Frustration grows in Annapolis over crime bill inaction

Maryland

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WDVM) — When Governor Larry Hogan delivered his State of the State address to a joint session of the General Assembly last week, he was noticeably passionate about addressing the problem of violent crime in the state.

Especially in Baltimore City, where the murder rate is picking up from where it left off last year, averaging nearly a murder a day.

Yet, as the Maryland House and Senate reach the second month of their 2020 session, no action has been taken on the the governor’s anti-crime agenda.

This has Senator J.B. Jennings, a Republican from Baltimore County and Harford County, especially frustrated.

“We are passing bills making it a misdemeanor to release helium balloons because of the environmental impact from plastic. We have bills on ranked voting for elections,” says Jennings. “What about toughening penalties for committing a crime with a stolen firearm?”

Meanwhile, controversy surrounds the governor’s call for a “judicial scorecard, ” as a way to publicize sentences handed down by judges. Hogan sees this as a way to deter leniency from the bench and he has a staunch ally in Delegate Robin Grammar, Jr., a Baltimore County Republican who serves on the Judiciary Committee.

In some legal circles, however, the proposal is criticized as potentially overlooking a judge’s rationale for not handing down a maximum sentence in a particular case.

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