Hogan Vetoes Three Education Bills

Governor Larry Hogan today vetoed three education bills passed during the 2018 session of the Maryland General Assembly. SB 739 would have altered the makeup of the Maryland State Board of Education, HB 643/SB 678 sought to change the categories of employees in the state Department of Education and in local school systems – making more employees eligible to join unions, and HB 808 would have made it more difficult to terminate political appointees at the Maryland State Department of Education.

Hogan’s vetos are final because it is an election year, and the General Assembly may not override gubernatorial vetos during the first year of a new legislative term. MACo did not take a position on any of these bills.

According to a press release from the Governor’s Office:

Governor Hogan vetoed Senate Bill 739 – State Board of Education – Membership – Teachers and Parent. Senate Bill 739 would have changed the process Maryland uses to select members to the State Board of Education, a move that would have diluted the independence of the State Board of Education by giving teacher unions control over two additional seats on the Board, and dictating that three seats be chosen by just two stakeholder groups, a move that would risk turning this critical policy-making body into a collection of special interest group representatives.

Governor Hogan also vetoed House Bill 643/Senate Bill 678 – State Department of Education – Employment Categories and Practices. This legislation would weaken the Maryland State Department of Education’s capacity to achieve the state’s educational goals – at a time when strengthening the performance of Maryland’s schools and students is more important than ever – by hindering the Department’s ability to compete in an already competitive job market and acquire talented employees.

Finally, Governor Hogan vetoed House Bill 808 – Collective Bargaining – Education – Supervisory Personnel. This legislation would remove local authority to determine who is classified as a “supervisory employee” and give authority over local school system organizational charts to the Public School Labor Relations Board. This new structure would prohibit school leadership from ensuring an efficient operation best suited for the needs of their local school system.

“These pieces of flawed legislation join the unfortunate litany of attempts by the General Assembly over the past four sessions to pass legislation to enhance the power of partisan special interests, while eliminating transparency and usurping accountability,” said Governor Hogan. “At a time when unethical behavior and mismanagement continue to hold our school systems back from serving school children, this sequence of bills that I am vetoing today seek to move Maryland in exactly the wrong direction. Instead, we need to be working together to restore accountability for our students, teachers, and families.”

Read the governor’s veto letter here.