Vetoes for Schaefer

May 13, 1992

In his five-plus years as governor, William Donald Schaefer has used his veto power judiciously. Only two substantive vetoes have been overridden. Mr. Schaefer sets aside considerable time to study, discuss and reach conclusions on bills that must be signed or vetoed by the end of May.

We have some advice for the governor as he nears decision time. These five bills rank high on our list as prime candidates for vetoes:

* A House bill permitting office staff, with only 30 hours of training, to handle X-ray exams in a doctor's office. This is woefully inadequate medical education for individuals operating X-ray equipment. It could prove more costly to patients and lead to excessive X-ray exams.

* A Senate bill creating a loophole for a small number of individuals who lack the normal academic qualifications to take the licensing examination for psychologists. This is a narrow, special-interest bill with constitutional problems.

* A measure permitting 3,000 state employees to take early retirement -- and receive a 17 percent boost in pension benefits. This would cost the state nearly $40 million and deprive the government of some of its most experienced workers. The bill also would bar the governor from replacing most of these workers. We prefer letting the governor shrink the size of government by eliminating 600 vacant posts: It doesn't cost anything and it gives managers much-needed flexibility.

* A bill turning the final decisions on suspensions of state workers over to a hearing examiner. The personnel secretary now has that power, and that's where it should remain. Otherwise, the administration would have no control over employee matters of this nature.

* A bill forcing the Motor Vehicle Administration to send out "road crews" from its branch offices on the Eastern Shore to provide services in rural communities. This program was eliminated as a cost-containment measure. The bill runs counter to the explicit directions of both House and Senate budget committees.

The governor has also been urged to veto a few other bills that should, instead, receive his support. One would let certain podiatrists undertake limited ankle surgery under the strict supervision of local hospitals. Another bill would set up a new licensing category for social workers who concentrate on clinical treatment of patients. And a third bill would crack down on door-to-door solicitors who use high-pressure tactics to squeeze money out of elderly Marylanders. In all three cases, the governor should sign the bills. They are solid pieces of legislation that will help, not harm, the state and its people.

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