Governor Larry Hogan will sign 209 bills today in what is believed to be his eighth and final bill signing of the 2017 legislative session.
The list includes a package of measures to address the state’s growing heroin epidemic. But missing from the hundreds of bills are several high-profile measures that are awaiting action from Hogan, including a top priority of Democratic legislative leaders that requires employers to provide paid sick leave benefits to their workers.
The Washington Post reports,
Hogan also has yet to take action on several other measures, including one that gives the attorney general the power to take legal action against drug companies that dramatically increase the price of off-patent or generic drugs; a bill that allows pharmacists to dispense contraceptives and a piece of legislation that prohibits public and private colleges and universities from including questions about criminal history on their applications.
The governor has 30 days to take action on bills presented to his office. The clock runs out on the paid sick leave bill on Saturday, May 27.
“Too many families know all too well that even if you are lucky enough to have affordable health care if you can not afford to take a day off to see a doctor,” Liz Richards, the director of the Working Matters Coalition, said in a statement. “Governor Hogan has the power to make this smart policy change for a stronger, healthier Maryland by signing” the bill.Hogan’s office would not comment on whether he plans to veto the paid sick leave bill or if he plans to let the bill become law without his signature.
If Hogan refuses to sign the bill, it won’t be the first time he has allowed a socially progressive piece of legislation to become law without his signature.
Earlier this year, the governor allowed a bill to become law without his signature that commits state funds to reimburse Planned Parenthood clinics for their services if Congress defunds the organization. Hogan also let a measure move forward without his signature that gives additional state money to the attorney general’s office to help it sue the Trump administration over health care, environment and immigration.
The bill would also require county governments to provide sick leave to all employees. While county governments generally provide generous benefits, at a much higher rate than the legislation would require, MACo opposed the legislation, raising concerns about the bill’s potential effects on provision of emergency and essential services and with the bill’s broad requirements for providing leave to part-time, seasonal, and contractual employees in the same manner as full-time employees.