State Legislators Rail Against Hogan’s Paid Sick Leave Veto

State Legislators Rail Against Hogan’s Paid Sick Leave Veto

Democratic elected officials at Kensington event said they would work to override veto when General Assembly reconvenes in January

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Local elected officials including County Council member Marc Elrich, left, state Sen. Rich Madaleno, and Del. Jeff Waldstreicher joined supporters of paid sick leave at a rally Tuesday in Kensington

Andrew Metcalf

Maryland Democrats are pushing back after Gov. Larry Hogan vetoed last week a paid sick leave bill that would have required employers with more than 15 workers to provide employees with the ability to earn paid sick leave.

On Tuesday, the sponsor of the paid sick leave bill—Del. Luke Clippinger (D-Baltimore City)—joined several Montgomery County Democrats and supporters of the bill in Kensington at a rally calling for an override of Hogan’s veto.

The elected officials said the veto leaves about 700,000 working-class employees without the ability to earn paid sick leave and puts them in the precarious position of having to work sick or potentially lose their jobs.

Clippinger said he was baffled by Hogan’s decision to veto the measure, which the delegate said had been passed by the state legislature after five years of consensus building between workers’ groups and businesses in the state.

“We are going to go back in January and we are going to override the governor’s veto,” Clippinger said at the event held Tuesday afternoon at Temple Emanuel.

Hogan issued an executive order after vetoing the bill last week that calls for a study of the sick-leave issue to be completed by December so the administration can submit a new bill when the General Assembly reconvenes in January for its annual 90-day session.

“We can and we must come together by January to make this happen,” Hogan said. “I am again calling on our legislators to put the partisan politics aside and work with us to pass a better bill. Let’s reach a compromise to ensure that our small business job creators aren’t forced to lay off workers or shut their doors in order to comply with overly strict, burdensome and costly regulations.”

Amelia Chasse, a spokeswoman for the governor, said in an email Wednesday that the bill approved by the General Assembly wouldn't have gone into effect until January, which provides time to work on a compromise to create a better bill. 

"Governor Hogan supports common sense paid sick leave," Chasse said.

Clippinger disagreed with Hogan’s approach.

“What we don’t need is a task force to tell us what we already know,” he said. He also questioned why Hogan is setting up the task force after having submitted his own bill to the 2017 General Assembly session that would have required companies with at least 50 employees to provide five days of sick leave per year.

Montgomery County elected officials on Tuesday said Hogan’s measure, which was not supported in the legislature, would have preempted a Montgomery County law that went into effect last year that requires employers with two or more employees to provide earned sick leave to their workers.

State Sen. Rich Madaleno (D-Kensington) said Hogan’s bill would have taken paid sick leave away from workers in the county. He said state officials struggled to find businesses in the state with 50 or more employees that didn’t already provide paid sick leave to their workers.

“To me it was the worst solution,” said Madaleno, who is planning to run for governor in 2018. “It was crafted simply for a publicity stunt and not for actually helping real people. That’s the Larry Hogan we know in the General Assembly and hopefully the Larry Hogan the public is going to get to realize over the next 18 months.”

Madaleno said overriding the governor’s veto isn’t assured. The state Senate passed the measure with a 29-18 vote—the exact majority needed to override the veto—while the House of Delegates approved it with an 87-53 vote, two votes more than the minimum needed to override.

Ruth Martin, a Silver Spring resident who is the national director for the paid leave and paid sick days campaign at the women’s advocacy group MomsRising, said Hogan “callously” vetoed the bill. She said that for many working mothers, choosing to lose a day’s pay due to being sick or having to take care of a sick child puts them in a “terrible position.”

“We intend to see this bill become law,” Martin said at the rally. “We are very upset and when momma isn’t happy, nobody’s happy.”

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