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Council President Scott Responds to the Governor’s Veto of Funds for Educational Equity, HBCUs and More

BALTIMORE, MD (May 7, 2020) — In response to Governor Hogan’s veto of the Blueprint for Maryland’s Future and funding for HBCUs, resources to fight violent crime, and the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, Baltimore City Council President released the following statement, which calls the Governor’s decisions “shortsighted” and counter to COVID-19 recovery efforts:

“I am deeply saddened at the news that Governor Hogan has vetoed the Blueprint for Maryland’s Future, a piece of legislation that would have brought insurmountable promise to our students in Baltimore, and across the State of Maryland. This news comes as a devastating blow. The children of Baltimore, tomorrow’s future leaders, were depending on this once-in-a-generation opportunity to have schools that are equitably funded and be trained for the jobs of tomorrow. 

Baltimore City was ready. Nearly a year ago, I introduced a resolution calling on the Finance Department to prepare for the Kirwan Commission’s recommendations. The City Council held an initial hearing on this topic in early December 2019, and in February, under my leadership, the entire City Council issued a joint letter in support of HB 1300/SB 1000: Blueprint for Maryland’s Future - Implementation, the legislation containing the recommendations of the Kirwan Commission. 

The devastation of COVID-19 has wreaked further havoc on their education, leaving many without the resources to continue their studies remotely. Without the promise of Kirwan’s funding, these students will once again be left to pick up the pieces of a broken system. 

I will continue to do everything in my power to ensure that our students receive the funding they deserve for their futures. Every student in the State of Maryland deserves a quality education regardless of neighborhood or jurisdiction. This is not the end of our fight for the future of our youth. 

I am also extremely disappointed by Governor Hogan's decision to veto HB 1260 - Historically Black Colleges and Universities - Funding. This legislation would have provided $580 million in critical funding to the state's four historically black universities, two of which are located in Baltimore. For generations, Maryland has underfunded and failed to support its HBCUs. This legislation was an opportunity to begin to right some historical wrongs, but Governor Hogan has shortsightedly refused to do so. 

At a time when Baltimore is on pace for another year with record levels of violence, I am baffled by the Governor’s decision to veto legislation that would have provided Baltimore much-needed resources and tools to reduce violence. This package of legislation would have supported violence prevention, allowed the Maryland State Police to patrol parts of Baltimore City, created warrant apprehension task forces, and provided other resources to fight violent crime. These are tools that would have freed up BPD officers to focus on violent crime and helped clear the backlog of warrants.

The Governor also vetoed HB 1658/SB 1065 - Economic Development - Baltimore Symphony Orchestra - Funding and Reporting. After completing an extremely successful turnaround campaign, this legislation was the State’s opportunity to properly support the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, which is unique among big city symphony orchestras in that it was created by the City of Baltimore for the citizens of Baltimore. Its musicians have shown a commitment to being a part of the community. We simply must provide it the support it needs to complete its turnaround and continue to serve the people of Baltimore City.

I strongly encourage the Maryland General Assembly to override the Governor’s misguided vetoes on each of these pieces of legislation.  

In all, it’s clear that Baltimore’s economic recovery from COVID-19 and the long term success of our students and our communities will be more challenging than ever. Baltimore is resilient, and I will do everything in my power to make it so that all of our residents are able to not only survive, but to thrive."

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