and overall $750 million in fiscal year 2021 to 2023.
Occupational Licenses or Certificates – Prohibition on use of Criminal Records (HB22)  
Option for Gender Neutral Drivers License   (SB 196)
           Bill allow residents to apply for licenses with gender identifiers of “M,” “F,” or “X.”

Prohibiting Deceptive Acts by Mortgage Lenders (HB425)

Prohibiting use of Styrofoam  (HB109/SB295)     

Prescription Drug Affordability Board  (HB 768)     
Maryland will become the first state empowered to limit what state and local government employees pay for certain prescription drugs. Policymakers consider the Prescription Drug Affordability Board an initial step to policing rising drug prices statewide and envision it as a national model to curb runaway drug costs.
Bills That Were Vetoed But the Legislature Over-rode the Veto and Are Now Law

$15 Minimum Wage 
            HB 166/SB 280   General Assembly over-rode Governor’s veto and is now law.

Flexible School Calendar
             Overturns the Governor.’s Executive Order (that mandates all schools to start after Labor Day) to allow a local school board to set the school calendar.  SB 128 General Assembly over-rode Governor’s veto and is now law.
Bills Vetoed by the Governor And Need a Legislative Over-ride (next January) to Become Law        

Movement of Railroad Freight - Required Two Person Crew (HB66)
            This bill would prohibit the movement of freight in the same rail corridor as a high speed commuter or passenger train unless the freight train has at least two workers.

Maryland Dream Act (SB 537)
              Expands the people eligible for in-state tuition