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Hogan Vetoes Transit Oversight Bill, 5 Others

May 28th, 2016 by WCBC Radio

 

WBAL reportsGov. Larry Hogan faced a deadline of Saturday to sign or veto bills passed in this year's legislative session. On Friday, the governor yvetoed six bills that ere popular with Democrats, and used strong language explaining why. The move sets up override votes when lawmakers return to session in January.

Two of the bills vetoed deal with transportation, as Democrats this year criticized Hogan for cancelling the Red Line light rail project in Baltimore, in favor of road and bridge projects in rural areas.

One of the bills would have created an oversight board for the Maryland Transit Administration.

In a veto letter to House Speaker Mike Busch, the governor called the bill, a "sophomoric attack on sound transportation policy, by creating a …politically driven board top second guess the authority of an executive branch agency."

 

Hogan also noted that under the bill 11 of the 16 members of the board would come from just six jurisdictions of the state.

On April 11, the last day of the legislative session, the House  gave final approval to the bill by a vote of 87-51, two votes more than the 85 needed to override a veto. The Senate approved the bill by a 26-19 vote. Democrats need at least 29 votes to override a veto.

Hogan also vetoed a bill to replace the Harry W. Nice Bridge in Southern Maryland at a cost of $1-billion.

In a letter to Senate President Mike Miller, Hogan called the bill "unnecessary," and notes it is as "misguided" as a bill to score transportation projects according to theri environmental impact and ability to reduce traffic.  The governor vetoed that bill at the end of March, and lawmakers overrode the veto in early April.  

The bill on the Harry Nice Bridge was sponsored by Senate Finance Committee Chairman Thomas "Mac" Middleton, who is from Southern Maryland.

The bill passed vote chambers with more than enough votes to override a veto.

The governor also vetoed a bill sponsored by Senate Education, Health and Environmental Affairs Committee chair Joan Carter Conway, that would ban Morgan State University from building student apartments in the 1500 block of Havenwood Road, unless the Hillen Improvement Association approves the deal. Carter Conway represents the Baltimore City district that includes Morgan State University.  

 

In his letter to Miller, Hogan said the bill "represents improper and unwanted interference by the State Legislature into what is clearly a local zoning matter."

Lawmakers approved the bill last month with more than enough votes to override a veto.

Hogan also vetoed a bill that would have set up "the Maryland Education Development Collaborative" an 19 member board including lawmakers that would advise the State Board of Education along with local school boards on education policy. Hogan called the bill unconstitutional, violating the separation of powers in the Maryland Constitution.

Lawmakers unanimously passed that bill this year.

The governor also vetoed both a House and a Senate bill that would increase the state's renewable energy portfolio standard.

The Senate bill was sponsored by Senate majority leader Catherine Pugh. The identical House bill was sponsored by Montgomery County Del. Bill Frick.

In veto letter to both Busch and Miller, Hogan said that it would amount to a tax increase on all electric ratepayers which he says is "unacceptable."

 

However, Hogan did call the goal of the bill "laudable"

Mike Tidwell, director of the Chesapeake Climate Action Network, criticized the governor's veto in the following statement:

"Governor Hogan's veto of the bipartisan Clean Energy Jobs Act is a shock to business leaders and Marylanders who value clean air and water

"While we fully expect the General Assembly to override this veto, Governor Hogan has ushered in harm to our economy and environment in the meantime. This veto will likely cause immediate job losses in the solar industry, while temporarily delaying reductions in harmful air, water and climate pollution. It's deeply hypocritical for the Governor to say he supports reducing greenhouse gas pollution and now to veto the top policy solution.

"In defending his veto, Governor Hogan ignored the overwhelming economic and consumer benefits of clean energy, while using misleading statistics to distort the cost impact of the bill. In fact, the Clean Energy Jobs Act does not impose any new taxes while it will help Marylanders save money through affordable solar and better health. Meanwhile, the costs of fossil fuels to our health and climate keep rising.

 "In a state that's experienced so much clean energy job growth and is so vulnerable to sea level rise, the Governor's veto is bad for business, bad for our environment, and bad politics."

Both the House and Senate bills passed this year with more than enough votes to override a veto.  

Other Bills Become Law Without Signature

The governor is letting 85 other bills take  effect without his signature.

Among the bills falling into that category, the College Affordability Act which among other things allows for an up to $5,000 state tax credit for  people with student loan debts.

A bill that supporters say would protect the bee population by banning certain pesticides is also being allowed to take effect.

The governor is also allowing a bill that would expand the hours of all branches of the Enoch Pratt Library in Baltimore City to take effect without his signature.  

The governor is also allowing a Senate bill to become law that would increase the amount of time first year teachers participate in mentoring and training programs, and increases the stipend teachers receive for teachers who hold a National Board Certification.

However, in a letter to Miller, Hogan says he objects to language that is specific to Anne Arundel County that lawmakers added at the request of the county teacher's union.  

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