Gov. Hogan vetoed nearly three dozen bills passed by the 2020 General Assembly. This included 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.
However, our state delegates and senators can override these 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 courses as well as 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; however, a provision in the bill tied the two education measures together. Until the Kirwan bill becomes law, the school construction bill cannot 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.
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
Note: 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 https://governor.maryland.gov/2020/05/07/governor-hogan-announces-legislative-actions-2