Maryland to remove governor from parole process and limit immigration detention

Maryland governors will no longer have a role in parole decisions, and counties will be barred from making deals with the federal government to hold inmates in their local jails, after a series of veto override votes. General meeting Tuesday.

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Maryland governors will no longer have a role in parole decisions, and counties will be barred from making deals with the federal government to hold inmates in their local jails, after a series of veto override votes. General meeting Tuesday.

The Maryland House of Delegates voted 92-46 to overturn Republican Gov. Lawrence J. Hogan Jr.’s veto on Senate Bill 202 on Tuesday night, a day after a Senate override vote, officially removing the governor from the process parole for those serving life sentences.

By law, people serving a life sentence with the possibility of parole become eligible for release after serving the equivalent of 20 years, which represents a reduction in credits. At least six members of the commission must vote in favor of their release.

Parliamentary Minority Leader Jason Buckel (R-Allegany) argued the bill allowed dangerous individuals to return to the streets, noting that the suspected murderer of Evelyn Player, 69, at the Baptist Church in the south of Baltimore last month had been released on parole for violent crimes. several times.

“Start thinking about these victims, start thinking about the reality that some people cannot be fixed,” Buckel said. “There are people – there are situations – that cannot be fixed, and it’s our job to save those who can.”

Of the. Debra Davis (D-Charles), the only lawmaker to speak out in favor of the House Floor waiver, reminded colleagues that Maryland was one of only three states that required the governor to ‘He approves life sentences with the possibility of parole. , which she says inserts politics into the process.

Citing political pressure, former Gov. Parris N. Glendening (D) decided to back reform to remove the governor from parole decisions, after maintaining a tough stance against granting parole during his eight years as governor.

Immigration reforms are adopted

The General Assembly also passed Bill 16, known as the Dignity, not Detention Act, on Tuesday. The bill prohibits counties from entering into agreements with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to hold detainees in their local jails and prohibits police from asking questions about the immigration status of people during traffic stops .

In back-to-back debates, the House voted 90-49 to override Hogan’s veto and the Senate passed the policy on a party line vote

“By voting green and overturning the governor’s veto on it, Maryland will send an extremely strong message that we are better than ICE, we are better than this depravity, we are better than for-profit family separation and we stand up for the dignity for every Marylander in this state, ”said Del. Vaughn Stewart (D-Montgomery), the sponsor of the bill, from the House floor Tuesday afternoon.

Lawmakers also enacted House Bill 23, which prohibits federal agents from inspecting files containing personal information or photos and facial recognition recordings for the purpose of pursuing civil immigration proceedings unless they are not. provide a warrant.

The House overturned Hogan’s veto on a 93-44 vote, and the Senate enacted it after voting along party lines.

Immigration reform advocates watched the proceedings from the chambers of the chamber and applauded after the bills were passed by the chamber.

“Victory at State House Helps End Terror Immigrants Face at the Hands of ICE by Eradicating ICE Private Detention and Cutting ICE Access to Immigrant Driver Data “Gustavo Torres, executive director of CASA Maryland, said in a statement. Tuesday. Better yet, he rejects the governor’s anti-immigrant policies, embracing the truth that immigrants are vital members of the Maryland family.

Republicans in both houses have argued that the bills are bad policy that keeps criminals on the streets during a time of rising crime.

Senator Mary Beth Carozza (R-Lower Shore) spoke out against House Bill 16, calling the policy foolish at a time when police departments are understaffed, officers demoralized and agencies “in many areas, [have] been reimbursed.

Senate Committee on Legal Proceedings Chairman William C. Smith Jr. (D-Montgomery) countered that funding for public safety had increased in several jurisdictions – including the city of Baltimore – in recent years and that funding public safety was “not a factor in this debate. . “

Democrats also noted that neither of the bills would interfere with the execution of criminal proceedings.

“Be very clear: a violation of an immigration law is a civil violation. It is not a criminal offense, ”said Del. Wanika Fisher (D-Prince George’s). “We have to stop confusing immigrant with criminal because it is not.”

Fisher said the reform would end the practice of profiting from family separation.

“This bill – the only thing I can tell you it says – is that in the great state of Maryland we don’t make money with black and brown bodies,” she said. “We do not make money with the incarceration of black and brown bodies, and I am proud that it [legislature] said that and i know that [legislature] will repeat it by canceling this veto.

Of the. Jefferson L. Ghrist (R-Upper Shore) retorted that America “does not jail people because of their black and brown skin color.”

“We never did that,” Ghrist said, drawing groans from the Democratic-controlled chamber.

Other exemptions

In total, the Maryland House and Senate enacted more than two dozen pro-party bills on Tuesday.

House lawmakers voted Tuesday morning to overturn a bill that extends bargaining rights to employees of 16 Maryland community colleges. Similar bills have been tabled every year since 2014, but have rarely made it past a first hearing.

“We are delighted to see both the House and the Senate vote to override the governor’s unnecessary veto. Finally, Maryland law will be consistent and provide community college employees with the same collective bargaining rights as countless other government employees, ”said Travis B. Simon, director of political and legislative affairs for the SEIU Local 500.

Other bills that were enacted on Tuesday include:

House Bill 278, which will require that new positions eligible for the state’s Job Creation Tax Credit program pay a current local wage or 150% of the state’s minimum wage, provide opportunities for career advancement, offer paid time off and give employees the right to bargain collectively.

Senate Bill 133 / House Bill 319, which would allow local governments to apply county income tax on a bracket basis. The change could result in lower local tax rates for lower income residents and higher rates for the richest.

House Bill 1209, which would extend an 8% sales tax applied to ridesharing apps.

House Bill 1003, which would require the governor and members of his cabinet to notify the General Assembly’s Legislative Policy Committee within 72 hours of the execution of an emergency contract during a state of emergency.

Hannah Gaskill, Elizabeth Shwe, and Danielle E. Gaines contributed to this story.

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