ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WMAR) — Republicans in the Maryland State Legislature are proposing a bill to expand the power of Governor Larry Hogan to fight violent crime.
The bill specifically focuses on Hogan's powers to declare a Violent Crime Emergency which would allow the state to immediately respond and provide resources.
Senators specifically mentioned Baltimore when crafting the bill.
“There have been 52 murders in Baltimore City so far this year. We are more than halfway through this legislative session, and Rome is still burning,” said Senate Minority Leader J.B. Jennings. “The citizens of Baltimore don’t have the luxury of waiting for the legislature to compromise. Something has to be done now to restore law and order in Baltimore.”
If the bill were passed, Hogan would be able to order a state of emergency if a jurisdiction meets a threshold of at least three homicides per 100,000 residents over a 30-day period.
In Baltimore City, that would equal about 18 murders in a month.
The Violent Crime Emergency would stay in effect for 30 days and would continue beyond that time if the threshold of violence continues to be met or exceeded.
In those cases, Hogan could direct state emergency resources, law enforcement, and other responses to combat crime and investigate and prosecute cases. The law would also allow the Governor to appoint additional prosecutors through the State Office of Special Prosecutors to prosecute criminal cases brought by state law enforcement.