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State lawmakers override governor's vetoes

Rachel Baye

Maryland legislators overrode Governor Larry Hogan’s vetoes of five bills Thursday.

The measures included one requiring travel websites to pay state hotel taxes. Opponents of the online hotel booking tax said it would be bad for business, while supporters said the measure simply closes a loophole. Consumers are paying taxes on their hotel reservations already, they said, but travel booking websites keep that money, not handing it over to the state.

Another veto overridden Thursday was for a bill decriminalizing the possession of marijuana paraphernalia.

While it’s already a civil offense to possess up to 10 grams of marijuana, the new measure decriminalizes possession of the paraphernalia needed to smoke it.

Del. Anne Kaiser, a Montgomery County Democrat, put it in terms Marylanders can understand.

“Imagine a situation with the Maryland Blue Crab and Old Bay. Imagine they were both illegal, and suddenly we allowed people to eat the Maryland Blue Crabs but we kept Old Bay illegal," she said. "It would be inconceivable.”

Senate President Mike Miller postponed the vote on a bill that would give released felons the right to vote before their parole ends. He said he is waiting for Democratic Party officials to fill an empty Senate seat.

He also said that the decision to veto the governor's measures was not political.

"This is not a shot across the bow of the governor, just a question of good government."