General Assembly completes three veto overrides

January 21, 2004|By Michael Dresser | Michael Dresser,SUN STAFF

The General Assembly completed its override of three of Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr.'s vetoes yesterday, the first such exercise of legislative muscle in Maryland since 1989.

As expected, the votes in the House of Delegates on the overrides closely followed party lines. The actions follow similar votes last week in the Senate.

The bills enacted over the governor's objections yesterday included an energy-efficiency standards act that passed with the support of the state's leading environmental groups. The bill will set minimum energy efficiency requirements for nine types of appliances.

Also overridden were a bill restoring state pension rights to a group of child support enforcement workers whose jobs were privatized in the mid-1990s and a local Southeast Baltimore liquor bill.

Democrats portrayed the votes as simple policy disagreements. But Republicans depicted the overrides as a slap in the face of the popular governor.

Ehrlich himself dismissed the votes as "a one-day story."

"It was the partisan thing to do, and they decided to do it," he said during an impromptu interview in the State House hall.

Delegates enacted the energy efficiency bill by a 92-47 vote, the pension bill, 97-43, and the liquor bill on a 94-43 vote.

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