Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan vetoed several significant bills that lawmakers passed during an abbreviated legislative session this year. Here’s what those bills would have done.
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 would have included expanded prekindergarten, higher teacher pay, improved career- and college-prep and more support for schools with concentrations of students from poor families.
Lawmakers could override Hogan’s veto when they next hold a legislative session, either a special session later this year or at their next regular session in January. Or they could write a new education bill, one that takes into account the budget strains caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
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.
But a provision in the bill tied the two education measures together. Until the Kirwan bill becomes law, the school construction bill does not 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.
Crime and policing
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. The bill had a price tag of about $3 million per year starting in 2022.
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.