The Maryland legislature passed a bill on Thursday that will make it the first state to agree to reimburse Planned Parenthood centers in the event that the GOP and Trump decide to defund them.
The measure will allocate $2 million from the state’s Medicaid budget, and $700,000 from the state’s general fund to make up for the loss in federal funding.
This is not entirely surprising. As unfortunate as it is that the federal government will be abdicating its responsibility to fund family planning clinics that have actual doctors and, you know, do things other than just say “Hey! How about you NOT have an abortion?” it will probably be the case for most blue states if the defunding does happen. It was, however, very nice of Maryland to get that ball rolling. YAY MARYLAND!
What is surprising, however, is that Larry Hogan, the state’s Republican governor, allowed the bill to pass without his signature, along with 15 other progressive measures — including one that would fund lawsuits against the Trump administration by the state’s attorney general.
Last week, Hogan signed a bill banning fracking in the state. Which is, again, a pretty surprising thing for a Republican governor to be doing.
So what’s up with that? Well, part of it could be the fact that Maryland’s legislature is Democrat-led and he figures all his vetoes will be overturned anyway by Maryland’s supermajority Dems. Which is exactly what happened with the one bill he did veto — one that would prohibit the school board from converting failing public schools into charter schools.
It could be that, or — more likely — he doesn’t want to do anything to piss off the state’s largely Democratic constituency.
Hogan is up for re-election in 2018, and is hoping to be the first Republican governor elected to a second term in Maryland in more than 60 years. However, Trump being elected — and being extremely unpopular in Maryland — is likely going to make that a tad difficult. Hogan has, so far, strategically avoided saying anything whatsoever about Trump and his policies, which hasn’t gone over particularly well with constituents who would prefer to see their governor stand up to the president.
Given the rather robust field of potential Democratic candidates — which includes former NAACP President Benjamin Jealous — Hogan is likely trying to hold on to the Democratic votes he was able to secure in 2014 by not stepping on too many toes.