There are just a few more hours to go for this year’s legislative session and the legislators have just until midnight to finish up any unfinished business and, there are some big items pending on the table.
However, top Maryland and Baltimore Democrats voiced their displeasure on the sine die and did not hold back their dismay about the Republican Governor Larry Hogan during a press conference on Monday morning, marking the last day of the Legislative Session.
Conference committees have met in small groups to iron out the differences in the pending bills which are based on a range of issues from police reform to income tax relief.
While Governor Larry Hogan went on record saying that the legislators have failed to secure a 10-year tax break to give manufacturing a new impetus terming the failure as “frustrating”.
However, Hogan is still optimistic that a consensus will be reached on the Noah’s Law. The governor is of the view of adopting the Senate Version, which requires those charged with DUI to use an ignition interlock device immediately.
Meanwhile, supporters of paid sick leave legislation lined the sidewalk donning the surgical masks as a last mile effort to get the bill of life support passed. A minute ray of hope emerged when they were told that the legislation will be sent to the Senate Floor.
The bill will eventually allow employees at companies with more than 15 workers to have 7 paid sick days leave.
The day was dominated by all the conference committees. There were unconfirmed reports that some form of income tax relief had come up for discussion.
The House and Senate are also far apart on reforming the Law Enforcement Officers Bill of Rights.
The House wants police to consider anonymous complaints against officers. The Senate version requires people to identify themselves. The House wants a civilian to assist in complaint investigations. The Senate supports local jurisdictions allowing civilians on police trial boards. Baltimore’s mayor is OK with that as long as the civilians go through some police training.
The package would still need approval of both chambers even though the conference committee has worked out the differences and hammered out a deal before it’s sent to the governor.
The bill reforming the Law Enforcement Officers Bill of Rights has gone through more changes than a dressing room. Negotiators struck an informal agreement. Local jurisdictions will decide whether to allow civilians, who go through training, on police trial boards. Members of the public will also be part of the investigative arm of civilian review boards. More discussion is expected regarding anonymous complaints.
Meanwhile, landmark justice reform legislation is headed to the governor’s desk. The House and Senate passed the bill Monday afternoon. The measure advocates drug treatment over jail.