ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ) -- Maryland lawmakers went back to Annapolis on Monday for a special session with a focus on re-drawing congressional lines. But Gov. Larry Hogan's administration introduced emergency legislation to the agenda that would focus on stopping crime in Baltimore.
The governor said the Violent Firearms Offender Act and Judicial Transparency Act would focus on violent repeat offenders who use guns and any potential shortcomings in the judicial process.
"Today, our administration has introduced emergency legislation to require tougher sentencing for violent offenders, specifically those who continue to commit violent felonies with guns, and to bring greater transparency to the sentences handed down by judges for all violent crimes," Hogan said in a statement.
The governor specifically mentioned Baltimore. The city has surpassed 300 homicides for 2021, a statistic that is a repeat of previous years.
Republican Sen. Justin Ready said this type of bill will go after people who keep committing violent crimes and they've gotten away with it in the past.
"It's about safer communities in our whole region and we need to get more serious about a real plan for addressing and stopping violent crime," said Ready, who represents Carroll County. "For people who've repeatedly chosen to hurt people, in my opinion whether you use a firearm or not but certainly, if you've chosen to hurt someone with a firearm multiple times, most of the time an illegal firearm by the way, to me I don't care what the root cause is on the front end here. We've got a triage situation that needs to be dealt with."
But the Democrats are the ones in the charge at the state house with a super majority, and Baltimore Senator Jill P. Carter said she believes similar laws are already on the books.
"It's a bill that would enhance some penalties and create mandatory minimum sentences on many crimes where there's already mandatory sentences," she said. "Crime is terrible and that's why the matter of urgency is finding ways to interrupt that crime, ways to prevent crime. We just implemented major police reform the last session, we're still waiting for some of that to be implemented but we believe that restoring that trust between people and the police that serve them is one major step to stamping out some of the uptick in crime."
A lady who lives and works and Baltimore but did not want to be identified, said she has called her city council member repeatedly, even though some calls have been returned, she says she has not seen a change.
"The area that I live in, I feel as though it's getting worse. I tried to contact my city council person, sometimes she calls me back, sometimes I get no response at all."
The short session was only supposed to focus on redistricting and vetoes, and some Baltimoreans don't want the governor to get too involved in city business.
"I think it's very paternalistic of him to pretend to know what's best for Baltimore City when we have city leaders who are trying to work on the problems," said Anne-Marie Gering.
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