State Roundup: Police reform bills face scrutiny on governor’s desk

State Roundup: Police reform bills face scrutiny on governor’s desk

Two skyboxes at both the Orioles and Ravens stadiums are reserved for the governor and the mayor. So who gets invited? 2021 Governor's Office photo

HOGAN EYES POLICE REFORM BILLS: Maryland’s lawmakers representing both sides of the political aisle said Thursday that they believe it is likely that Gov. Larry Hogan will veto all or part of a package of five landmark police reform bills that the General Assembly recently approved, Bryan Renbaum reports for Maryland Reporter. Should Hogan decide to veto the legislation, it is considered likely that the veto will be overridden given that Democrats have a near-supermajority in both the House of Delegates and the Senate.

  • As Democrats celebrated the passage of the sweeping reform bills, Republican colleagues, as well as Hogan, voiced concerns that the legislation adopted too much of the House’s strict limits and too little of compromises in the Senate approach to police reform, Steve Lash reports for The Daily Record.
  • The legislation includes landmark changes, which Bryn Stole details for the Sun in an article about what’s on the governor’s desk.
  • Hogan told WBAL-AM’s C4 and Bryan Nehman that he is interested in responsible police reform, but had issues with what passed. “They basically put some poison pills in each of the bills, combined them all together with some of the worst possible stuff, along with some positive reforms,” he said. He also objected to Baltimore city cutting police funds if the city takes over policing from state control.
  • Alexa Ashwell has more on the debate between Mayor Brandon Scott and Hogan on city policing at WBFF here.
  • Small law enforcement agencies in rural areas are worried about the possible changes, Candice Spector reports for The Easton Star-Democrat.

SPORTS BETTING COMES DOWN TO WIRE: The House and Senate are still far apart in the details of setting up sports betting in the state, Bryan Sears reports for The Daily Record. The negotiations are causing delays as the end of session approaches.

BUSINESS STARTUPS SURGE: Even as businesses closed and employees lost jobs, the pandemic sparked an unexpected trend, the Capital News Service reports in Maryland Reporter. The number of business startups is surging across the U.S., and especially here in Maryland.

HOGAN VETOES JUVENILE SENTENCING BILL: Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan on Thursday vetoed a bill that abolishes life without parole sentences for juvenile offenders, saying for some crimes stricter penalties are necessary, Pamela Wood and Bryn Stole report for the Sun. The veto will likely result in an override vote in the final days of the annual General Assembly session.

  • Advocates for the bill said it would have brought fairness to the criminal justice system, but Hogan argued it would also bring additional trauma to victims’ families if offenders were brought up for parole and could lead to the release of offenders that should be behind bars, Ovetta Wiggins reports for the Post.

PAROLE PROCESS BILL FACES HURDLES: A bill that would remove the governor from the parole process is on a bumpy path through the Maryland Legislature, Kimberly Seif reports for the Capital News Service in The Frederick News-Post. Both chambers have different versions of the bill that must be hammered out in just a few days.

GARRETT COUNTY RESIDENTS HESITANT TO DRIVE TO MASS VACCINATION SITE HOURS AWAY: The state is allocating COVID-19 vaccine doses for Garrett County residents at the distribution site in Hagerstown, but only seven Garrett County residents have been willing to make trips that could exceed four hours, Joseph Hauger reports for the Garrett County Republican. Seven more mass vaccination sites will open this month, but none of them will be located west of Hagerstown.

  • Garrett and Allegany counties have detailed equity plans sent to the state, but the far-reaching geography and more rural nature of the area will pose challenges, Teresa McMinn reports for the Cumberland Times-News. The equity plan for Garrett says it does not expect to receive support for a mass vaccination site from the state.

 EXONOREE COMPENSATION BILL CLOSE TO LAW: A bill is one step away from becoming law to make it easier for those wrongfully convicted to obtain compensation, Eddie Kadhim reports for WMAR.

MORE MENTAL HEALTH ACCESS FOR TEENAGERS: Del. Kumar Barve cast his vote for a bill that allows children 12-16 to get mental health treatment without parental consent in honor of an uncle he never met, Ovetta Wiggins reports for the Post. Sudhakar Shankar Gokhale, Barve’s mother’s twin brother, died by suicide in the 1940s.

  • C.T. Wilson said that this kind of policy would have been helpful to him as a child in foster care, WYPR reports. However, several Republicans opposed it, saying good parents should know if their children are experiencing mental health problems.

EMERGENCY SPENDING REFORM CLOSER TO PASSAGE: Maryland lawmakers are close to approving tighter rules for emergency purchases by the state government, Pamela Wood reports for the Sun. The bills follow high-profile problems with the purchase of coronavirus tests from a South Korean company and masks and ventilators from a politically connected company.

ELECTION REFORM IN SENATE: The Senate is getting pressure to pass “historic civil rights legislation” that would change how some counties select their commissioners, aiming to ensure that votes cast by minorities in those counties are not overrun by a county-wide majority, Bennett Leckrone reports for Maryland Matters.

COVID-19 CASES IN THE SCHOOLS: COVID-19 cases are up in Anne Arundel public schools, but schools officials say they aren’t spreading within schools and are coming from the outside community, Rachel Pacella reports for the Capital Gazette. About 100 staff and students are quarantined due to a contact, and at least 100 people connected to athletics are quarantining due to a contact.

TRONE SUPPORTS RECOVERY MONTH: U.S. Rep. David Trone is sponsoring a bill that will create consistent funding for National Recovery Month programming, the staff of the Garrett County Republican writes.

LAWS IMPACTING BUSINESS COMMUNITY PENDING: Holden Wilen with the Baltimore Business Journal gives an update on where legislation stands for business as the General Assembly nears its last day of session.

About The Author

Meg Tully

Contributing Editor Meg Tully has been covering Maryland politics for more than five years. She has worked for The Frederick News-Post, where she reported during the General Assembly session in Annapolis. She has also worked for The (Hanover) Evening Sun and interned at Baltimore Magazine. Meg has won awards from the Maryland-Delaware-D.C. Press Association for her state and county writing, and a Keystone Press Award for feature writing from the Pennsylvania Newspaper Association. She is a graduate of Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. If you have additional questions or comments contact Meg at:

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