Maryland’s Republican Gov. Larry Hogan on Thursday vetoed a bill that would have allotted $577 million to the state’s four historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) over the course of 10 years, reported The Washington Post. The passage of the bill would likely have settled a 2006 federal lawsuit.
Hogan cited the economic uncertainty created by the COVID-19 pandemic as the reason for this and other vetoes Thursday.
“As I made clear last month, given these challenges, it would be irresponsible to allow legislation that requires increasing spending to become law,” Hogan said, according to CBS Baltimore. “I am committed to working with legislative leaders on both sides of the aisle as we confront these difficult budget choices on the road to economic recovery.”
The Maryland Senate and the House of Delegates passed the HBCU bill in March with the hope it would end a lawsuit brought by the Coalition for Equity and Excellence in Maryland Higher Education. The lawsuit alleges that state policies perpetuate segregated higher education by underfunding the state’s HBCUs and by allowing traditionally White state universities to create new programs that duplicate those at historically Black institutions.
At the time, a spokesman for Hogan told The Baltimore Sun the governor is open to a legislative solution to end the 2006 lawsuit. The coalition, on its part, said last September it is willing to resolve the case with the $577 million over a period of time.