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Maryland General Assembly

Hogan avoids signing or vetoing 22 bills

Rachel Baye

Gov. Larry Hogan plans to let nearly two dozen bills become law without his signature, he announced at a news conference Tuesday.

Hogan called the General Assembly’s decision to send the bills to him before Sine Die political gamesmanship.

The slate of unsigned bills includes one linking the University of Maryland campus in College Park with the Baltimore campus.

Another removes the governor’s power to appoint members of the Baltimore City liquor board and turns it over to the mayor and city council president.

The list also includes the package of bills legislative leaders have pushed to revitalize Baltimore.

In particular, Hogan called out two bills mandating multiple years of funding for programs he had already backed — demolition of vacant houses in Baltimore and aid for Prince George’s Medical Center.

“Unfortunately some people chose political grandstanding over real bipartisan solutions,” he said. “Neither of these bills accomplishes anything, and they are not worth signing, nor vetoing.”

But House Speaker Michael Busch said Hogan was likely motivated by the knowledge that legislators could override any vetoes.

“And I think that the fact that he let them go into law without his signature speaks volumes about the fact that he might not be totally in support of them, but he knows that they were strong positions taken by the General Assembly,” Busch said.

Hogan also urged legislators to support the redistricting reform bill that hasn’t made it out of committee.

“Legislators need to bring up our redistricting reform bill to an up or down vote,” he said. “There can be no possible excuse for keeping this bill hidden in a drawer and simply ignoring the will of nearly every person in Maryland.”

The governor did veto a bill altering how the Anne Arundel County School Board is selected. It’s his second veto of the session.

The first bill Hogan vetoed would require the state Department of Transportation to score projects that cost more than $5 million based on nine priorities, such as economic development, the environment and safety. Busch said the House of Delegates plans to vote on whether to override that veto on Thursday.