Gov. Larry Hogan threw his support Wednesday behind legislation introduced by House Speaker Michael E. Busch — who owes his life to a liver transplant — to provide a tax credit for living organ donors.
Hogan, a Republican, announced his approval of the measure sponsored by the Democratic legislative leader at a regular meeting of the Board of Public Works. Displaying the facial scars left by his recent surgery for skin cancer, the governor said he and his sometimes political rival had found common ground in both having struggled with life-treatening illnesses.
The governor made his announcement one day after Busch testified before a House committee in favor of his bill, which would provide a $7,500 tax credit to living donors of organs or parts of organs for transplant. Joining Busch at the hearing was his sister, Kathleen “Laurie” Bernhardt, who donated part of her liver to her brother last spring after he was diagnosed with nonalcoholic steatohepatitis, a life-threatening condition.
Busch told the committee that the tax credit could help future donors offset costs such as lost work time, travel and personal losses. Eighteen states already offer such a tax credit. The legislation must still pass the House and Senate to become law, but the speaker’s sponsorship makes its passage highly likely.
Earlier Tuesday, the House honored Bernhardt and the University of Maryland Medical Center transplant team that performed the speaker’s operation. Hogan said Wednesday he regretted that he was unable to be there.
Hogan, who said he had the skin procedure Saturday to treat a non-life-threatening form of cancer, said his face “is a little rough-looking.”
“I should say, ‘you should see what the other guy looks like,’ ” he quipped.
It was the governor’s second bout with cancer since he took office in 2015. That year he was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, a far more serious condition. Doctors have since told him he is cancer-free.
Hogan said the skin procedure took 3½ hours. He said it has been a complete success.