May 18, 2021
By: Danielle Gaines
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A view of the Maryland State House from Lawyers’ Mall. Photo by Bruce DePuyt.
Gov. Lawrence J. Hogan Jr. (R) will sign more than 200 bills into law on Tuesday, including measures that would repeal “Maryland, My Maryland” as the state song, extend pandemic-era rules that allow carryout alcohol sales, and expand the availability of peace orders to include workplace violence.
The bill signing on Tuesday represents action on more than a quarter of the bills passed by the Maryland General Assembly during its 90-day session that ended in early April.
Several of the bills that will be signed Tuesday were years in the making.
Lawmakers passed the state song repeal by a wide margin in 2021, after at least 10 failed repeal attempts since 1974, including each of the last three years.
The song, which was composed during the Civil War by a Confederate sympathizer, James Ryder Randall, was made a state symbol in 1939, during heightened racial tensions in the Jim Crow era.
Among other objectionable lyrics, the song refers to President Lincoln as a despot and the Union as “northern scum.”
Hogan will also sign a measure to extend for two years loosened alcohol laws that allow restaurants, bars and taverns to sell and deliver alcoholic beverages for off-site consumption. Such sales were first allowed during the pandemic state of emergency to help keep shuttered businesses afloat through carryout orders.
Also on the list to be signed is a bill that would change Maryland’s process for seeking “peace orders” — restraining orders — to allow an employer to seek protection on behalf of an employee who has been threatened. Lawmakers have unsuccessfully attempted to extend peace orders to cover workplace violence for years.
With the governor’s signature, Maryland will also become the latest state to allow college athletes to profit from their names, image or likeness. The Jordan McNair Safe and Fair Play Act, named for a University of Maryland football player who died of complications related to heatstroke after a 2018 practice, would also create new health and safety requirements in Maryland college athletic programs to prevent and treat serious injuries. Versions of the bill have been introduced since 2019.
Lawmakers passed 817 bills during the legislative session. Nearly 90 measures have already been signed into law or taken effect without the governor’s signature. And, while they were still in session, lawmakers overrode Hogan’s veto of a half-dozen bills, including criminal justice reforms.
The governor is expected to take final action on the remaining 500 or so bills passed in 2021 by the end of next week.