BALTIMORE — Three of the bills Governor Larry Hogan vetoed in May were discussed individually in the Senate earlier today.
Many of the vetoes were either overridden by the Senate, delayed or sustained in batches.
SB202 was one of those taken out individually and garnered heated discussion on the Senate floor before a vote was called.
SB 202 is simply a legislative power grab that removes the voice of the people in the parole process. Maryland’s Parole Commission is comprised of unelected, political appointees that do not have to answer to the public, or victims and/or their victims’ families.— Maryland Senate Republicans (@MDSenateGOP) December 6, 2021
As Senator @jillpcarter is pointing out, Maryland incarcerates the highest percentage of black men in the country. This bill takes us one step closer to righting that injustice by allowing a professional board to make decisions that reduce our prison population.— MD Senate Democrats (@MDSenate) December 6, 2021
The bill's veto was overridden in the Senate Monday morning around 11:30am, by a vote of 31-16.
The House overrode the veto on Tuesday evening, completing the overriding process.
Following the vote, we spoke with Yanet Amanuel, the Interim Public Policy Director at the ACLU of Maryland, about the importance of this bill.
"Maryland is one of three states that requires a governor have final approval in parole proceedings for individuals serving life sentences with the possibility of parole," she tells WMAR-2 News. "As a result, people that should be coming home simply haven't been coming home because politics has been injected in the process."
She adds that this is a racial justice issue.
"77% of Marylanders that are serving life sentences are Black," Amanuel says.
The ACLU worked on this bill for over a decade and it finally passed the state Senate earlier this year, and was then vetoed by the Governor.
You can watch this morning's floor discussion, the exchange over SB202 begins at about the 42:00 mark.