We have reached the halfway point of the 2020 General Assembly session in Annapolis. In my view, one of our main priorities should be on stemming the violent crime plaguing Baltimore and accountability for those who are perpetrating these acts — or refusing to take action to stop it.
Instead, the General Assembly has spent an inordinate amount of time on unnecessary and, in some cases, counterproductive legislation.
Consider, of the 347 murders committed in Baltimore City, and 50 committed in Baltimore County, nearly all of them were performed by perpetrators using illegal handguns. So what do many of the politicians in Annapolis do? Push for major restrictions on hunting rifles and shotguns — which are almost never used in crimes — including trying to heavily regulate how people borrow or lend different types of rifles to go hunting or shooting.
Instead of more laws that are aimed at already law-abiding citizens, I’ve proposed legislation to make theft of a handgun a felony and have co-sponsored bills with Gov. Hogan to crack down on violent crime. At this time, those bills have not moved, though I am hopeful we will see some progress.
Gov. Hogan has submitted an aggressive and comprehensive crime control package that I and our District 5 delegates have proudly co-sponsored. The legislature has yet to take action. Instead we’ve seen bills to regulate balloon releases — which were already illegal under current littering laws — ban plastic bags, try to create the ability for an individual to sue someone else for wrongfully calling 911 on them, and a host of other distractions.
For the second half of the 2020 session, my focus will remain on justice for victims, giving law enforcement the tools they need to protect public safety — including closing loopholes in the law that protect repeat violent offenders — and on accountability for those who continue to terrorize communities in our state.
On the fiscal front, I remain committed to reducing the tax and cost of living burden on Marylanders and supporting common sense education reforms that are aimed at getting real results in our public school system but won’t blow up our state’s budget — or county budget, for that matter — for a decade.
I am firmly opposed to tax increases. Marylanders have one of the highest tax and cost-of-living burdens in the country, and it has extremely negative impacts on families and retirees.
As always, I want to thank you for the honor of serving you in the State Senate. I’ll do my best to keep you informed as the 2020 session heads into the second half. Please feel free to contact me with any question or concerns.
Justin Ready is a Maryland state senator representing District 5. Email him at email@example.com.