The 2009 session of the Maryland General Assembly ended April 13th and the legislation to create a blended school board in Harford County – with 6 elected and 3 appointed members – has survived. Now what?
With apologies to our Dagger readers who already know what happens to a bill passed by the Maryland legislature, here are the three possible outcomes for a bill passed this session, including the school board bill, along with some dates to remember:
1. The Governor can sign the bill into law.
Governor Martin O’Malley has planned a series of bill signing events, the first of which already occurred on April 14th and did not include the school board bill. The next two scheduled signing dates are May 7th and May 21st. If a bill is signed on any of the signing days, it becomes law.
2. The Governor can veto the bill.
The deadline for a veto of any bill passed this session is June 2, 2009. The only bills the Governor cannot veto are budget bills and constitutional amendments.
So, even though matching school board bills passed unanimously in the Senate and nearly unanimously in the House and even though the bills had the support of all three Harford County senators and the entire Harford County delegation, the Governor can still exercise the veto. A veto would kill the legislation and while an override is technically possible in the 2010 session, the process would most likely have to start over from scratch (see related story.)
In that case, the compromise of a blended school board is likely to be off the table next year and replaced by a bill calling for a referendum on a fully elected board. In recent years, similar bills have become law for Cecil and Queen Anne’s Counties where voters chose fully elected school boards by overwhelming margins.
3. The Governor takes no action from now through June 2nd.
After June 2nd, bills passed this session that have not already been signed or vetoed automatically become law, even without the Governor’s signature.
So, what will it be for the school board bill? Clearly, it’s too soon to tell.