Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R) announced Thursday that he plans to veto a paid sick leave bill that was approved by the legislature last month, calling the bill a “deeply flawed” measure that would be “disastrous to our state’s economy.”
The action is likely to lead to a showdown between the Republican governor and the Democratic-controlled legislature during the 2018 legislative session, just months before the gubernatorial primary.
House Speaker Michael E. Busch (D-Anne Arundel) said a veto override will be a priority for the General Assembly in January.
“It’s unfortunate that the Governor would not join the General Assembly in supporting 700,000 Marylanders by signing this legislation,” Busch said in a statement. “Marylanders need the opportunity to earn sick leave so they can support their families and take care of their health while not fearing losing their jobs.”
Hogan made the announcement just days before the 30-day clock ran out on making a decision on the bill.
The governor, who offered a different paid sick leave bill, had previously said the Democrats’ measure was “dead on arrival.”
The bill passed the General Assembly with enough votes to override a veto. On Thursday, advocates implored the legislature to do just that at the start of the 2018 legislative session.
“Governor Hogan’s decision to deny hardworking Marylanders the ability to take time to care for their families is nothing short of heartless,” Liz Richards, the director of the Working Matters Coalition, said in a statement. “Make no mistake – the victims of this decision are Maryland parents and children. Instead of being able to take the time they need to care for their families, these Marylanders will continue to be forced to make decisions like taking off work to visit their sick child in the hospital or paying the rent that month.”
Hogan also announced that he he has signed three executive orders surrounding the issue. One order would create a task force, led by the state Labor Secretary Kelly M. Schulz, to study the impact paid sick leave would have on the state’s small businesses.