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Politics

Could the budget fight cause a special session?

The fight between Gov. Larry Hogan and state Democrats over education funding could be far from over.

At Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller's behest, lawmakers passed a bill that would require the Republican governor to send more money next year to the 13 school districts where it costs the most to educate kids. That would effectively tie Hogan's hands on this budget issue.

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The new governor has said he is weighing whether to veto the bill. Democratic lawmakers have already solicited legal advice on how to override Hogan if he does veto.

Unlike most veto overrides that can wait until when the General Assembly reconvenes in January, this spending measure must become law by July 1 to be effective, according to a letter from the attorney general's office to Democrats on the Senate Budget and Taxation Committee.

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Since the legislature only meets once a year from January to April, state lawmakers would have to call a special session to override a veto of that bill, the letter said`.

House Speaker Michael E. Busch said Thursday a veto would not automatically trigger efforts by the legislature to convene a special session, but he did not rule it out.  Busch said that even with a veto, there is other language in the budget lawmakers could use to send more money to schools next year.

Miller was not available for comment, but he made clear earlier this week that Democrats would not back down on finding ways to force more cash to go to schools.

"We put a stake down," Miller said on Tuesday. "And we're not going to pull it back up."


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