Presentment and the Final Week
Last week was the so-called "presentment" deadline. Under the Maryland Constitution, the Governor has six days to veto or sign bills passed by the General Assembly during the legislative session, otherwise they become law without his signature. If a bill is presented later than that, the Governor will have 30 days after presentment to act on the bill (long after the legislature adjourns). Moreover, because we are at the end of a four year term, any veto cannot be overridden. Much of our work in Annapolis is bipartisan and collaborative, but we typically expect the majority Democratic legislature to have some disagreements with the Republican Governor. Therefore, some bills were passed and presented last week so the General Assembly can override any vetoes it chooses to. Among the major bills that were passed and presented are:
Cannabis Reform: Voters will decide in November whether cannabis should be legal for recreational use in Maryland, but the companion bill would establish some of the criminal law rules around cannabis should the voters decide to make it legal. Issues around licensing and taxing would be determined next year.
Climate Solutions Now Act: The bill would advance our efforts to address climate change by increasing our greenhouse gas reduction goals, but also establishing policies around zero emission school buses, zero emission government vehicle fleets, healthy soils, and more to actually meet our ambitious goals. It includes a policy I was particularly involved in to increase incentives for local school systems to construct net zero school buildings.
Untraceable Firearms: The bill would address so-called "ghost guns" by banning these weapons, which are growing in use.
Time To Care Act: This is a paid parental leave program that would allow Marylanders to have partially paid leave for up to 12 weeks to care for a family member with a medical issue and up to 24 weeks after becoming a parent.
Abortion Care Access Act: Sponsored by my seatmate, Delegate Ariana Kelly, this legislation would support the training of more reproductive service professionals and clarify who can offer the services. The bill is necessary to give a woman's right to choose true meaning in the state of Maryland.
Maryland Regional Rail Transformation Act: I was heavily involved in this legislation to require the Maryland Transit Administration to advance many key commuter rail investments, including improvements on the Brunswick Line which runs through Montgomery County.
Even as we await the Governor's final decisions on those bills, the General Assembly is in the final one week sprint before the end of the legislative session. That means multiple floor sessions each day and weekend sessions as we march to midnight on Monday, April 11.
As always, you can keep up with what I am doing by following me at @mkorman on Twitter or by clicking "Like" on Delegate Marc Korman on Facebook.
During the final rush to adjournment, bills move through the process quickly.
Three of my bills are heading to the Governor's desk already:
Congressional redistricting has concluded, with the Governor and those who challenged a prior map in court accepting the lines the General Assembly redrew last week. You can view the final map and check your district here. My legislative district is now entirely within the eighth Congressional District, currently represented by Congressman Jamie Raskin.
Still in litigation are the maps for the state legislative districts. Earlier this week, a Special Master assigned by the Court of Appeals issued a report on the state map earlier this week and recommended rejecting challenges to it. The Court of Appeals will consider the report next week.
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