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‘Time is running out’: Md. governor wants lawmakers to do more before end of session

FILE — Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan speaks about the shooting at Great Mills High School during a news conference in Great Mills, Md., Tuesday, March 20, 2018. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

ANNAPOLIS, Md. — Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan said he is pleased with some of the progress made during the General Assembly session in Annapolis.

State lawmakers passed — and Hogan already signed — a bill that would terminate a rapist’s parental rights. And both chambers in the Maryland General Assembly are also moving toward passage of the plan to provide dedicated funding for Metro at $167 million per year.

But, as Hogan noted, Maryland’s legislative session will come to a close April 9.

With just two more weeks until the end of the session, Hogan said, “Much more remains to be done.” Referring to lawmakers, he said, “They must still take final action on school safety, health care, violent crime, tax relief, jobs and education accountability.”

Speaking at a news conference Monday in the State House, Hogan urged lawmakers to move forward on his crime package. “Last year, there were a staggering 342 homicides in Baltimore City alone,” he said.

“There can be no more excuses. Time is running out. We need to take action and we need to do it right now, in the next two weeks,” Hogan added.

Hogan issued emergency legislation on school safety on March 7. Last week, when he raced to St. Mary’s County to the scene of a shooting at Great Mills High School, the governor said it was “outrageous” that lawmakers hadn’t acted faster on his emergency legislation.

At a hearing on the bill last week, Maryland Del. Eric Luedtke, a member of the House Ways and Means Committee, addressed Hogan’s comments blasting lawmakers for not acting faster. Luedtke told Hogan’s Chief Legislative Officer Christopher Shank that he’d never been so disappointed in the governor’s comments.

Luedtke’s colleague and chair of the committee, Del. Anne Kaiser, pointed out to Shank that the governor’s bill was submitted late in the session, but despite that, was moved out of the rules committee within days.

When asked about the exchange, Hogan said he stood by his earlier comments: “I said exactly what I wanted to say, exactly the way I wanted to say it.”

“We’re talking about saving kids’ lives, so sorry if somebody had their feathers ruffled. This is about getting the bill done. They have two weeks to do it,” he added.

Funding Hogan’s public school safety requires a funding mechanism in a bill that, right now, isn’t moving in Annapolis. When asked about that, Hogan said, “The one with my name on it isn’t moving forward, but I think there are still proposals to have a lockbox to make sure casino revenue goes into schools. They should still pay for these improvements out of that money, so we’ll see. They’ve got two weeks to work it out.”

And, when asked if the committee to funding Metro might have been spurred by the possibility of Amazon locating its “HQ2” in Montgomery County, Hogan said it may have been a consideration.

“We have to have a functioning transit system,” Hogan said.

The governor was asked about the proposal before the Public Service Commission to create a network of charging stations for electric vehicles.

He indicated that in order for electric vehicles to become a larger part of the transportation picture, more charging stations are needed. Referring to the state’s Clean Cars Act of 2017, legislation that he signed into law last year, Hogan said, “You can’t really have electric cars if you don’t have somewhere to charge them up.”

Editor’s note: This story has been updated to clarify Gov.r Hogan’s comments on plans to expand charging stations for electric vehicles.


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