Maryland lawmakers voted Saturday to overturn Governor Larry Hogan’s veto of police reform legislation, becoming the first state to repeal its Law Enforcement Officers Bill of Rights, The Washington Post reports.
The news arrives just a day after the Republican governor vetoed a slate of criminal justice reform bills, claiming the legislation would “result in great damage to police recruitment and retention, posing significant risks to public safety throughout the state.”
The bills approved by the Democrat-controlled legislature terminate the state’s police Bill of Rights, which provided protection for law enforcement and thus was considered by many to be “a major barrier to accountability and transparency.” The measures enacted Saturday outline a new procedure for disciplining officers accused of wrongdoing that will replace the powerful police bill of rights, according to The Washington Post.
The Democrat-controlled General Assembly has been working on reforms for months, following last summer’s nationwide protests against racial injustice. Motivated by the death of George Floyd nearly one year ago, democrats celebrated the veto overrides as a victory toward equality.
“Last year, I attended and participated in multiple demonstrations of people demanding change — the young and the old, people of all races and walks of life,” said Sen. Charles Sydnor, a Democrat who sponsored one of the measures. “With so many situations being thrust before our eyes, we could no longer deny what we see, and I thank my colleagues for believing their eyes and listening to the majority of Marylanders.”