ANNAPOLIS – During the opening prayer in the Maryland House of Delegates, Curtis Stovall “Curt” Anderson, D-Baltimore, mimicked a verse to reflect the day’s agenda.
“Where there is veto, override,” he said.
Anderson’s sentiments proved true, as the House voted Wednesday to override three of Gov. Larry Hogan’s vetoes, including legislation that would give voting rights to ex-felons.
A three-fifths majority is needed in the House for an override, and 85 votes — just enough — were cast to override the voting rights veto.
Eric Luedtke, D-Montgomery, voiced strong opposition to the veto and urged his fellow delegates to follow suit.
“Voting is not just a right. It is a fundamental right,” he said. “(Ex-felons) get jobs and they pay taxes, but they should not be taxed without representation.”
The House also faced opposition to the override from several delegates, including Jason Buckel, R-Allegany, who said “there should be consequences” for those convicted of a felony.
These overrides mark the first legislative clash between the majority-Democratic House and the Republican governor during the 2016 General Assembly session.
Before discussing the voting rights bill, the House voted 90-51 to require hotel room vendors to collect sales tax and pay the full amount to the state for hotel rooms in Howard County.
The House also voted 92-49 to override Hogan’s veto of a bill that would have allocated $2 million to a performing arts center in Annapolis.
The Senate, which also holds a Democratic majority, is expected to attempt to override the voting rights bill Thursday, as two members were absent Wednesday for medical reasons. Twenty-nine votes are needed in the Senate to override a veto.
The Senate is scheduled to vote on three additional vetoes Thursday, including legislation that would decriminalize drug paraphernalia; a bill that would prevent police from taking assets worth less than $300; and a bill that would require hotel booking agencies to pay the same sales tax as hotels.