At Saturday’s United for Maryland gubernatorial forum, the six Democratic candidates were posed with a question about Republican Gov. Larry Hogan:
“What has Gov. Hogan done for which you most disagree, and if elected, what would you do differently or how would you correct it?”
State Sen. Rich Madaleno, who answered the question last in the candidate rotation, blasted Gov. Hogan for not signing a paid sick leave bill this past legislative session.
“First, from a policy perspective, the one thing that I find most disappointing is that for many people in the state, Larry Hogan earned their respect and admiration for how he handled his own bout with cancer,” Madaleno said.
Listening closely to the video, the audience can be heard agreeing with Madaleno’s sentiments.
“He did it in a very admiral way. And yet this past year, when we passed a bill to give people the opportunity to earn five days of leave – to care for themselves or their families – he vetoed that.”
Madaleno went on,
“Let me tell you, he had unlimited sick leave; he had people bringing his work to him while he lived in public housing.”
Madaleno’s delivery earned him audible laughter from the audience.
“That lack of empathy for other people fighting the same kind of illness that he had, to me, is very distressing and disappointing,” Madaleno concluded.
Hogan announced on June 22, 2015, that he was diagnosed with Stage 3 non-Hodgkins lymphoma and subsequently sought several months of aggressive chemotherapy treatment. The governor later announced that his chemotherapy was successful and that his cancer had gone into remission.
While undergoing intense chemotherapy treatments, the governor kept pace with his demanding schedule, working sometimes several hours a day from his hospital room and the governor’s residence that is adjacent to the State House grounds. Hogan’s staff, according to many reports, were sometimes miffed with the governor’s eagerness to continue with his intense schedule.
Earlier this year, as Madaleno referenced, Hogan vetoed legislation that would have required Maryland employers with more than 15 workers to earn paid sick leave.
Hogan said he vetoed the Democrat’s paid sick leave bill because it was “simply very bad policy” and would kill small businesses in Maryland.
The first-term Republican governor proposed his own paid sick leave bill that was shut down in the heavily dominated Democratic legislature.
Hogan turned his ire towards the Democrats for failing to pass what he called a “common-sense” bill that would have created incentives for employers to offer paid sick leave. He urged Democrats to work with him on a bipartisan sick leave bill during the next legislative session. Many Maryland Democrats have rejected Hogan’s appeals for a bipartisan bill.
At a press conference held earlier this year at the State House, Hogan reaffirmed his commitment to policies that would ensure Maryland workers receive extended sick leave.
The governor subsequently signed an executive order creating a task force to study the implications of paid sick leave across the state. He has instructed the group conducting the study to report its findings by this December so his administration can submit emergency legislation to replace the Democrat’s bill by the time the next legislative session begins.
The governor also signed two additional executive orders – one that provides paid sick leave benefits to all of the state’s contractual employees in the executive branch (more than 8000 employees) and another that authorizes all Maryland procurement authorities to begin a preference for contractors who offer paid sick leave to employees.
Maryland House Speaker Michael Busch said overturning the governor’s paid sick leave bill veto will become the legislature’s first priority at the beginning of the 2018 legislative session.