Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan Increases Crime-Related Spending, Blames Democrats

“It’s not just statistics, it’s lives that have been snuffed out,” Hogan said, naming multiple victims and urging the legislature to act as he rolled out plans to spend $45 million on prosecutors, help survivors and execute warrants.

Hogan has increasingly sharpened his law-and-order rhetoric in the perennial crime reduction debate, portraying philosophical differences with Democrats as an unwillingness to act — rather than an unwillingness to embrace his ideas for solve it. As Hogan plans to run for president, he has pushed his solutions to gun violence as common sense and for a long time while trying to discredit Democratic proposals as too soft or too “woke far left.”

Hogan’s legislative proposals include tougher prosecutions for gun crimes and greater transparency in prosecuting and sentencing repeat violent offenders. A watered-down version of his bill that would have created a state commission to track and publish how judges sentence violent offenders passed the Senate this month and awaits action in the House. But most of Hogan’s other arguments — including the pivotal bill that would increase penalties for people who use guns to commit violent crimes — are stalled in the General Assembly.

Democratic state lawmakers have largely balked at the idea of ​​imposing mandatory minimum sentences, leading to the mass incarceration of black men. Instead, they pushed for more investment in programs that tackle the root causes of crime, and in recent years moved to dismantle the laws that fueled incarceration.

Last year, the General Assembly passed a historic package of police reforms, designed to increase accountability and transparency, and a measure that removed the governor from the parole process for the release of lifers. . But rising crime has refocused the debate on resources, with Hogan saying the state can only provide so much money and aid as he lambasted prosecutors and judges for lenient sentences.

“There’s no other way to get violent shooters off the streets than to put them in jail,” Hogan said when asked about the various positions. “We have invested billions of dollars to try to invest in the root causes of crime. We agree with them on the search for alternatives… We have passed a law on the reform of criminal justice. We’re moving millions of dollars into addiction treatment and mental health counseling…Second Chance Act…We’ve done it all and all of these things can make a difference in crime for decades, but they won’t stop the people who get shot this weekend.”

The $45 million investment, which will be part of the supplementary budget proposal, is Hogan’s second major crime-fighting announcement in the past six months. In October, as he created his 2023 spending plan, Hogan announced he would increase policing efforts by $150 million, including $120 million to local and state agencies to help pay pay raises, bonuses, body cameras and training. A spokesperson for Hogan did not immediately respond to a question about where the bulk money for the supplemental plan came from.

The funding announced Thursday was requested by Erek L. Barron, US Attorney for Maryland; Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott and advocates who work with victims of domestic violence, child abuse, sexual assault and other crimes.

The money would provide additional prosecutors and staff to the U.S. Attorney’s offices in Baltimore and Greenbelt, expand coordination between the state and Baltimore police to execute warrants, and support organizations that provide services to victims of crimes.

State lawmakers noted that many victims and perpetrators of crime in Baltimore are either on parole or on probation and that the state has failed to coordinate with Baltimore police to notify the city. when offenders are released.

Hogan blamed much of the blame for the inaction on the House of Delegates, noting that the Senate has incorporated some of his proposals into other pieces of legislation. Senate Speaker Bill Ferguson (D-Baltimore City) says the Senate will not pass the violent offender legislation, which he passed in previous sessions, until the House approves it. .

“Enough is enough. No more excuses. No more delays,” Hogan said Thursday. “More far left has woken up politics. Pass those bills.

When asked if he’s had direct talks with House Speaker Adrienne A. Jones (D-Baltimore), whose chamber largely owns the fate of the measures, Hogan said he didn’t. hadn’t met Jones.

“So far this session, the House has passed legislation to ban phantom guns, improve safety among gun dealers and institute critical crime-fighting reforms in state government while by providing record levels of parole and probation funding,” said Jeremy Baker, head of Jones. Staff. “Baltimore residents need investments in education and communities, not political finger-pointing.”

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