ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ) -- Governor Larry Hogan promoted his legislative priorities, called for bipartisanship and noted his accomplishments as a governor in his final State of the State Address Wednesday night.
Speaking from the Old Senate Chamber of the State House, the Republican governor called on the General Assembly to act on his proposals to tackle violent crime, lower taxes and "re-fund the police."
Hogan called out Baltimore City when promoting the Violent Firearms Offender Act, legislation he said would focus on violent repeat offenders who use guns and any potential shortcomings in the judicial process.
"The reality is, no matter how much money we invest or what state actions we take, Baltimore City will not ever get control of the violence if they can't arrest more, prosecute more, and sentence more of the most violent criminals to get them off the streets," Hogan said.
Hogan also underscored "Refund the Police," his proposal to raise police salaries, help agencies with recruitment, pay for body cameras and de-escalation training, and other programs with a $500 million investment over three years.
Hogan talked about actions taken during the COVID-19 pandemic, which included building testing infrastructure, shoring up the nursing workforce and facilitating mass vaccination.
Together, we have led one of the strongest health and economic recoveries in America thanks to the heroics of our health care workers, our emergency services personnel, National Guard soldiers and airmen, and the resilience of our small business community and all the people of our state who came together, looked out for one another, and who answered the call to be 'Maryland Strong.'
But Hogan stood firm on not letting the pandemic continue to interrupt daily life while continuing to follow data and science.
"We can't let it continue to dictate how we live our lives," he said. "Our offices and businesses need to be open. Our kids need to be in school, in person."
The governor closed his speech by calling for bipartisanship in the state.
"To those who say that America is too divided, that our political system is too broken and can't be fixed, I would argue that we have already shown a better path forward," Hogan said. "And if we can accomplish that here in Maryland, then there is no place in America where these very same principles cannot succeed."
for more features.