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Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller, Maryland Governor Larry Hogan, and House Speaker Michael E. Busch, sign bills that were passed in the Maryland General Assembly 2016 session. (Amy Davis, Baltimore Sun video)

Gov. Larry Hogan and the leaders of the General Assembly were upbeat about the just-ended legislative session as they gathered to sign 106 bills Tuesday.

The governor joined Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller and House Speaker Michael E. Busch at the traditional post-session bill signing. The annual 90-day session ended at midnight Monday.

During the ceremony, there was no mention of the tax cut that failed the previous night or the political clashes that marked the Republican governor's second session with the Democratic-controlled legislature.

Hogan noted that, just like last year, state lawmakers did not increase taxes. And he thanked the Assembly for passing some landmark legislation. Among other measures, lawmakers passed sweeping changes to Maryland's criminal justice policies that are aimed, in part, at spending more on drug treatment and less on incarcerating nonviolent offenders.

"We sent a message to Marylanders that we can work together in a bipartisan fashion," Hogan told the audience assembled in the State House reception room.

Among the bills signed Tuesday was one that allows performance-based raises for state law enforcement officers. Other signing ceremonies will be held this month and next.

Lawmakers worked deep into the night Monday to push bills across the finish line by the midnight deadline. Some made it, and some didn't.

Miller said the 90 days were "very successful," but renewed his call for a special session to consider tax cuts and a bill that would require employers to offer paid sick leave, both of which failed when negotiations broke down late Monday.

"It could be a one-day special session if the governor, speaker and I agree on something," Miller said.

Busch, however, said he saw no "urgency" to reconvene. Hogan spokesman Douglass Mayer said the governor doesn't think a special session would accomplish anything.

Bills approved Monday included one that would require the Maryland Transportation Authority to put money into a fund to pay for replacement of the more than 75-year-old Harry W. Nice Memorial Bridge over the Potomac River in Southern Maryland by 2030.

The bill, opposed by the Hogan administration, was a reaction to the administration's system-wide toll decrease last summer, which left less money to replace the two-lane bridge.

The measure was amended to answer the administration's concern that it would violate the state's agreement with bondholders by specifying that operations and maintenance at toll facilities, plus the authority's debt service, had to be paid each year before up to $75 million could go into the fund.

Spokesmen for Hogan said the governor would study the final bill before deciding whether to sign or veto it. The measure passed by veto-proof margins in the Senate and the House.

Also passed, but not by a veto-proof margin in the Senate, was a bill opposed by the administration setting up an independent oversight board at the Maryland Transit Administration.

That bill passed after a vote to cut off debate. Republicans had tried to talk the legislation to death by running out the clock.

Proponents said it would give transit riders an independent voice in MTA operations and planning. Opponents said it infringed on the governor's power to manage the agency.

Two gun control measures died in the final hours after a conference committee of senators and delegates tried to combine them into a single bill. Republicans, led by Frederick County Sen. Michael J. Hough, cried foul. They said Democrats stitched a controversial measure barring guns on college campuses into a broadly supported measure to get firearms out of the hands of convicted domestic abusers.

When it became clear Republicans were willing to filibuster, Miller pulled the bill from the Senate's agenda.


Baltimore Sun reporter Pamela Wood contributed to this article.

mdresser@baltsun.com

twitter.com/michaeltdresser

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