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Hogan declares paid sick leave ‘dead on arrival’

Gov. Larry Hogan (The Daily Record / Bryan P. Sears)

Gov. Larry Hogan (The Daily Record / Bryan P. Sears)

ANNAPOLIS — Two paid sick leave proposals being considered by the General Assembly are headed for a veto should either land on Gov. Larry Hogan’s desk.

Hogan, speaking to reporters Wednesday, said both bills are unacceptable and declared them “dead on arrival.”

“I support common sense paid sick leave for Marylanders,” Hogan said. “We proposed a fair, balanced, bipartisan common sense measure to expand sick leave while also making sure we didn’t crush small businesses and kill jobs.”

Hogan’s proposal, which mandated paid sick leave for companies of 50 or more employees and tax credits for smaller businesses to also offer leave, was killed in committee in favor of legislative options in the House and Senate.

“This (Senate) bill, and another one in the House are not common sense compromise bills,” Hogan said. “If either of these job-killing bills reaches my desk, they are dead on arrival. I will veto them immediately because they will simply kill businesses and hurt jobs.”

The first-term Republican made his statements on the same day the Senate gave preliminary approval to a plan to require businesses with 15 or more provide employees five days of paid sick leave.

Hogan said the bill “could be disastrous for our economy which would hurt small businesses and likely cost us thousands of jobs.”

The governor added the bills “are not really serious proposals. They are an attempt, simply a partisan attempt, to put points on the board to use against me in a campaign in 2018.”

The Senate bill could come up for a final vote as early as Thursday morning.

A second bill passed by the House of Delegates calls for seven days of sick leave. That bill is now being considered by the Senate and is expected to be amended to reflect the Senate version.

“We’re still going to continue to work to find compromise but as I said, these bills are far worse than they voted against last time,” Hogan said.

Veto viability

Hogan’s compromise position is unclear.

“We don’t have a specific wording of a bill that has to be,” Hogan said. “We’re happy to work with them but the marker we laid down was, we didn’t want a bill that was going to actually hurt our economy, cost us businesses and kill thousands of jobs. That’s what their bill does.”

Hogan’s threat amplifies concerns about the ability of the Senate to override a veto.

Earlier Senate votes on proposed amendments have not shown consistent, veto-proof majorities, meaning 29 votes in the 47-member chamber.

Sponsors of the House and Senate bills – Del. Luke Clippinger, D-Baltimore City, and Sen. Thomas M. “Mac” Middleton, D-Charles County and Senate Finance Committee chairman — were not immediately available for comment.

Middleton, speaking on the floor of the Senate on Wednesday, countered concerns about the Senate bill hurting jobs by citing five other jurisdictions that had enacted such legislation without detrimental effects to businesses or job loss.

A spokesman for House Speaker Michael E. Busch declined to comment. A spokesman for Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr. was not available.

Hogan’s declaration did draw criticism from the Maryland Democratic Party.

“With Maryland working families in need of earned sick leave more than ever before, it’s disappointing that Gov. Larry Hogan continues to point fingers and shift blame rather than put an honest effort into working with Democrats across the aisle,” said Bryan Lesswing, a spokesman for the Democratic Party.


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