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Maryland Senate expected to override governor, give felons voting rights sooner

The Maryland Senate today is expected to override Gov. Larry Hogan's veto of a bill that would give released felons the right to vote.

The House of Delegates voted to overturn Hogan's veto last month. The Senate planned to delay action until today, when lawmakers expected an empty seat in the chamber would be filled.

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It was on Wednesday, when Del. Craig Zucker, a Montgomery County Democrat, was appointed to replace Karen Montgomery, who retired before the start of the General Assembly session.

The Senate needs 29 votes -- three-fifths of the 47-member chamber -- to overturn the governor's veto. Zucker is expected to be key.

The legislation, cut down by Hogan last year, would allow people convicted of felonies to vote as soon as they are released from prison rather than having to wait until they complete parole or probation.

The House voted, 85-56, to overturn Hogan's veto of the felons voting rights bill. The issue has generated passionate debate on both sides.

Five of the Republican governor's vetoes have already been overidden by the Democrat-controlled legislature.

A bill making possession of drug paraphernalia a civil offense and setting a fine for smoking marijuana in public will become law next month, the state will receive more tax revenue from online hotel bookings, police and prosecutors will have to prove cash and other assets are tainted before seizing them from suspects in criminal investigations and an Annapolis arts center will get $2 million from the state.

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