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Md. lawmakers send to Hogan bills prompted by Trump

The House of Delegates in session on the final day of the 2016 General Assembly session. (Maximilian Franz/The Daily Record)

The House of Delegates in session last year. (Maximilian Franz/The Daily Record)

ANNAPOLIS — Maryland lawmakers sent several bills approved in reaction to President Donald Trump’s administration to Gov. Larry Hogan on Wednesday, a move that will give the Democrat-controlled legislature a chance to override any vetoes by the Republican governor before lawmakers adjourn April 10.

One bill provides $1 million beginning in fiscal year 2019 for the state’s Democratic attorney general to hire extra staff in order to sue the federal government — a measure the governor has sharply criticized. Another bill creates a commission to monitor federal actions that could affect health care in Maryland.

The General Assembly also sent Hogan a bill that would steer state funds to family planning services provided by Planned Parenthood, if the federal government cuts funding. Lawmakers presented the governor with a bill providing a framework to identify and assist struggling schools, which would prevent privatization of those schools. Hogan announced last week he would veto the schools bill.

Hogan will have six days — not counting Sunday — to veto the legislation, sign it or allow it to become law without his signature. A spokeswoman for the governor did not immediately return an inquiry seeking comment.

Bills vetoed by the governor after the legislature adjourns can’t be overridden until lawmakers are in session, presumably next year unless a special session is called. The legislature presented Hogan with a total of 27 bills on Wednesday. One would ban the hydraulic drilling process for natural gas known as fracking, a bill Hogan said earlier this month he supports.

Meanwhile, the Senate president said an immigration bill that caught the attention of U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions would not pass the state Senate in its current form.

Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr. said the state needs to allow immigrants “to live in freedom,” but not protect felons who are in the country illegally and end up in the judicial system.

A bill that passed the House last week would prevent authorities from stopping people solely to ask about their immigration status. Supporters say the bill is needed, because immigrants are afraid to report crimes out of fear of being deported. The measure would also block jails from holding an immigrant for up to 48 hours beyond when they would be released at the request of federal immigration officers.

“I want them to be able to go to school. I want them to be able to report crimes without fear of being arrested, but in terms of hampering law enforcement, in terms of hampering the judicial system, Maryland is not going to become a sanctuary state, and that’s not my fiat,” Miller said, adding he is confident he knows how the votes stand in the Senate committee that is weighing the legislation.

The Senate president’s comments Wednesday were made two days after Sessions urged Maryland not to pass the bill.

“Maryland is talking about a state law to make the state a sanctuary state,” Sessions told reporters at the White House. “I would plead with the people of Maryland to understand that this makes the State of Maryland more at risk for violence and crime — that it’s not good policy.”

The legislation in Maryland is being considered at a time when a rape case that allegedly happened in the bathroom of a Maryland high school has received national attention after the White House called it an example of why Trump wants to crack down on illegal immigration. Officials say one of the suspects charged in the case came to the U.S. from Guatemala illegally.