ANNAPOLIS — At the same time the Maryland Senate adjourned Friday evening, Gov. Larry Hogan released a list of bills he vetoed three days before the last day of the 90-day legislative session.
The Republican governor rejected 10 bills including those calling for funding for abortion care access, investment in MARC train projects and for law enforcement to notify a parent or guardian when questioning a juvenile.
He also vetoed Senate Bill 275 on paid family and medical leave, known as the Time to Care Act — a major bill that Democratic leaders fought to secure this year
“While we share the same goal of providing a healthy working environment and sufficient leave time for working Marylanders to care for themselves, their families and bond with new children,” Hogan wrote in a letter outlining his vetoes. “Senate Bill 275 is an irresponsibly crafted, rushed piece of legislation that unfairly penalizes the hundreds of thousands of hard-working men and women who own and operate small businesses in Maryland.”
Because both the Senate and House will reconvene Saturday, they have time to override Hogan’s veto on the bill before the final day of the session ends at midnight Monday.
“Over two-plus years of the pandemic, we have learned how important it is to be able to take time away from the job to deal with health and other family issues,” Myles Hicks, campaign manager for the Time to Care Coalition, said in a statement. “This bill will give workers the ability to take care of their families without sacrificing a paycheck or a job. The public supports this legislation, and we urge legislators to stand with them and override Hogan’s veto.”
The paid family and medical leave program would offer employees up to 12 weeks of paid leave for providing long-term assistance such as postpartum care or helping an ailing family member, but a person must work at least 680 hours over a 12-month period encompassing the time off.
New parents who suffer a serious health issue in the same year could theoretically receive up to 24 weeks of paid leave.
One piece of legislation set to become law without the governor’s signature will be the climate change bill sponsored by Sen. Paul Pinsky (D-District 22) of University Park.
The bill known as the Climate Solutions Now Act pushes to reduce statewide greenhouse gas by 60% from 2006 levels by 2031 and reach net zero emissions by 2045, purchase zero-emission vehicles and provide climate justice projects for youth and young adults.
In addition, the bill would establish a Maryland Green Building Council to examine the impact of concrete procured by the state, the use of performance incentives to encourage adoption of low-carbon materials and methods by concrete manufacturers and other assessments on concrete and cement.
Environmental advocates and supporters cheered on the legislation to become law.
“This legislation advances Maryland’s response to climate change significantly and includes important new provisions to achieve climate justice,” Staci Hartwell, chair of the NAACP Maryland State Conference’s environmental and climate justice committee, said in a statement. “Many communities, overburdened with polluting industries and other hazards, will see new investments, thanks to the legislation.”
“The greenhouse gas reduction goals in the law set Maryland on a path toward decarbonization that aligns with scientific recommendations to prevent the worst predicted outcomes of climate change,” Josh Kurtz, executive director of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, said in a statement. “But there’s still significant work left to do.”
Hogan agrees, especially with several provisions that require work groups and studies to continue throughout the years.
“These groups should focus on collaborative and cost-effective measures to further Maryland’s climate and economic progress while increasing job creation and retention and technological innovation,” Hogan wrote.