ANNAPOLIS — Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan touted the state’s economic and job growth, bay restoration projects and investments in education in his third State of the State address Wednesday.
The Republican governor also mentioned the House Chamber paid sick leave, an initiative he announced in December that would offer tax breaks and other incentives for small businesses.
“Let’s make a compromise considering the need of Maryland employees while not hurting our small-business job creators,” he said. “This way, we can provide even more employees the benefit without hurting the small business owners and without causing the loss of jobs.”
Two major items not heard in Hogan’s speech: criticism of President Donald Trump’s orders to repeal the Affordable Care Act and enforcing a travel ban on those from Muslim countries entering the United States.
“[Hogan] said a lot of good things, but he ignored the elephant in the room: that’s President Trump and the Trump Republicans in Congress who are threatening Maryland’s jobs, threatening Maryland’s environment, threatening Maryland’s health insurance,” state Sen. James Rosapepe (D-District 21), who represents portions of Prince George’s and Anne Arundel counties, said after Hogan’s 30-minute speech. “So based on his speech, he’s not prepared to stand up to Mr. Trump and that will fall on the Democrats. We are prepared to stand up to Mr. Trump.”
Hogan also proposed several pieces of legislation to increase transparency and end government corruption, including the Liquor Board Reform Act of 2017 that would eliminate political central committees from the nominating process. Currently, all liquor control boards follow state rules and regulations, and any appointments must be approved by the governor.
The legislation was created after state officials were charged in bribery and conspiracy scandals, including former state Delegate William A. Campos of Hyattsville.
Prince George’s County Executive Rushern L. Baker III has proposed legislation for local control over the county’s liquor board, including the county executive appointing members to the board with County Council approval. Montgomery and Baltimore counties already adhere to the regulations being proposed in Prince George’s.
“What I found interesting in what he said today is, ‘The appointments for the Liquor Board are gubernatorial appointments,'” Baker said. “They’re scrutinized here in the state. If it failed, it failed here [in Annapolis].”