Hogan vetoes abortion and paid family leave, allows climate measure to become law

Gov. Lawrence J. Hogan Jr. (R) vetoed several bills Friday night, including measures to expand abortion services in the state and establish a statewide paid family leave program. He also allowed several bills to become law without his signature, including sweeping climate change legislation and a juvenile justice reform bill. The legislature is likely to accept veto override votes starting Saturday. Photo by Danielle E. Gaines.

Gov. Lawrence J. Hogan Jr. (R) vetoed 10 bills Friday night, including measures that would expand the types of medical professionals who can perform abortions in the state, establish a statewide paid family leave insurance program and would impose tighter security restrictions on gun stores.

The governor allowed about 28 bills to go into effect without his signature, including the Climate Solutions Now Act of 2022, which would set aggressive targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions in Maryland and establish new policies to help to achieve that goal, even by demanding more buildings. electrification, creating a “green bank” that would invest state funds in private projects that reduce gas emissions and expanding the state fleet of electric vehicles.

Among the other bills that will go into effect without the governor’s signature are a ban on the sale and possession of bogus weapons, a framework for a legalized cannabis industry in the state, and a far-reaching juvenile justice reform measure. which will generally bar children under the age of 13 from facing criminal charges, although charges could be brought in criminal court for the most serious offences, including murder and sexual offences.

The General Assembly will adjourn at midnight on Monday, giving lawmakers a small window to override vetoes. Both chambers will meet on Saturday to address the votes to override the veto.

In a veto letter on the abortion measure, Hogan wrote that he was upholding his commitment not to take any action that would affect Maryland’s reproductive rights law.

But, he said, House Bill 937 “endangers women’s health and lives by allowing non-physicians to perform abortions.”

As passed, the bill would expand who can perform abortions in the state to include nurse practitioners, nurse midwives and physician assistants.

“These procedures are complex and can, and often do, result in significant medical complications that require the care of a licensed physician,” Hogan wrote.

Hogan went on to say that the bill “would set back standards for women’s health care and safety.”

The bill would also provide $3.5 million in financial support to clinically train health professionals to offer reproductive services. The bill would also make the state’s existing abortion care coverage permanent under Medicaid and require private health insurance plans, with exceptions for those with a religious or legal exemption, to cover abortion care without cost-sharing or deductibles. .

The governor also vetoed Senate Bill 275, the Time to Care Act of 2022, which would offer Marylanders 12 weeks of partially paid family leave each year to care for themselves or a loved one after a serious health problem and up to 24 weeks of paid leave. for new parents.

Hogan wrote in a veto letter that if the General Assembly had approved a family leave program that defined small businesses as those with fewer than 50 employees, he would have been “more inclined to support it.”

The Time to Care Act defines small businesses as those whose employers have fewer than 15 employees. He also wrote that the bill is backed by “no actuarial analysis, no workable plan for implementation, and leaves the smallest small businesses vulnerable to insurmountable regulatory burdens.”

As passed, the bill would require an actuarial analysis to be completed by December of this year.

The governor also vetoed House Bill 1021, sponsored by House Speaker Adrienne A. Jones (D-Baltimore County), which would require businesses that sell firearms to have alarm systems. 24-hour theft protection, as well as other security measures including security bars, gates or physical barriers to prevent vehicles from crashing.

The other bills that Hogan vetoed are:

Senate Bill 1 would allow the Maryland Department of Labor commissioner of labor and industry to investigate and issue stop-work orders to state contractors and subcontractors who have violated the prevailing wage law.

Senate Bill 53, the Children’s Interrogation Protection Act, would protect minors from self-incrimination during encounters with police.

Senate Bill 259 expands the state’s prevailing wage requirements to state-funded service contracts for mechanical services such as HVAC, refrigeration, electrical, and elevator maintenance.

Senate Bill 475/House Bill 580 would add sergeants and supervisors within the Maryland Transit Management Police to the list of employees authorized to engage in collective bargaining.

House Bill 778/Senate Bill 514 would require the Maryland Transportation Administration to create investment programs to move forward with projects to connect Maryland to surrounding states via the Maryland area regional commuter rail. Maryland.

House Bill 90 would allow attorneys in the Public Defender’s Office to choose to enter into collective bargaining agreements with the state regarding their pay, benefits, and working conditions. Under the bill, public defenders could only be disciplined or fired for just cause.

House Bill 609 would require the state health secretary to provide a written explanation if a local health official is fired and would give him or her an opportunity for a hearing.

The governor’s office posted the full list of House and Senate bills that will go into effect without his signature here and here.

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