News From The Statehouse
Our community is in danger. Opioid addiction, open borders, elimination of bail, lifer parole and criminal sentencing have placed our state on a downward spiral that threatens our community. The cause is poor decision-making by state and local leaders.
The decision by the mayor of Baltimore to withdraw the police and give protestors room to riot is only one example. The courts have given a little more room by restricting the use of bail and requiring more criminal defendants to be released on the honor system pending their criminal trials.
This leftist, soft-on-crime approach has seized government at many levels. It assumes that criminals are in all cases simply good people who are victims of _______ (fill in the blank) and deserving of our understanding. Our society has made that mistake before.
Our last infatuation with criminal coddling ended horribly in the early ‘90s and brought about a crackdown and a “get tough on crime” approach. Mandatory minimum sentences were imposed, “three strikes and you’re out” laws were popular and penalties were made more severe for the worse offenders. That approach has served us well. Overall, crime rates have been declining for the last two decades.
However, now the pendulum has swung, and your state legislature has led the way with a new and improved way of thinking. Only it is not new, or improved, and will end badly.
The movement picked up steam last year with the passage of the Maryland Justice Reinvestment Act (2016 Senate Bill 1005), which erases many of those mandatory minimums and long sentences that were imposed in the ‘90s and have kept us safe. This year, the trend is continuing, with shorter sentences for cocaine dealers (House Bill 1418) and early release for felons with life sentences (House Bill 723). These changes to our criminal laws will provide an early release of 1,600 convicted drug dealers this year.
The most shocking change however is the Trust Act (House Bill 1362), which makes Maryland a criminal sanctuary state. It prohibits local law enforcement officers from doing anything to cooperate in the capture or holding of convicted felon illegal aliens for federal prosecution and deportation.
The consequences of these shortsighted policies are already being felt. The murder rate in Baltimore City has skyrocketed, and it is no coincidence that opioid addiction and overdoses have doubled and tripled in the last three years.
Our county has quickly become third in drug overdoses and deaths, and I sit in amazement in meeting after meeting on the “opioid crisis,” where our safety and health personnel ponder the causes. The problem is that the new way of thinking says drug use is not a criminal problem but a health problem; therefore, users face no consequences, no one is arrested, no one is sent to jail. It is easy to understand why more and more people feel free to give it a try. What perfect timing for the soon-to-be-released 1,600 drug dealers who will be looking for work. Fasten your seat belts.
For more information on this or any other topic, visit my website at www.leg33.com or call me at 410-841-3406.