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Editorial Advisory Board: Lawmakers override governor’s veto

The changes would “further erode police morale, community relationships and public confidence.”

These were the words written by Gov. Larry Hogan in his veto message to legislation regarding several very essential police reform bills. In his veto, Hogan further stated that he believed that the proposed bills were “overtaken by political agendas that do not serve the public safety needs of the citizens of Maryland.”

As a result, Maryland lawmakers voted to override Governor Hogan’s vetoes, thereby enacting legislation that will attempt hold police officers accountable and to restore trust and transparency within the community.

One of the laws enacted repeals the Law Enforcement Officers’ Bill of Rights enacted in 1974, which afforded “due process” procedure for investigating police misconduct. This new law will replace the bill of rights with more modern and realistic procedures that includes transparency for the citizens of Baltimore.

Hogan also vetoed legislation that would mandate statewide body worn cameras and would incorporate new use-of-force policies.  In addition, the legislation included a measure that would increase public access to police disciplinary records and limit the use of no-knock warrants. Lastly, one of the bills opposed by Hogan would ban the sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole for juveniles.

A staunch advocate of the bills mentioned above, Sen. Jill P. Carter, says in her support that “erosion of public confidence occurs when nothing is done after residents file complaints against police, who are “then able to exact retaliation for the complaint with full knowledge that there’ll be no transparency, there’ll be no public disclosure, and there’ll be no repercussions.”

When weighing the governor’s reasoning for not wanting to “erode police morale” and the need to restore public confidence and trust, it is evident that Maryland’s lawmakers made the right decision by overriding the veto.

In the aftermath of George Floyd, Freddie Gray and other deaths of unarmed citizens at the hands of police officers, and in light of the convictions of members of Baltimore’s own Gun Task Trace Force, this board supports these measures passed into law by the Maryland General Assembly.

Editorial Advisory Board members Arthur F. Fergenson and Debra G. Schubert did not participate in this opinion.

EDITORIAL ADVISORY BOARD MEMBERS

James B. Astrachan, Chair

James K. Archibald

Andre M. Davis

Arthur F. Fergenson

Nancy Forster

Susan Francis

Leigh Goodmark

Roland Harris

Michael Hayes

Julie C. Janofsky

Ericka N. King

C. William Michaels

Angela W. Russell

Debra G. Schubert

H. Mark Stichel

The Daily Record Editorial Advisory Board is composed of members of the legal profession who serve voluntarily and are independent of The Daily Record. Through their ongoing exchange of views, members of the board attempt to develop consensus on issues of importance to the bench, bar and public. When their minds meet, unsigned opinions will result. When they differ, or if a conflict exists, majority views and the names of members who do not participate will appear. Members of the community are invited to contribute letters to the editor and/or columns about opinions expressed by the Editorial Advisory Board.