May 22, 2003

The Honorable Michael E. Busch
Speaker of the House
State House
Annapolis MD 21401

Dear Mr. Speaker:

In accordance with Article II, Section 17 of the Maryland Constitution, today I have vetoed House Bill 196 - Sexual Offenses - Reputation and Opinion Evidence and Evidence of Prior Sexual Conduct - Admissibility.

The bill prohibits the introduction of evidence relating to a victim's reputation for chastity or abstinence, and opinion evidence relating to a victim's chastity or abstinence, in a prosecution for any rape, other sexual offense, correctional sexual offense, sodomy, incest, sexual abuse of a minor or vulnerable adult, or unnatural or perverted sexual practice.

Senate Bill 453, which was passed by the General Assembly and signed by me, accomplishes the same purpose. Therefore, it is not necessary for me to sign House Bill 196.

Robert L. Ehrlich, Jr.