Governor Calls On General Assembly To Pass Emergency Crime Bills Before The Session Adjourns

Governor Larry Hogan

He also announces measures to battle violent crime in Baltimore city.

Annapolis, Md. (KM) – There’s just over two weeks left before the 2022 Maryland General Assembly adjourns for the year, and Governor Larry Hogan is calling on lawmakers to enact his emergency crime legislation.

At a news conference on Thursday in Annapolis, Hogan noted that the State Senate has approved the Judicial Transparency Act, which requires that detailed information be published on sentences for those who commit violent crimes. “While this is encouraging progress, with only 18 days left of the session, both the House and the Senate need to finish the job by finally passing the Violent Firearms Offenders Act which will actually help us get the shooters and the murderers off the streets,” he said.

This legislation would toughen penalties for offenders who use and illegally possess firearms, or who illegally supply firearms to criminals.

He said the Senate has approved this bill over the past two years, but the House has not followed suit. “This year, the Senate has passed a bill that contains many key elements at the heart of our proposal, including making it a felony to use a firearm to commit a violent crime, making the theft of a handgun a felony, and strengthening prosecutions of crimes committed with a gun by making sure trials move forward with crucial firearms evidence,” Hogan said.

“Enough is enough,” said the Governor. “Pass these bills, and get them to my desk so they can be signed into law immediately so they can immediately take affect so we can finally begin to get the violent shooters and criminals off the streets.”

Also at his news conference, Governor Hogan announced measures his office is taking to curb violent crime in  Baltimore city  He’s providing $3.5-million to add additional prosecutors to the US Attorney’s Office for Maryland. In addition, $6.5-million is being set aside to get violent offenders off the streets by expanding the Baltimore Police Department’s Warrant Apprehension Task Force, and increasing participation by state and regional law enforcement agencies to clear warrants for the highest priority cases and offenses.  That funding was a direct request from  Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott, according to the Governor’s Office.

Hogan also announced that $35-million will be available to  fund Victims of Violent Crimes Act grants to support victim services providers. This is in addition to $37-million previously committed to the Victims of Violent Cries Act funding as part of Refund the Police.

The Governor also announced that the Maryland State Police and other state law enforcement agencies will be providing enhanced support and coordination in a number of areas, including participation in the Warrant Apprehension Task Force; an increase in efforts to track down open warrants for violent criminals and investigative support for the Baltimore Police Department; enhanced visibility patrols around Baltimore city; and building a working relationship with the Baltimore Police Department’s Regional Auto Theft Task Force and the State Police Commercial Vehicle Enforcement Division and Automotive Safety Enforcement Division in conducting ongoing patrols.

“The murders, shootings  and out of control violent crime in the streets of Baltimore is the most important issue facing the city, and the number-one concern of Marylanders,” Governor Hogan said.

By Kevin McManus