WASHINGTON — In Maryland, the governor gets the last say on whether or not someone sentenced to life in prison is granted parole. Now, some state lawmakers hope a bill, which has passed through the House, will eventually leave parole-making decisions solely to a state’s parole commission.
Currently in the state, once a parole board makes the decision that someone with a life sentence is eligible for parole, the governor has 180 days to deny the board’s decision. HB-723 would take the governor out of the equation.
Friday’s 79-55 vote for the bill authored by Del. Pamela Queen, a Democrat from Montgomery County, has advanced it to the Senate.
Supporters of legislation say it removes any chance that politics play a role in a decision on whether or not an inmate should be released.
Before the vote, Gov. Larry Hogan said on Facebook that he is opposed to the bill, which he believes removes needed oversight from the executive office.
“This is a role I take incredibly seriously, and I strongly disagree with giving this important responsibility to a nameless board with no accountability to voters and the people of this state,” the governor said in a Facebook post.
Maryland is one of only a few states where the governor plays a role in parole-making decisions.
The vote failed to gain the 85 votes needed to avoid a veto by the governor.
The measure now moves to the Senate, where a an identical bill is already making the rounds.