Hogan: Crime and corruption are top priorities for new session

Hogan: Crime and corruption are top priorities for new session

Gov. Larry Hogan tells the media about his priorities for Maryland's 141st General Assembly, on Tuesday at the State House in Annapolis. Joining him are Chief Legislative Officer Keiffer J. Mitchell Jr., far left, and Lt. Gov. Boyd Rutherford. (Executive Office of the Governor photo)

By Bryan Renbaum

@BryanRenbaum
bryan@marylandreporter.com

A day ahead of the start of Maryland’s 441st legislative session, Gov. Larry Hogan claimed overwhelming popular support throughout the state –  and Baltimore in particular – for a series of legislative proposals aimed at reducing violent crime.

“Our bills have the support of more than 90% of people in Maryland and even higher support in Baltimore City,” Hogan said at a news conference on Tuesday at the State House in Annapolis. Hogan did not cite or indicate where he got the 90% figure from.

“This absolutely must be job one for the legislature when they begin this session…Nothing is more important.”

MarylandReporter.com asked Hogan if he has spoken with Baltimore Mayor Bernard “Jack” Young about the proposals.

“We’ve talked to Jack Young about this extensively and obviously we’ve been working together on this crime problem for quite some time and we’re hoping to get the mayor’s support,” Hogan said.

Young has pushed for better education and jobs for the city to empower the residents as a means to take back the streets as opposed to more punishment and harsher sentencing.

“We have a number of crime bills that we’re proposing, including the judicial transparency bill and the witness intimidation bill, which, by the way, has 97-to-0 support in Baltimore City. So, we’re hoping we’ll get the mayor on board,” Hogan said

The governor went on to take a subtle jab at Young.

“I can’t imagine that anybody that’s a Baltimore City official, or [who is] running for office in Baltimore City, would want to take any position that 90 percent of the people are against.”

The former Baltimore City Council president became mayor last May after Catherine Pugh resigned under pressure and was indicted on federal charges of conspiracy and tax evasion. He is running in the city’s mayoral race.

Young’s office did not respond by deadline to a request from MarylandReporter.com for comment.

Hogan unveiled the proposals last month.

The Judicial Transparency Act would require the state to make public the sentencing records of judges who adjudicate cases involving violent crimes.

The Witness Intimidation Prevention Act would increase penalties for retaliation against those who cooperate with authorities. The legislation includes a provision under which restitution payments would be made to victims.

The Violent Firearm Offenders Act would drastically toughen penalties for those who commit gun violence. The legislation targets those who illegally possess guns, such as in cases of theft or ownership by felons.

Additional measures introduced by the administration would provide $21 million in additional funding for Baltimore city prosecutors as well as funds for the attorney general’s office to hire 25 new prosecutors and personnel to assist in the prosecution of violent offenses.

Hogan also unveiled ethics reform legislation on the heels of the recent convictions of Pugh and former delegate Tawanna Gaines, D-Prince George’s, as well as the indictment of former delegate Cheryl Glenn, D-Baltimore.

The Ethics and Accountability in Government Act would increase the fines placed on those who bribe public officials by 1000%. The legislation would force lawmakers convicted of taking bribes to forgo their taxpayer-funded pensions. It would empower the Ethics Commission to bypass the courts and directly assess penalties against public officials.

“It has become clear in recent months and recent weeks that a pervasive culture of corruption continues to exist, and that even tougher and more stringent laws are needed,” Hogan said. “The Ethics and Accountability in Government Act of 2020 will strengthen and toughen the state ethics laws in an effort to help restore the public’s trust and bring further transparency, accountability, and honesty to Annapolis.”

He responded to questions on his own personal wealth when asked if he would release his tax returns detailing his finances before he became governor.

“No one has ever been more transparent,” Hogan said. “No elected officials has ever disclosed more than I have.”

The 90-day legislative session convenes today at noon.

About The Author

Bryan Renbaum

Reporter Bryan Renbaum served as the Capitol Hill Correspondent for Talk Media News for the past three-and-a-half years, filing print, radio and video reports on the Senate and the House of Representatives. He covered congressional reaction to the inauguration of President Donald Trump as well as the confirmation hearings of attorneys general Jeff Sessions and William Barr and Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh. He also filed breaking news reports on the 2017 shooting of House Majority Whip Steve Scalise and three others. Previously Bryan broke multiple stories with the Baltimore Post-Examiner including sexual assault scandals at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County and a texting scandal on the women’s lacrosse team at that school for which he was interviewed by ABC’s “Good Morning America.” He also covered the Maryland General Assembly during the 2016 legislative session as an intern for Maryland Reporter. He has a bachelor’s degree in political science from McDaniel College. If you have additional questions or comments contact Bryan at: bryan@marylandreporter.com

1 Comment

  1. John Dodd

    Baltimore and state of Maryland crime and corruption are much, much worse than people know because of a massive cover-up orchestrated by a powerhouse Baltimore law firm! Take a look at the 2008 “Black Ops, Green Groups” by Mother Jones, and the 2014 shocker by investigative reporter Christian Stork known as “Baltimore Lawyer Threw Own Client’s Case To Protect Bank-Robbing Banker From Scrutiny” found at https://medium.com/@christianstork/the-price-of-shining-light-on-the-dark-world-of-corporate-espionage-efc0b9fe0af5 to see ‘Charm City’ names …

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