Poll favors sick leave bill, but veto override may be at risk

The latest polls show most parts of the state favor paid sick leave (which would benefit more than 700,000 Marylanders not now covered). Most parts of the state look unfavorably on Hogan’s veto of the 2017 sick leave bill. But Kurtz’s post – he has a highly developed feel for the whole range of political activity in our state – contains a warning. He notes, in closing, “Hogan and other members of his administration have been exhorting business groups to help them whip up opposition to a veto override.”

Working families who expect the Assembly to routinely override the bill (it was passed with veto-proof majorities in both chambers) need to remember that this is an election year and that “business groups” are sources of big campaign money for even ostensibly progressive Democrats who constitute the majority in both chambers. Those potentially wobbly members, especially in the Senate where the veto-proof majority was narrow, need to hear from their voters that they will push back hard on those who switch their votes when the override comes up.

In a post yesterday, Josh Kurtz of Maryland Matters discussed a just-released poll on Marylanders’ feelings about the value of the paid sick leave bill passed last session by the Maryland General Assembly (after four years of struggle!) – and how they feel about Gov. Larry Hogan’s veto of the measure, which the Assembly is expected to override at the beginning of the 2018 session in January.

Most parts of the state favor paid sick leave (which would benefit more than 700,000 Marylanders not now covered). Most parts of the state look unfavorably on Hogan’s action. But Kurtz’s post – he has a highly developed feel for the whole range of political activity in our state – contains a warning. He notes, in closing, “Hogan and other members of his administration have been exhorting business groups to help them whip up opposition to a veto override.”

Working families who expect the Assembly to routinely override the bill (it was passed with veto-proof majorities in both chambers) need to remember that this is an election year and that “business groups” are sources of big campaign money for even ostensibly progressive Democrats who constitute the majority in both chambers. Those potentially wobbly members, especially in the Senate where the veto-proof majority was narrow, need to hear from their voters that they will push back hard on those who switch their votes when the override comes up.

Here is Kurtz’s post from Thursday, Oct. 12:

 /By Josh Kurtz<>Maryland Matters/ Three-quarters of Maryland voters want employers to provide robust paid sick leave benefits to their workers, according to a poll conducted for advocacy groups.

Specifically, 74 percent of survey respondents supported requiring companies with at least 15 employees to provide five days of paid sick leave each year to full-time employees. A bill that emerged from the legislature this year would have accomplished just that, but was vetoed by Gov. Larry Hogan (R), who had a less comprehensive proposal for paid sick leave.

Fifty-seven percent of those polled said they favored legislators overturning Hogan’s veto when they return to work in January.paid_sick_in_the_house_vote.jpg

“This poll has confirmed what we already knew,” said Caryn York, executive director of the Job Opportunities Task Force, one of the advocacy groups that commissioned the poll. “Marylanders from every corner of the state support this legislation, because no one should have to choose between their paycheck and their health.”

The poll of 625 regular Maryland voters was conducted Sept. 27-30 by Mason-Dixon Polling & Strategy Inc. It had a 4-point margin of error.

Support for the paid sick leave measure was at 80 percent or greater in Baltimore city, central Maryland and Prince George’s County, and topped 60 percent in more conservative areas like Western Maryland and the Eastern Shore/Southern Maryland. Eighty-one percent of women and 67 percent of men favored the proposal. Even 59 percent of Republicans said they supported the idea.

By region, support for overriding Hogan’s veto ranged from 67 percent in Baltimore city to 44 percent on the Eastern Shore/Southern Maryland.

Hogan’s press office did not respond to requests for comment Wednesday. After vetoing the bill, Hogan said his administration would work on a compromise earned sick leave proposal for the 2018 session, but there’s been no sign of one yet. Hogan and other members of his administration have been exhorting business groups to help them whip up opposition to a veto override.