Interview: Hogan on Baltimore police reform, ‘outrageous’ school bill

WASHINGTON — Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan says that he agrees with Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh and Police Commissioner Kevin Davis that the Justice Department agreement to reform the city’s police department should move ahead.

Asked for his thoughts while a hearing on the consent decree was held in Baltimore, Hogan told WTOP, “We are all committed to making the progress that was recommended in the consent decree. I believe the commissioner and the mayor have been making great progress and will continue to do so.”

Hogan visited Baltimore in the wake of the riots that erupted in 2015 after a Baltimore man, Freddie Gray, died while in police custody. At that time, Stephanie Rawlings-Blake was serving as mayor and the police department was led by Commissioner Anthony Batts. Hogan credits the new leadership in Baltimore with “making improvements and moving in a new direction.”

While Hogan spoke to WTOP, Maryland state lawmakers were busy launching an override of his veto of the “Protect Our Schools Act,” a bill that Hogan decried as “outrageous.” Hogan said the bill jeopardizes $1.25 billion dollars in federal aid to schools, while supporters insist that’s not the case.

Hogan, who appeared with U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos at a Bethesda school last month, said he’s growing impatient with attempts by Democrats in Annapolis to tie his policies to those of the administration of President Donald Trump.

Hogan said he supports allowing students to attend public charter schools, and that shouldn’t be confused with attempts to “privatize” education.

“I’ve never talked about privatization” he said. “I’ve said over and over again that I believe very strongly that every child in Maryland deserves a world-class education and an opportunity for a better life regardless of what neighborhood they happened to grow up in.”

Hogan also talked about his stance on federal health care policy.

“Maryland is going to do everything we can to protect the people that are covered now,” he said. “The Affordable Care Act needs to be fixed and repaired. There are problems with it, but we can’t do anything that’s going to jeopardize the funding the state is currently getting or putting people out on the streets that are not covered.”

  • On so-called sanctuary cities: “It’s kind of a broad term that everyone throws around loosely. There’s not a clear definition of what sanctuary cities mean,” he said. But Hogan objected to a bill that would limit local cooperation with federal authorities when a suspect is held in Maryland jails unless there is a warrant for that individual.
  • On his re-election effort and possible challengers: “I just try to do the very best job that I can do,” the governor said. “And as far as potential challengers: the more the merrier as far as I’m concerned. Anybody that wants to run ought to give it a shot. And we’ll just let the voters decide whether they think we’ve done a good job or not.”

Hogan talked to WTOP via telephone from his office in the State House in Annapolis.

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