Hogan chooses not to fight legislature on 15 bills, including attorney general powers

April 19, 2017

Republican Gov. Larry Hogan has chosen not to fight the Democrat-dominated legislature on 15 bills they sent to him early, expecting vetoes on some.

The governor lost a battle Thursday over the Protect Our Schools Act, a bill to set up new standards for failing schools and preempt authority of the state school board. Hogan vetoed the bill Wednesday. Thursday afternoon, the House overrode his veto by a vote of 90-50, and the Senate followed suit with a vote 32-15.

The most surprising among the 15 bills Hogan allowed to become law without his signature is HB913, forcing the governor to put $1 million a year in the budget of the attorney general in order to sue the Trump administration. Hogan had called the bill “horrible” and “crazy.”

Senate Republican Leader J.B. Jennings was not even aware that the governor had let the bill on AG powers become law until informed by a reporter hours after Hogan’s office had released a simple list of bill numbers with no explanation.

UPDATE: But in an interview with Hagerstown TV station WHAG, Hogan told reporter Brittany Marshall the bills he didn’t sign “weren’t even worth looking at because they didn’t really accomplish anything. It was just sort of political posturing.”

Republican legislators opposed most of the bills

The bills becoming law had two things in common.

Most of the bills had been opposed by all or almost all Republican legislators, sometimes in lengthy floor fights. But they also passed the Senate and House of Delegates by veto-proof majorities, though in some cases the bills had just enough votes to override a veto, such as the House vote on the attorney general’s powers and funding.

Another bill going into law, SB 184, extends the EmPower energy efficiency program that adds charges to electricity bills in order to subsidize home conservation measures, such as increased insulation and Energy Star appliances. Republican senators had attacked the bill as a tax on utility bills.

Several bills Hogan did not veto were directed at proposals made by President Trump or his administration.

One, HB1083, protects funding for Planned Parenthood and other family planning services.  (Unlike many states, Maryland does pay for some abortions through the Medicaid program.)

Another bill, SB571, sets up the Maryland Health Insurance Coverage Protection Commission to monitor federal changes to the federal Affordable Care Act (ACA), Medicaid, the Maryland Children’s Health Program (MCHP), and Medicare and to provide recommendations for state and local action to protect access to affordable health coverage.

A third Trump-related bill, SB884, sets up the Maryland Financial Consumer Protection Commission to assess the impact of potential changes to federal financial industry laws and regulations, budgets, and policies, including changes to the Dodd-Frank law. The commission would also issue recommendations for federal and state actions that are intended to protect residents of the state when conducting financial transactions and receiving financial services.

A bill strongly opposed by Eastern Shore Republicans, HB924, prohibits harvesting in oyster sanctuaries until Department of Natural Resources finishes its study of the sanctuaries, at least a two-year delay.

Other bills that are becoming law without the governor’s signature:

  • SB1198 mandates the governor allocate $10 million a year for the next 10 years to the new Prince George’s County Regional Medical Center.
  • HB271 and its Senate version, SB484, repeal the requirement that the Maryland Transit Administration recover at least 35% of its total operating costs from fares derived from its bus, light rail, and metro subway services in the Baltimore region, as well as other railroad services under its control.
  • HB516 sets up a commission to study universal access of 4-year-olds to pre-kindergarten.
  • SB291 allows collective bargaining for the Maryland Environmental Service, a self-supporting state agency which charges local jurisdictions for its services. These are the same rights enjoyed by other state employees.

By Len Lazarick


4 Responses to Hogan chooses not to fight legislature on 15 bills, including attorney general powers

  1. AliceW on April 20, 2017 at 2:05 am

    Sorry Governor you should veto everyone of them and let those people have full ownership for finger pointing rights! Liberalism is a mental illness without a cure.

  2. Anonymous on April 20, 2017 at 12:22 pm

    “is HB913, forcing the governor to put $1 million a year in the budget of the attorney general in order to sue the Trump administration”
    And we wonder why our taxes are so high. I wonder what they will sue over? Being forced to enforce federal/immigration law that has been on the books for decades? Why didn’t the sue the Obama administration for all the people he claimed to deport? I think it is so ridiculous that they are willing to waste my federal and state tax dollars on some of these frivolous complaints.
    Disclaimer: I think Trump is a joke with a punchline that will, unfortunately, last four years. I think Hilary was a joke that thankfully no one got so it went away. I was not even that fond of Obama because I couldn’t see where he did much of anything for the middle class. Most of all I think it is a disgrace that I keep seeing my, and everyone else’s, hard earned tax money wasted on junk and frivolous revenge lawsuits. To the house, senate, and even Hogan, I want my $0.17 back for this stupid bill because I don’t want you suing on my behalf.

  3. Melissa Davis, visiting Waldorf on April 21, 2017 at 4:39 pm

    Some digging needs to be done, about operation define Democrat. If no Democrat wants to sponsor the bill, then who does it get submitted to? What happens if the bill is a conflict of interest for a legislator to sponsor? By the way, where can I obtain a list of elected clergy? Oh oh oh oh what happened to the term limits bill submitted by hmmm vote of 4, I mean Vogt of 4 — did it even make it out of committee? By the way, how many legislators were at the Maryland March for Life, and know about Jennifer Morbelli, who died from an illegal, I mean legal abortion in Maryland? Immediately, I mean right afterwards. I thought abortions were supposed to be safe.

  4. Melissa Davis, near Pisgah on April 24, 2017 at 8:54 pm

    Is there a Murphys law for Maryland?