ANNAPOLIS, Md. — With the sun setting on Maryland’s legislative session, some lawmakers are planning to push through a sequence of arguably controversial bills behind doors that were recently shut to the public amidst the coronavirus pandemic. One of these bills proposes a constitutional amendment that would greatly impact how much say the Governor has on the budget bill.
The bill reads: “When passed by both Houses, the budget bill shall be a law immediately without further action by the Governor.”
Senate Bill 1028 was heard in committee the morning of the recently rescheduled “sine die” on Mar. 18, and will be heard on the floor sometime before regular session adjourns for the year.
“This is a backdoor attempt to shift money from other areas of the budget to pay for Kirwan and to fund other areas of the state [democrats] control politically,” Del. Matt Morgan[R-St. Mary’s] said in a Facebook post. “The bill will create a constitutional amendment that changes a budget process that has been in place for over 100 years… It’s wrong and they are trying to sneak it through while no one is watching.”
Following the recent passage of the Kirwan Commission’s recommendations in both chambers of the legislature, without a guaranteed funding source, it will now head to the Governor’s desk for signature of veto. Should Hogan choose to veto, which is very possible considering he has been an open critic of the Kirwan Commission, the legislature which holds a democratic supermajority could still override his gubernatorial veto. With the newly condensed legislative session, such proceedings might have to take place at a tentatively scheduled special session during the final week of May.
However, the lack of a designated funding source for “The Blueprint for Maryland’s Future” or is more than likely tied to why Democrats filed SB1028 late in this process, allowing them to sidestep hurdles the Republican Gov. Larry Hogan may throw at them. This also comes at a time when a number of tax increases will be voted on to help make up some of the needed education funds in the bill.
Some of these tax increases include taxing digitally downloadable content such as music, movies, and books(HB932 passed by time of publish), additional taxes on on tobacco, and even possibly becoming the first state to tax digital advertising revenue.
This is an ongoing story we will be looking at until the session is official over.
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