Hogan scores victories for agenda in Maryland legislative session.
Democrat-led State House approves most of governor’s agenda
Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan scored several legislative wins this year in the state’s traditionally hurried 90-day legislative session, including tax incentives for new manufacturing companies and an ethics reform measure that targets conflicts of interest and corruption among state officials.
Mr. Hogan, a popular Republican governor in the predominantly Democratic state, managed to get much of his agenda approved while many the General Assembly’s more progressive measures faltered Monday as midnight approached.
“Almost all of our major initiatives got done,” Mr. Hogan told reporters shortly after midnight, calling it a “great, great session.”
Mr. Hogan and Democratic lawmakers did come together on a few bills, including one that would tighten ethics rules for state politicians. The legislation increases the requirements for financial disclosures and widens the definition of conflict of interest.
The measure received unanimous support in both the House and Senate during a session that was bookended by federal charges of bribery and wire fraud levied against several Democratic legislators.
The tax incentives are meant to address high rates of unemployment in Baltimore as well as the more rural Western Maryland and Eastern Shore. Under the measure, manufacturing companies will get tax credits to move into the state, and manufacturers already in the state will get tax credits for any jobs they create.
Mr. Hogan did face a few defeats. He was unable to move legislators to pass a 401(k) savings plan for state workers, tax credits for student loans and a redrawing of legislative district maps.
The state’s progressive caucus chalked up a few victories during the 437th legislative session. One law will reimburse Planned Parenthood clinics if they lose any federal funding, and another allows the Maryland attorney general to sue the president over immigration and health care issues. Both pieces of legislation, seen as direct challenges to the Trump administration, passed without the governor’s signature.
All legislation approved by the General Assembly must be signed by the governor, vetoed or left to pass without his signature. Mr. Hogan has not signaled that he would veto any of the bills approved Monday night.
Liberal lawmakers failed to pass a few signature measures, including one that would have barred local police departments from cooperating with federal immigration agents and make Maryland effectively the first “sanctuary state.”
The Trust Act, which was meant to poke President Trump over his stance on illegal immigration, would have applied to all local police and sheriff departments but exempted those in Frederick and Harford counties, which already participate in a federal information-sharing program.
Mr. Hogan vowed to veto the legislation if it made it to his desk. He said the bill was “outrageously irresponsible” and would endanger Maryland residents.
The measure was approved by the House of Delegates in late March, but the bill ended up getting so watered down by the end of the session that even liberal backers decided to pull it before the deadline.
Several other anti-Trump bills missed the cut as well, including one that would require presidential candidates to release their tax returns in order to be included on the Maryland ballot. Another would have rolled back Mr. Trump’s rule allowing internet service providers to sell their customers’ information.
The General Assembly on Monday night also failed to approve expansion of the state’s foundering medical marijuana program amid controversy over the number of minority-owned businesses picked to participate. Legislators agreed that more businesses participating in the program should be minorityowned, but they couldn’t reach a consensus on how to make that happen.
Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (center), flanked by Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr. (left) and House Speaker Michael Busch signs bills in a ceremony Tuesday following the state’s legislative session in Annapolis.