The Maryland General Assembly convened for a Special Session on December 6, 2021 to consider bills related to Congressional redistricting. In addition to redistricting, the General Assembly was also presented with the Governor’s vetoes from the 2021 Regular Session and elected a new Treasurer as part of this Special Session.
Governor Hogan vetoed a number of bills earlier this year, including bills that would make our communities less safe, add additional obstacles to students returning to the classroom, and open the door for tax increases on Marylanders. Senator Bailey voted to sustain the Governor’s vetoes. However, the General Assembly voted to override many of these vetoes. A few of the most notable included:
House Bill 16 and House Bill 23 implement sanctuary state policies for illegal immigrants in Maryland by limiting State and local law enforcement’s ability to cooperate with Federal immigration authorities. Senator Bailey opposes any effort to make Maryland a sanctuary state for illegal immigrants and voted to sustain the Governor’s vetoes on these bills. However, the General Assembly voted to override these vetoes and these bills will now become law.
Senate Bill 202 removes the requirement that the Governor approve the parole of an inmate who is serving a life sentence. This removes important oversight by the Governor, who is directly accountable to the voters and vest full authority to release these inmates to the Parole Commission, which is not directly accountable to the people. This will make it easier for criminals who have committed serious violent crimes to be released from prison, and could result in these prisoners serving only 12 years of a life sentence. Senator Bailey strongly opposes removing this check on the Parole Commission’s power, spoke against this bill during the floor debate, and voted to sustain the veto. The General Assembly voted to override the Governor’s veto, and the bill has been put into law.
Senate Bill 133 enables counties to raise income tax rates on some of their residents. This bill also removes the ability for a county to lower their income tax rate below 2.25%. Senator Bailey opposes any possible tax increases and voted to sustain the Governor’s veto. Regrettably, the General Assembly voted to override the Governor’s veto, and the bill will become law at this time.
Vetoes on bills that would have required school districts to implement policies that would make it more difficult for students to return to in-person instruction and decriminalize heroin paraphernalia were not acted on, so these bills will not become law.
House Bill 1 enacts new Congressional districts for Maryland based on data from the 2020 Census. Senator Bailey voted against this legislation because he believes that these maps prioritize partisan political gain over the fair representation of all Marylanders. Senator Bailey voted for an amendment to this bill that would have replaced the General Assembly’s Congressional map with the redistricting plan proposed by the Maryland Citizens’ Redistricting Commission, which was comprised of Republican, Democratic, and independent members and allowed multiple opportunities for public participation and feedback. These maps better reflected the geographic and political diversity of Maryland than the proposal put forward by the General Assembly. However, this amendment was defeated and the General Assembly’s proposed map passed the Senate and the House of Delegates. Governor Hogan’s veto of this plan was also overridden.
This legislation only relates to new Congressional districts. In this final plan, Calvert and St. Mary’s Counties remain in a district that also includes Charles County and a portion of Prince George’s County. The full map that passed the General Assembly can be viewed at https://mgaleg.maryland.gov/Other/Redistricting/Final/webpage-final.pdf.
The General Assembly will consider new state legislative districts for the Senate and the House of Delegates during the upcoming regular session, which begins in January.
In addition to the redistricting bills that were introduced this week, Governor Hogan introduced two bills, the Judicial Transparency Act of 2021 and the Violent Firearms Offender Act of 2021, which would address the issue of rising crime across our State. Senator Bailey strongly supports both of these bills and joined his Republican Senate colleagues in attempting to petition this bill from the Rules Committee for consideration by the full Senate.
Election of New Treasurer
On Thursday, December 9, a joint session of the General Assembly elected a new State Treasurer to replace the current Treasurer, Nancy Kopp, who is retiring. The Treasurer serves as a member of the Board of Public Works, which exercises oversight over State spending, along with the Governor and the Comptroller. The General Assembly elected Delegate Dereck Davis to serve as the next Treasurer.