Any bills passed by the legislature more than a week prior to Sine Die, which falls on April 8 this year, must be acted upon by the Governor prior to the close of session. This provides the Maryland General Assembly the opportunity for a veto override in the same session that the bill passed. Otherwise, the legislature would have to attempt a veto override after the current session, either during a special session or at the start of the 2020 session.
For the 2019 session, the passage of following three controversial bills brought out the veto pen of Governor Larry Hogan, but all three vetoes were overridden by the Maryland General Assembly:
- SB 280/HB 166 — Labor and Employment – Payment of Wages – Minimum Wage (Fight for Fifteen)
This bill increases the statewide minimum wage to $15 per hour to be phased in by January 1, 2025. Small employers with 14 or fewer employees have until July 1, 2026 to implement a $15 per hour minimum wage.
- SB 703/HB 1052 — Alcohol, Tobacco, and Motor Fuel Commission
This bill moves Maryland’s alcohol, tobacco and fuel laws from the Comptroller’s office to a newly created Alcohol, Tobacco and Motor Fuel Commission.
- SB 128 — Community Control of School Calendars Act
This bill gives local boards of education the power to set the date for the start of the school year. The Governor, through an Executive Order, had forced schools to begin the school year after Labor Day.
The veto override votes for all three bills were primarily along party lines. To override a veto, a three-fifths majority is required, meaning a minimum of 29 votes in the Senate and 85 votes in the House of Delegates. With a partisan split in the Senate of 32 Democrats and 15 Republicans and 99 Democrats and 42 Republicans in the House, Democrats have a comfortable cushion to override vetoes if the voting does not stray too far from party lines.