NewsRegionAnne Arundel County


Tensions climb during legislative session, Governor addresses crime in Baltimore

Posted at 4:32 PM, Feb 20, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-20 17:21:33-05

ANNAPOLIS, Md. — As the legislative session has reached nearly half way, tensions are climbing.

Since the legislative session has started 104 people have been shot and 39 more people have been killed.

Governor Hogan said days before the session his number one concern was fixing the violent crime problem in Baltimore. Hogan sited polls that show Marylanders overwhelmingly agree.

He said he is frustrated by the lack of response from legislators to Baltimore City's crime problem.

Earlier this week, Baltimore Mayor Jack Young made statements about the multi-billion dollar education bill that now has tax raises proposed to pay for that bill. He reiterated that point on Thursday.

"The legislation to invest in our young people is absolutely a matter of life and death," Young said.

The Governor disagreed.

"No, that is not the top priorities of Marylanders," Governor Hogan said. "That is not a crisis and it is not a matter of life and death. The actual life and the only life and death crisis are the people being shot and killed every day in our largest city."

New Chairman of the Judicial Proceedings Committee, Democrat Will Smith, said earlier the Governors bill will not be heard by his committee unless the mandatory sentencing part of the bill was taken out.

Smith said he has seen no data that shows locking people up longer for repeated violent crime helps. Smith stated he is willing to discuss other issues of the Governor's crime bill like parole and probation, lost and stolen guns and more prosecutors.

Governor Hogan responded by saying Smith should not be chairman of the committee if he will not address his crime bill.

The Governor has changed the designation of his crime package and now has filed it as emergency legislation. That means if it is passed it can be put into law immediately.

House Speaker Adrienne A. Jones has released a statement following the press conference.

One third of murder victims in Baltimore in 2019 were under State supervision. Twenty seven percent of murder suspects were under this Administration’s supervision. Yet, he has cut staffing at Juvenile Services, Parole & Probation and Correctional Services over the past seven years. What are the Governor’s plans to inject some urgency in staffing his own Departments that can help curb some of this violence?

Crime is an urgent concern of this legislature. I met with Mayor Young and House leadership to lend our support to his efforts last summer – and took the input of County Executives and legislators from around the State in crafting the legislature’s leadership package of bills this year. We cannot just add more criminal laws on the books if the ones we have aren’t being used effectively. We cannot arrest our way out of this problem.

I have not met with the Governor once since the legislative session began. If he has an urgent concern about his bills, I invite him to pick up the phone or talk to me directly.