ANNAPOLIS, Md. - Calling crime fighting his "administration’s top priority," Maryland Governor Wes Moore used his State of the State speech to highlight new public safety bills.
Governor Moore says the state of the state is strong, but that the false choices that dominate political debates over crime need to be set aside.
Moore told the general assembly they can support law enforcement, and strengthen neighborhoods while holding criminals accountable and focusing on rehabilitation.
A key element of the governor’s crime-fighting plan is to get the general assembly to pass his just-announced juvenile justice reforms.
The Accountability, Rehabilitation, and Collaboration Act reduces the age at which prosecutors can charge violent juvenile criminals, reforms the division of juvenile services, and gives law enforcement more access to juvenile criminal histories.
"Neighborhoods are calling for us to get these illegal guns off our streets and out of our neighborhoods and bringing consequences to those who do not hear us loud enough," Moore said.
Democrats control Maryland’s General Assembly by big margins. But Republican leaders told FOX 5 that while they support many of the governor’s proposals, they’re concerned that if the juvenile justice bills start moving through the Democratic-controlled committees, they could be watered down by the end of this session.
"What we’ve found in the general assembly is that when the rubber hits the road, and it’s time to make tough choices, they just ram through what the far left special interests want on issues like criminal justice," said Senator Justin Ready.
"We want our communities to be safe for all of us. Every family in our state deserves to live in a safe community," Prince George's County Executive Angela Alsobrooks added.
The clock and the calendar are important now. Maryland’s General Assembly only meets for 90 days, and as of this State of the State speech, there are now only 62 days left in this session to get the governor’s crime bills passed.