Some Maryland lawmakers considering veto override for Kirwan Commission Bill


MARYLAND -Despite it being a new session, the debate on the Kirwan Commission legislation is once again at the forefront of discussions. Some lawmakers now eyeing overriding the Maryland Governor Larry Hogan’s veto of a bill that would get school’s the funding they need – but at a hefty price tag.

House Bill 1300 is just one of the vetoed bills some of Maryland’s lawmakers and educators are trying to override. “We’re at a point now that our schools are under-funded and really not meeting the needs of many of our students,” said President of the Maryland State Education Association Cheryl Bost.

The bill called for many of the recommendations made by the Kirwan Commission to become law. That’s something advocates say would have a huge impact on funding for Maryland’s schools. But those who plan to support the veto are raising questions about if now is the time for it. “I’m hearing from families that their mortgage is due. It’s been months since they’ve had unemployment benefits. Businesses are struggling,” said Delegate Wayne Hartman.

The bill would call for about $32 billion over the next decade to be spent. Some of that funding coming from increased and new taxes. Del. Hartman says while he supports some parts of the bill, like increasing support for teachers and strengthening career training programs, he thinks it’s better to let local school districts decide how they spend funding versus overhauling that system for the whole state. “Each county in Maryland is different and what works for one county is not necessarily what’s best for others. I’d really like to see the counties have more input individually,” said Del. Hartman.

Other law makers also tell 47ABC they plan to sustain Governor Hogan’s veto on the bill. State Senator Mary Beth Carozza’s office said in a statement in part, “At a time when the Maryland Rainy Day Fund is being drained to combat COVID-19 expenses, our State’s economic recovery simply cannot afford more spending mandates and tax increases.”

Meanwhile, Bost says she’s confident the way the bill’s funding plan is formulated will work out. She adds that the bill could even be a way to set Maryland up to be more financially stable on the other side of the COVID-19 pandemic. “This is our path forward and our job market. If we’re training more students in the career and technology education field, they will be workforce ready,” said Bost.

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