Maryland lawmakers meet for redistribution session, overturn Hogan’s parole veto bill – CBS Baltimore
ANNAPOLIS, Maryland (AP) – Maryland lawmakers met for a special session on Monday to redraw the congressional map of the state after the release of new census data and override many of Gov. Larry Hogan’s vetoes on the latest measures session.
The Maryland Senate quickly got to work in its first morning session by starting to override vetoes. Democrats, who control both houses of the General Assembly, need a three-fifths vote in the House and Senate to override the Republican governor.
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The Senate voted 31-16 to overturn Hogan’s veto on a bill to repeal the requirement that the parole of an inmate serving a life sentence must be approved by the governor. The long-contested measure puts the decision under the control of a parole board.
“It just puts us in line with 47 other states that allow their parole boards to be the final arbiters in determining whether a person’s liberty should be restored,” said Senator Jill Carter, a Democrat from Baltimore. .
Lawmakers were scheduled to hold a hearing Monday on the legislation describing the eight state districts in the United States. Democrats who hold a qualified majority in the legislature control the redistribution process in Maryland.
A panel that included House Speaker Adrienne Jones and Senate Speaker Bill Ferguson, both of whom are Democrats, recommended a map they say makes districts more compact and easier to follow.
It would also make the state’s only Congressional seat held by a Republican more competitive. The seat in the state’s 1st Congressional District, which includes the east coast, is now held by Representative Andy Harris.
Critics of the proposal, including Hogan, say the map continues a legacy of gerrymandering in a state long criticized for sprawling districts specifically designed to favor Democrats.
“Basically what we have is that a General Assembly is here to gerrymand the state against the will of the vast majority of voters and is also not going to take action against crime – and in fact make it worse. things, “said Sen. Justin Ready, a Carroll County Republican. “I don’t understand the disconnection.”
Hogan offers a separate map drawn by a panel of named citizens. The governor-appointed commission had nine members, including three Democrats, three Republicans and three independents.
“This commission allowed citizens, instead of politicians, to draw legislative and legislative constituency boundaries in a fair and impartial manner,” Hogan said in written testimony submitted to lawmakers on Monday.
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The governor is also proposing emergency crime legislation to increase sentences for violent offenders who illegally possess firearms and to publish detailed information on sentences handed down by judges for violent crimes.
Meanwhile, one of Hogan’s high-profile vetoes will stand. A bill that would decriminalize the possession of drug-related accessories for personal use was passed by the Senate earlier this year 28-19, one vote less than the 29 votes needed for a waiver.
Ferguson spokesman David Schuhlein said the waiver of the veto on the measure would not be discussed at the special session.
“This is an incredibly complicated question and we are committed to bringing it up in regular session,” said Schuhlein.
Lawmakers are expected to veto Hogan on two bills backed by immigration advocates, including a measure that would bar local prisons from making deals with federal authorities over immigration-related detentions.
The bill prohibits local prisons from being paid by the federal government to detain people in immigration matters to Maryland. The other measure Hogan vetoed would force state employees to refuse inspection of records or the use of facial recognition technology by any federal agency seeking to enforce immigration law, unless he has a valid warrant.
The special session is expected to last several days and could end by the end of the week.
In other cases, lawmakers are also expected to select a new state treasurer to replace the retiring Nancy Kopp. Last month, a panel of lawmakers voted unanimously to recommend Del. Dereck Davis, a Democrat from Prince George County, to become the next state treasurer.
The treasurer holds one of the three seats of the powerful State Public Works Council. The treasurer also heads several key state boards and financial planning committees, including the Maryland State Retirement and Pension Systems.
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