Maryland General Assembly overturns governor’s vetoes of police reform bills

The Maryland General Assembly has overturned three police reform bill vetoes from Gov. Larry Hogan.

The Senate overturned Hogan’s veto on SB71 and SB 178 on Saturday afternoon. Maryland delegates overturned his veto on HB670 on Friday, just hours after Hogan’s announcement.

Senate Bill 71 is sponsored by Sen. Charles E. Sydnor III (D-Baltimore County) and will require police departments statewide to provide body worn cameras for on-duty officers by 2025. It also creates an employee assistance mental health program and implements a statewide use-of-force policy.

“The governor writes that this bill is misguided and threatens lives — the status quo is misguided,” Sydnor said.

Senator Cory McCray from Baltimore City said body-worn cameras are a necessary tool.

“I know we’re doing the right thing,” McCray said.

Sen. Jill P. Carter (D-Baltimore City) sponsored Senate Bill 178, which regulates the execution of search warrants and alters the Maryland Public Information Act to allow certain officer misconduct records to be available to the public.

“This bill is about helping to restore trust between law enforcement and the community,” Senator Shelly Hettleman of Baltimore County said on Saturday.

House Speaker Adrienne A. Jones (D-Baltimore County) sponsored House Bill 670 which repeals the Law Enforcement Officers’ Bill of Rights that some said made it difficult for police departments to discipline officers.

In his veto of the three bills, Hogan said in a statement, “these bills would undermine the goal that I believe we share of building transparent, accountable and effective law enforcement institutions, and instead further erode police morale, community relationships and public confidence. They will result in great damage to police recruitment and retention, posing significant risks to public safety throughout our state.”

Valerie Bonk

Valerie Bonk started working at WTOP in 2016 and has lived in Howard County, Maryland, her entire life. She's thrilled to be a reporter for WTOP telling stories on air. She works as both a television and radio reporter in the Maryland and D.C. areas. 

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