Hogan veto transit spending, collective bargaining, COVID surveillance and more

As Saturday’s deadline looms for Hogan to take action on legislation the General Assembly passed in its 2021 session, the governor weighed in on hundreds of bills on Friday, vetoing 19 measures and allowing hundreds more to become law without his signature.

Gov. Lawrence J. Hogan Jr. (R) vetoed several other pieces of legislation on Friday, targeting bills that would have expanded workers’ rights, strengthened public transportation, allowed local governments to raise taxes and allowed some teachers to continue teaching at a distance in the next school year.

As Saturday’s deadline looms for Hogan to take action on legislation the General Assembly passed in its 2021 session, the governor weighed in on hundreds of bills on Friday, vetoing 19 measures and allowing hundreds more to become law without his signature.

Hogan vetoed four bills Wednesday, and signed dozens of others earlier this month. Lawmakers rescinded 40 Hogan vetoes from the 2020 and 2021 legislative sessions as this year’s session unfolded and will no doubt resume their latest round of vetoes when they next call.

In a statement Friday, Senate Speaker Bill Ferguson (D-Baltimore City) said he was “surprised” by the number of vetoes, which he said included “legislation to help Marylanders fight the COVID pandemic, to strengthen Maryland’s transportation system, to protect the rights of our working families, and more.

Hogan’s office on Friday highlighted his veto of House bill 1322, a measure of Del. Alonzo T. Washington (D-Prince George’s) which would allow school staff to continue to teach remotely during the 2021-2022 school year under certain circumstances. Hogan, who has clashed frequently with teachers’ unions, insisted that school districts resume classroom instruction as quickly as possible.

“As we move forward in our recovery, we must do everything in our power to keep Maryland’s students healthy, safe and learning. We cannot create additional barriers, which would only compound the confusion with the limited time remaining in the school year. Our students deserve better, ”Hogan wrote in a letter to Ferguson and House Speaker Adrienne A. Jones (D-Baltimore County) explaining his veto.

Hogan also vetoed three bills he said could lead to higher taxes – SB 133 / HB 319, Senator James C. Rosapepe (D-Prince George’s) and Del. Julie Palakovich Carr (D-Montgomery), who would allow local governments to raise taxes for certain individuals; HB 933, sponsored by Del. J. Sandra Bartlett (D-Anne Arundel), which would allow Anne Arundel County to increase transfer taxes on certain real estate transactions and use the additional revenues for affordable housing programs; and HB 1209, a bill from House Majority Leader Eric G. Luedtke (D-Montgomery) to repeal the expiration date of a sales tax on carsharing services.

“As we begin our road to recovery, it would be unreasonable to raise taxes on our citizens and job creators at this critical time,” Hogan wrote in his veto. a message.

The Maryland Fair Funding Coalition responded with a statement saying that by vetoing the bill giving local governments more flexibility to raise taxes, Hogan “made it clear that he supported taxes that impose a heavier burden. to low-income and middle-class families. “

The governor also vetoed a bill that had been in the works for seven years – SB 746 / HB 894, Senator Guy J. Guzzone (D-Howard) and Del. Keith Haynes (D-Baltimore City) – who would extend collective bargaining rights to community college workers across the state.

Hogan also vetoed two other collective bargaining measures – SB 9, Senator Benjamin F. Kramer (D-Montgomery), who reportedly expanded collective bargaining rights on campuses in the Maryland university system, and SB 717 / HB 904, Senator Craig J. Zucker (D-Montgomery) and Del. Tony Bridges (D-Baltimore City), another collective bargaining measure in higher education. The governor mentionned these bills “seek to solve problems that do not exist and to change labor practices that have existed for decades”.

Hogan also vetoed bills to strengthen public transportation in the state, including SB 199 / HB 114, a measure from State Senator Cory V. McCray (D-Baltimore City) and Del. Brooke E. Lierman (D-Baltimore City) to help the state catch up on transit maintenance, and SB 97, Rosapepe, which would force the state to begin marketing the Purple Line light rail project in Prince George and Montgomery counties. Hogan said the two bills would have limited the state’s fiscal flexibility.

The McCray-Lierman legislation was a top priority for leaders in the Baltimore area, still angry at Hogan’s decision to cancel funding for the proposed Red Line project in 2015, and transit advocates and environmentalists were in disbelief. Friday.

“Gov. Hogan is out of step with what Marylanders need in the 21st century, ”said Josh Tulkin, director of the Maryland Sierra Club. “This legislation would help Marylanders have better access to safe and reliable public transportation and reduce climate pollution. We call on the General Assembly to override its veto as soon as they are in session. “

Hogan also vetoed HB 464, co-sponsored by the Montgomery County and Prince George County delegations, which would expand the application process that government agencies must follow to build public projects in the area.

Agencies would be required to submit full explanatory reports and architectural drawings to the Maryland National Capital Park and Planning Commission (M-NCPPC) when proposing public projects. The M-NCPPC would then have three days to accept the submissions or provide the organization with an explanation of why they are considered incomplete. Organizations would then have the opportunity to modify and resubmit their plans.

“Bill 464 jeopardizes the economic development of Montgomery and Prince George counties by delaying critical projects through a unique and subjective set of processes and approvals not followed in other parts of the country. ‘State or region’, Hogan wrote in its veto letter.

Another veto from Hogan was a measure sponsored by Del. Jessica Feldmark (D-Howard), HB 278, which would change the criteria that establish what constitutes a qualified position and an area of ​​revitalization under the job creation tax credit program. Under the bill, a skilled position would set standards for employee pay rates, have career advancement training requirements and paid time off, allow collective bargaining, and guarantee workers’ compensation. , health and retirement benefits.

In addition, the definition of a revitalization zone would be broadened to include level 1 counties.

Hogan said the legislation “will win [the] purpose ”of the Tax Credit for the Creation of Jobs.

“We need to support Maryland’s job creators, not place heavy restrictions on successful incentive programs that bring economic growth to our state,” he said. wrote.

Hogan also vetoed measures requiring more planning for the state’s response to COVID-19 and greater oversight of state government emergency procurement decisions – an issue that has become particularly relevant. during the pandemic. A measure protecting commercial tenants from certain liabilities during the first six months of the pandemic also hit the cutting room floor.

In addition, Hogan has vetoed clean energy measures and bills relating to the regulation of utilities.

Click here for a full list of governor’s vetoes.

Click here for a list of House bills he made it possible to become law without his signature.

Click here for a list of Senate bills he made it possible to become law without his signature.

Check back with Maryland Matters for more coverage and analysis.

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