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Senate Republicans try to move Governor’s stalled bills

The Maryland state House
Joel McCord/WYPR
The Maryland state House

Republicans in the Maryland Senate are trying to petition to the floor the tough on crime bills Gov. Larry Hogan submitted at the beginning of this special session.

Sen. Bryan Simonaire, the Senate Republican leader, said Wednesday he has 15 signatures—all Republicans--on a petition to bring the bills to the floor and needs one more, a Democrat.

Hogan announced last month he would send the bills to lawmakers during the special session. They would toughen penalties for those who use firearms in crimes and to make it easier to track sentences for violent crimes handed down by judges. They’ve been introduced in both houses but have stalled.

Simonaire, noting Baltimore has recorded more than 300 homicides for the seventh straight year as crime rates have risen throughout the state, said it is urgent to pass the bills now, rather than waiting for the regular session in January.

“We cannot afford to wait another month to address a serious issue,” he said. “This truly is a matter of life and death.”

But even if they do manage to get the bills through the Senate, which approved them during this year’s regular session, it is unlikely they will get through the House where they died in April.

Del. Eric Luedtke, the House majority leader, said his chamber will be “happy to consider them during our legislative session in January.”

“But,” he added, “the special session was called for the sole purpose of moving the congressional redistricting maps and of dealing with veto overrides.

Joel McCord is a trumpet player who learned early in life that that’s no way to make a living.
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