Ho­gan scores vic­to­ries for agenda in Mary­land leg­isla­tive ses­sion.

Demo­crat-led State House ap­proves most of gov­er­nor’s agenda

The Washington Times Daily - - FRONT PAGE - BY RYAN M. MCDER­MOTT

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.

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