May 26, 2005

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 976 - Children in Need of Assistance - Custody and Guardianship.

This bill authorizes a juvenile court to grant custody and guardianship of a child to a relative or nonrelative under provisions of law relating to children in need of assistance after certain conditions are met. The bill also authorizes the court to order specified reviews after granting custody and guardianship, and requires specified assurances before the court grants custody and guardianship. The court is required to see a specified child in person before the court concludes a permanency plan review hearing. Senate Bill 746, 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 976.

Very truly yours,
Robert L. Ehrlich, Jr.