Vetoing the Red Line and losing $900 Million in Federal funding

In a show of political force, the Democrat-controlled House of Delegates overrode two more of Gov. Larry Hogan's policy vetoes Thursday, putting Hogan's record with the chamber at 0-8.

Lawmakers voted 88-52 to reverse the governor's move to strike down legislation that would force him to publicly rate and rank transportation projects before deciding which ones should be included in an estimated $15.7 billion, five-year construction plan.

Hogan and fellow Republicans considered the measure an infringement on the governor's authority and predicted the interference would wreak havoc on the state's transportation planning.

Democrats who pushed the measure, and successfully sought enough votes to override the veto Thursday, said the bill would inject transparency into what's currently a political decision-making process.

"We need this legislation because we need more transparency in the decision-making process, and we need more objectivity," said Baltimore Del. Brooke Lierman, a Democrat who led the floor debate. 

 

Republicans argued that the bill was political retribution because Hogan canceled Democrats' favored projects - including the Red Line in Baltimore - to pay for road projects elsewhere in Maryland.

"Ultimately, the governor isn't accountable to us, but to the people of the state - who, by the way, seem to really like the job that he's doing," said Republican Del. Haven Shoemaker, a Carroll County Republican, referring to Hogan's record-high approval rating.

"As the kids say: don't hate the player, hate the game," Shoemaker said. "Quit trying to change the rules in the middle of it."

The House also voted 90-50 to override Hogan's veto of a bill that would change the composition of the Anne Arundel County School Board Nominating Commission, a panel that recommends people for the governor to appoint.

The Maryland Senate will consider this week whether to also override Hogan's vetoes of those measures.

The General Assembly opened this year's legislative session in January by overriding all six policy vetoes the governor had issued. 

Hogan's spokesman Douglass Mayer dismissed the significance of the vetoes and urged lawmakers to act on the governor's priority bills before they adjourn for the year on April 11.

"Now that they have had their fun, the legislature can return to the serious business of providing tax relief for Maryland families and moving forward with the redistricting reform our citizens continue to demand from their elected officials," Mayer said.