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WFMD: Comptroller Franchot Says Bill To Separate Functions From His Office ‘Poorly Written,’ ‘Deeply

He says it’s political payback against him by Md.’s legislative leadership.

Annapolis, Md (KM) The fight has begun. On Thursday, both houses of the Maryland Legislature overrode the Governor’s veto of a bill to transfer regulatory authority over alcohol, tobacco and gasoline from the Comptroller’s Office to a new commission.

“I’m very grateful to Governor Hogan for doing the right thing and vetoing the bill,” says Comptroller Peter Franchot. “It’s a terrible bill. It’s done just for punitive reasons to retaliate against me for my advocacy for micro-breweries and small craft breweries.”

He says those seeking retribution against him are a “small number of people” who consider themselves “above the rules.” And Franchot names some names. “Two people: Speaker Michael Busch, and Senate President Mike Miller.”

Franchot says this whole episode smacks of corruption, where regulated industries will be allowed to determine the regulations. “It’s just creates a bad stench in Annapolis of self dealing and ethical rot,” he says.

In addition, Franchot says the bill will be difficult to implement. It transfers the 25 employees who enforce the regulations covering alcohol,. tobacco and gasoline from the Comptroller’s Office to this new commission. “But they forget to give the police that they’re moving police powers. In effect, they’re moving 25 wonderful law enforcement officers over to a new agency, and they’re going to have absolutely no power.”

He says the General Assembly next year will need to deal with this problem. “Because it’s so poorly written and deeply flawed, they’re going to come back next year with corrective legislation that says ‘oh, here is the police power, We’re granting it to the officers we wanted to move.’ Thus we’ll have a whole nother bite at the apple here,” says Franchot.

Supporters of this bill say only three states with those regulatory powers in the hands of an elected official.

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