The easy way out
A couple weeks ago I pointed out that about two dozen bills passed by the Maryland General Assembly this year were still pending after Larry Hogan had his final bill signing session May 12. Here was the list of bills I urged him to veto:
- House Bill 51 (Circuit Court fees)
- House Bill 54 (Circuit Court fees)
- House Bill 345 (flexible leave)
- House Bill 449/Senate Bill 409 (fracking regulations)
- House Bill 838/Senate Bill 416 (mandated IVF coverage)
- House Bill 862/Senate Bill 743 (birth certificates)
- House Bill 980/Senate Bill 340 (ex-felons voting)
- Senate Bill 190 (travel tax)
If he wishes to let the decriminalization of marijuana become law without his signature, that’s quite all right.
So I’m very disappointed to report that the deadline came and went while Hogan was away in Asia, and only two of those bills were properly vetoed: HB980/SB340 and SB190.
Yet while he turned aside the travel tax, Governor Hogan increased a number of court fees and kept an additional O’Malley fee increase scheduled to sunset this year for another five years.
The governor who claims to be business-friendly and who wanted to create jobs went against the wishes of his party on flexible leave and thwarted the introduction of fracking to Maryland for another two years. This after announcing during the campaign:
States throughout the country have been developing their natural gas resources safely and efficiently for decades. I am concerned that there has been a knee-jerk reaction against any new energy production.
Now we have our own knee-jerk reaction.
He also added yet another unnecessary mandate to health insurance with in-vitro fertilization coverage for same-sex couples, and if Bruce, uh, “Caitlyn” Jenner were born in Maryland s/he could legally have his/her birth certificate changed to reflect the “fact” he bills himself as a female.
Perhaps you believe Hogan was making the political calculation about whether a veto could be sustained. With the Senate in Democratic hands by a hefty 33-14 count, it’s not likely a veto could be sustained there. However, a 50-seat group of Republicans in the House only need seven Democrats to keep a veto in play, and given enough political pressure there are still a handful of centrist Democrats who could go along with the governor.
These were the House votes on the eight measures I advocated a veto for. I’m also adding the votes on the handful of bills he vetoed for policy reasons.
- House Bill 51 passed the House 97-40. It would have difficult to uphold this one.
- House Bill 54 passed the House 82-58, after originally failing on third reading. This veto could have been sustained.
- House Bill 345 passed the House 86-52. This one was right on the cusp of a maintaining the veto; definitely doable.
- House Bill 449 passed the House 93-45, and its crossfiled SB409 passed 103-36. But if Governor Hogan had vetoed this and put the whip to his department heads to come up with regulations by next January they may have upheld this veto.
- The margins on HB838/SB416 were 94-44 and 93-45, respectively. That’s iffy but the onus should have been placed on the General Assembly to vote on it again.
- Similarly, HB862/SB743 only won the House by margins of 85-50 and 91-49. Still unlikely to hold, but should have made them vote again.
- HB980/SB340 only had 82 votes apiece in the House, which makes these good candidates to be upheld.
- SB190 only passed 84-56, which means it’s also a good possibility to be sustained.
- SB517, which decriminalized marijuana possession but was vetoed, is right on the cusp of overturn as it passed 83-53.
- Similarly, SB528, which dealt with seizure and forfeiture (also vetoed), passed the House 89-51 so it’s also a possible overturn.
I suppose I should be happy with the half a loaf I have received from Governor Hogan considering the absolute disaster we’ve had to endure under eight years of Martin O’Malley. But the leftists are crowing about the fracking ban, and see it as just an initial step to a permanent halt.
The only way to curb an ambitious, leftist agenda is to put up a conservative one of your own and stomp out any attempt to sneak things through. Instead, what we are receiving is a leftward drift in lieu of pedal-to-the-metal liberalism. However, to borrow the words of a former governor, we really need to turn this car around and not using the veto pen as much as it should be won’t get us going in the correct direction.