Monday, May 11, 2020

Gov. Hogan Vetoes Over 30 Days, Don't Forget to Vote, Who I'm Voting For

Gov. Hogan  vetoed nearly three dozen bills passed by the 2020 General Assembly, including the Blueprint for Maryland’s Future, the proposed multibillion-dollar education reform plan, as well as the revenue bills to fund it.  He also let 600 bills become law without his signature.

The Delegates and Senators can override the vetoes next January when the General Assembly resumes or in a special session that might be called this summer.
Here are some of the bills that were vetoed.
*Kirwan Commission reforms: The “Blueprint for Maryland’s Future” required billions in extra spending on public schools to carry out education reforms recommended by the Kirwan Commission on education. The programs included expanded prekindergarten, higher teacher pay, improved career- and college-prep and more support for schools with concentrations of students from poor families.

The veto of this bill means that another bill on school construction will not go into effect. Hogan allowed the Built to Learn Act to become law, generating $2.2 billion in extra funding for school construction over the next five years using bonds that would be paid back with casino revenues.

But a provision in the bill tied the two education measures together. Until the Kirwan bill becomes law, the school construction bill does not go into effect.

*HBCUs: This bill would have required the state to spend $580 million to settle a long-running lawsuit from historically black colleges and universities that alleged disparate treatment, such as the state allowing predominately white institutions to duplicate programs at HBCUs.


*Tobacco, nicotine and digital ads: Multiple taxes were rolled into one bill: an increase in the per-pack tax on cigarettes, new taxes on nicotine vaping systems and a first-in-the-nation tax on digital advertising.

*Digital downloads: This bill would have extended the state’s 6% sales tax to digital downloads of products such as e-books, songs, movies and streaming TV services.

Other Vetoes

*Baltimore Crime Resources: This bill would have required the state to fund a variety of efforts to tackle crime in Baltimore City. They include hiring crime prevention coordinators for 10 “micro zones” in the city, allowing state police to patrol certain highways in the city, creating a new warrant task force and staffing Baltimore’s pretrial complex with state officers so that city police officers can be used elsewhere.

*Long guns: This bill would have required background checks on private sales and transfers of rifles and shotguns. The buyer and seller would have to go to a licensed dealer to have a federal background check completed.

*Prescription drug review board: This bill would have charged a fee to companies that sell prescription drugs and used the money to run the state’s Prescription Drug Affordability Board.

*Baltimore Symphony Orchestra: This bill would have given $5.5 million in state aid to the financially struggling BSO over five years.

*Ban on the pesticide chlorpyrifos

*Expansion of MARC train service into Virginia and Delaware, and

[A good deal of this material was taken from an article in the Baltimore Sun by Pamela Wood and Luke Broadwater]

For a complete list of the Governor’s vetoes and his reasons for vetoing the bills, you can go to

Remember to Vote
I received my ballot in the mail.  Did you?
The Maryland Primary Election has been moved to Tuesday, June 2 and is primarily vote by mail. Ballots have been sent to every registered voter in our state. Voting by mail is very easy - just fill out your ballot, sign the envelope, and drop it in the mail. Postage is pre-paid, so you don't need to add a stamp. All ballots must be postmarked by June 2 to be counted. 
If you do not receive a ballot in the mail within the next week, please call the board of elections and they will send one to you. The number is:  301-341-7300
If you prefer, you can drop your ballot at a ballot drop box location from May 21 through June 2 at 8:00 p.m. There are drop box locations in the following locations:
1.   College Park Community Center: 5051 Pierce Avenue College Park, MD 20740 
2.   Kentland Community Center: 2413 Pinebrook Avenue Landover, MD 20785 
3.   Prince George’s County Board of Elections: 1100 Mercantile Lane, Suite 115A Largo, MD 20774
Fill out your ballot as soon as you receive it and send it back. 
There will be a very limited number of in-person voting locations open on Election Day only. Polls will only be open from 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., and I encourage you to vote by mail from home if possible. Click here to find a list of in-person voting locations.
Who I’m Voting For
I don’t like to tell people who they should vote for but here are the people I’m voting for in the upcoming primary and the reasons why.
President:  I am going to do everything I can to see that Trump is defeated and that means working hard to make sure that Joe Biden is elected President.  Even saying that I am still going to vote for Bernie Sanders in the Primary.   While he has withdrawn as a nominee for President, his program is what I believe in.  Given the current crisis his advocacy of universal health care was prescient.   It now just makes current sense.  The more Sanders people elected to the Democratic Convention the better the platform will be and the greater chance that there will be rules enacted to ensure that the Party process is more Democratic (e.g. making sure we get rid of ‘super delegates’).  After the Convention we will all work together to defeat the worst President in modern history.
Congress:  Anthony Brown.  I think he has done a very good job.  He’s been responsive to his constituents and has shown an independent streak in Congress and has split with the Democratic leadership when necessary and has co-sponsored legislation for Medicare4All. 
Judges:  I am voting for the Judges recommended by the Judicial Nominating Commission.  I personally know one of the Judges, Cathy Serrette, and know her to be a hardworking, compassionate and very progressive jurist.  She spearheaded the creation of the County’s Family Justice Center for victims of domestic violence, human trafficking, sexual assault and elder abuse.  The other Judges recommended are Bryon Bereano, Wytonja Curry, Sharon Kelsey and Jaret McCarthy.
On a Personal Note
            I hope people are staying safe during the current COVID-19 crisis.  My wife and I are staying home and are trying to stay safe.  We go out only when necessary.  The virus has done a job on our community. In Prince George’s County over 9,000 people have been confirmed having the virus and over 300 people have died  We know too many people who have had friends and relatives who have passed away as a result of COVID-19.  The ‘new normal’ will bring many new problems for our community.  There will be many businesses that won’t be able to open and people who won’t have jobs.  We will need the government at all levels to take aggressive action to help our residents.  And we will have to be vocal to tell our elected representatives that action is necessary. 
            I haven’t been sending out emails about COVID-19 because honestly I’ve been inundated with email about the crisis and I’m not sure I had much to add.  My main contribution has been to support my wife, Jodi Beder, who has been playing music (cello) on our porch 1 PM every day to comfort our community.  Some neighbors come by and listen (following social distancing guidelines) and I stream it live on my Facebook page every day.  You should check it out.  She was featured on Friday on Channel 7 TV:
I’m quite proud of her and glad I can contribute by recording her live! 
I hope everybody stays safe and if you have any questions or need any assistance send me an email.  Jimmy