When a bill reaches Governor Larry Hogan’s desk he has three options: sign, veto, or pass over.
Last week, he passed over dozens of bills allowing them to become law without his signature.
“I think the Governor acknowledges that the good outweighs the bad. He's not crazy about them, but he's going to let them become law,” said State Senator Jim Brochin (D-Baltimore County).
The brewery bill was one of those new laws.
In his letter to House Speaker Michael Busch, Governor Hogan outlined his reservations to House Bill 1283 Alcoholic Beverages – Class 5 Brewery License, but wrote, "I am allowing HB 1283 to become law without my signature so that the Diageo project can move forward."
It's a project that comes with a $50 million investment and transforms an old plant into a Guinness brewery, the only one of its kind in the U.S.
“It's going to be family-friendly. It's going to close at 10 o'clock at night. So that was part of the compromise, so we won't hurt the other bars and restaurants around there,” said Senator Brochin.
Breweries with the Class 5 license would only be permitted to sell and serve their product from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Sunday. Several breweries have pushed back against the hour limitation.
“Everything in life is a trade-off, right? So yes, the hour limitation hurts and the Governor acknowledged that but also the limitation before Diageo came to town … was you cannot brew beer if you did more than 500 barrels a year, and this quadrupled that to 2,000 barrels. So, we're going to let a lot of microbreweries in,” Brochin said.
Governor Hogan’s inaction also permits a bill that would alert the Maryland Attorney General to prescription drug price-gouging. Hogan said the legislation raises "legal and constitutional concerns" because it doesn't define how much an "unconscionable increase" is.
And other bills lacking Hogan’s “John Hancock” but still becoming law includes prohibiting public schools from suspending or expelling kids in pre-k through second grade, with some exceptions.
As well as a new measure that would protect beekeepers if they kill a black bear in order to defend a honey bee or certain bee colony. Bill sponsor, Delegate Mike McKay (R-Allegany and Washington Counties), wore a Winnie the Pooh-inspired outfit to bring attention to the legislation.
“You pick and choose battles and I think the governor has picked his battle this session on earned sick leave,” said Brochin.
Governor Hogan vetoed the bill that would have required businesses with 15 or more employees to provide paid sick leave. The General Assembly can attempt to override his veto in January or if a special session is called before then.