A bill that allows Maryland residents to automatically register to vote when they interact with state agencies has become law without Gov. Larry Hogan’s signature. Maryland joins the District and 11 other states, including Oregon and California, that allow people to register while renewing a driver’s license, signing up for health coverage with the state Health Benefit Exchange or receiving help from a social service agency. “It’s a great step forward and will have tremendous impact for generations to come,” said state Sen. William Smith (D-Montgomery), the bill sponsor. “This will allow thousands of more Marylanders to participate in the democratic process.”
The bill was one of about a dozen that Hogan chose to allow to go into effect without his signature. The others included a measure that uncouples the state from the federal estate-tax rules, allowing the state to tax inheritances at its current $4 million level rather than the $11 million threshold allowed under new federal rules; legislation that provides $5 million in grants to local governments and nonprofit groups to assist in gathering an accurate count for the 2020 Census; and a measure that creates a task force to study alcohol regulations.
The bills were sent to Hogan’s desk before the end of the 90-day legislative session to give the General Assembly enough time before adjourning on April 9 to override any possible vetoes.