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O’Malley Won’t Veto Bill On Parole Decision Time

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(AP Photo)

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) — Gov. Martin O’Malley said Wednesday he won’t veto a bill that limits the time the governor gets to make a decision to grant parole for an inmate sentenced to life in prison.

O’Malley, a Democrat, announced that the bill is one of three that will become law without his signature. He also announced he is vetoing four bills.

The parole legislation requires the governor to make a decision in 180 days, if the state parole commission has recommended someone be paroled. If the governor fails to act in that time, the inmate will be released. O’Malley wrote in a letter to House Speaker Michael Busch that he believes 180 days is sufficient time for review.

“The victims and their families, the public, and the inmates deserve a timely answer,” O’Malley wrote. “However, given the gravity of the offenses for which these inmates are serving life sentences, Maryland citizens would be better served if the default provision in the legislation was to deny the parole request rather than to grant it.”

Supporters of the bill have criticized O’Malley, who is in his second term, for never acting on parole recommendations for people with life sentences.

O’Malley is vetoing a bill requiring circuit courts to adopt uniform subpoena procedures. The bill was amended to allow lawyers and other officers of the court to obtain signed and sealed subpoenas, and the change brought criticism from the judiciary out of concern that it invites misuse of the legal process by removing the safeguard of the clerk.

The governor also said he will veto a bill that prohibits a former member of a designated retirement and pension plan within the State Retirement and Pension System from receiving a retroactive vested benefit allowance, if the member files for vested benefits after normal retirement age. O’Malley contends the bill unintentionally imposes a harsh punishment on former teachers and state employees who do not file their application for benefits upon reaching normal retirement age.

O’Malley announced he will veto a bill that requires Frederick County or a municipality in the county to grant a property tax credit for property leased to a nonprofit school and used exclusively for primary or secondary educational purposes. O’Malley said he was vetoing the legislation at the request of the bill sponsors, because it creates the unintended result of granting a property tax exemption to all private schools that lease property in Frederick County.

O’Malley also said he will veto a bill that changes how members of the Allegany County Board of License Commissioners are appointed by subjecting an appointment by the governor to the advice and consent of a local political central committee.

O’Malley is letting two other bills become law without his signature.

One of them is an alcoholic beverages bill that creates an entertainment facility license and an entertainment concessionaire license for a proposed slot machine casino in Anne Arundel County and for concessionaires adjacent to, but independent of, the facility. O’Malley said the bill is flawed because it doesn’t completely address the issue of the sale of alcohol on Sundays. But the casino owner has delayed opening a temporary slots facility until June 2012, eight months later than first planned. O’Malley said that means it’s very likely that if the bill were vetoed, the flaw in the bill could be fixed by the General Assembly prior to the need for any licenses.

O’Malley also is letting a bill become law that changes an exemption from coverage under the state unemployment insurance laws for drivers who perform work for messenger delivery businesses.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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