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Senate Votes To Override Hogan Veto On Felon Voting Rights

February 9th, 2016 by WCBC Radio

For the sixth time this year, the Maryland Senate has again overridden one of Governor Larry Hogan's vetoes.

The Senate voted 29-18 today to override the governor's veto of a bill that would restore the voting rights of convicted felons once they leave prison, but before they complete their probation.  

The Senate  was sponsored by Baltimore City Senator Joan Carter Conway, who said the bill would help felons re-enter society.

Baltimore County Senator Delores Kelley said voting is a responsibility, and she says a felon out of prison is showing that he or she wants to be a responsible member of society, by voting.  

All 14 Republicans in the Senate voted to sustain the override along with four Democrats.

Those Democrats were Jim Mathias, Kathy Klausmeier, Ed DeGrange and Jim Brochin.  

Senate Minority Leader J.B. Jennings said that felons should be allowed to vote only after they pay their debt to society, and probation is part of that debt.

Among the Democrat voting to override the veto, was Montgomery County Senator Craig Zucker, who also voted for the override last month when he was a delegate.  

The general counsel to the Maryland General Assembly told Jennings in a letter last week that this was allowed under the state constitution.  

The Senate actually took three override votes today.

One was 29-18 to override a veto of the Senate version of this bill.  

Another vote was 28-18 to sustain the veto on the identical House version of the bill.

One of the Democrats apparently missed that  vote, so later in the session, the Senate voted 29-18, to override the veto of the House version of the bill.

WBAL's David Collins reports that Prince George's County Democrat Douglas Peters left the floor, before that second vote to meet with the Governor regarding a proclamation honoring Korean War Vets.  Peters apologized for his absence. Senate President Mike Miller also apologized for calling that second vote before every senator was on the floor.  

Supporters of the bill were scheduled to hold  a rally after the vote.

Governor Larry Hogan's campaign committee had sent notices to supporters urging them to call their Senators to defeat the override.

After the vote, Doug Mayer, deputy communications director for the governor, said the Senators who voted for the override chose to " ignore reason and common sense and support an action that the vast majority of Marylanders vehemently oppose. For too long, voters have been completely ignored by their elected representatives in Annapolis – it happened again today and our citizens deserve better.”

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