2021 Legislative Session Review - Part 3
This is Part 3 of a four-part series on the 2021 Legislative Session.
To read Parts 1 and 2, click here.
“POLICE REFORMs” gone too far. One of the most contested and emotional issues of Session 2021 has been police reform legislation. After a wave of protests and nationwide focus on police conduct, Maryland legislators passed multiple anti-police bills that would further erode police morale, community relationships, public confidence and undermine our goal of building transparent, accountable, and effective law enforcement institutions.
 
This radical legislation strips police officers of their legal protections and robs them of their ability to keep Maryland safe, this will result in great damage to police recruitment and retention, posing significant risks to public safety. I support some police reforms, including increased training, but it must be reasonable and balanced. Governor Hogan vetoed these bills and the legislature immediately overturned his vetoes. 
 
Simply put, policing is hard work- we don’t call 9-1-1 when we are having a good day.  We call 9-1-1 when we need help and something tragic is going on. If a burglar breaks into your house at 3am, your car is hijacked, or you are robbed at gunpoint - who do you call? A social worker? We call the police when there is a crisis and someone needs help and they always show up.
 
There is no disagreement among us that police brutality is wrong, judging people by their skin color is wrong. Yes, there are some bad cops, and good cops want to get rid of bad cops too. But painting all police officers as problems and removing the protections and due process that every other profession enjoys, is unfair.
 
Each of these police reform bills has a poison pill in them - they are bad for Maryland and they put vulnerable communities, who already are most impacted by violent crimes, at an even greater likelihood of being a victim of a violent crime.
 
  I STOOD FIRM IN SUPPORTING OUR POLICE OFFICERS.
The Police Reform and Accountability Act of 2021 Maryland will be the first-in-the-nation to strike the Law Enforcement Officer’s Bill of Rights (LEOBR) and replace it with a complicated, multi-step system that will involve a number of different boards, and appellate processes. The bill also extends the State civil liability cap to claims of violation of Constitutional rights, more than doubling the cap from ($400K to $890K). Read the Governor’s veto letter.
  
Maryland Police Accountability Act of 2021 - Personnel Records - Investigations of Law Enforcement Officers (Anton's Law) is a candidate for one of the worst bills passed by the General Assembly during my nineteen years in Annapolis.  It allows for the publicizing of unsubstantiated complaints against police officers filed by unsworn individuals (currently the accuser has to file a complaint under oath). These unfounded accusations will be available to the press and the public indefinitely. This unprecedented public access to personnel records is not allowed for any other public official i.e. teachers, correctional officers or elected officials- even if the allegations are found to be true.
 
The debate over police reform is an important one, but fixing the problem is a complex issue that should not compromise those who have dedicated their lives to protect and serve us. The Governor vetoed this legislation, and the General Assembly overrode his veto. Read the Governor’s Veto Letter.
 
I voted to sustain all of Governor Hogan’s vetoes.
Delegate Susan Krebs on the House Floor, April 6, 2021, discussing SB178.
The Year of the Criminal
Victims and law-abiding citizens have been
forgotten in this conversation.
 
Criminals on Juries After convicted felons have completed their sentences, a bill passed both houses that would allow them to serve on a jury. Republicans offered a reasonable amendment to stop convicted pedophiles and sex offenders from serving on juries and that was defeated along party lines. The bill ultimately failed because of a difference in the House and Senate versions. 
 
Juveniles Convicted as Adults – Sentencing Limitations and Reduction prohibits a judge from sentencing a juvenile (under 18) to life in prison without the possibility of parole even if they are convicted of 1st degree murder, rape or kidnapping and sexually assaulting a child. The bill also allows those already serving “Life without parole” the opportunity to petition the court to reduce the duration of the sentence and get out of prison early. We offered amendments to exclude cases involving mass murders, school shootings or killing a police officer and to our amazement, the majority party voted them all down. The bill passed and the Governor immediately vetoed this legislation but the General Assembly overrode it. I voted to sustain the Governor’s veto. Read the Governor's Veto Letter..
 
Requires the State Board of Elections to provide each eligible inmate, incarcerated in prison or released from a correctional facility, with a voter registration application and documentation that their voting rights have been restored. Parole and Probation offices must display signs in conspicuous locations indicating that any individual who is no longer incarcerated has the right to vote. The most egregious part of the bill was stricken- it would have required each correctional facility to provide a secure, designated “drop box” that incarcerated individuals would use to easily submit ballots to election officials. The bill passed.
 
I supported an amendment to provide better access to voting for our congregant care facilities – it failed. Why facilitate prisoners voting and not nursing homes residents and our senior and disabled population?
Illegal Immigrants and Sanctuary Cities
 
There were a series of measures which will shield illegal immigrants from the threat of being detained by (ICE) Immigration & Customs Enforcement. There will be more protection for illegal immigrants than there will be for many legal Marylanders. 
 
Why does the state feel they have the authority to ignore federal immigration law? These bills indicate to illegal aliens that despite violating federal law, state and local officials will look the other way when it comes to their immigration status, even when accused of committing another crime. 

Maryland Driver Privacy Act Personal Information - State and Local Agencies - Restrictions on Access In 2013, undocumented immigrants were extended driving privileges. This bill would “protect” illegal immigrants by restricting ICE from accessing the driver database information to enforce federal immigration law. Bill Passed.

Dignity Not Detention Act - Correctional Services – Immigration Detention – Prohibition  Prohibits state and local detention facilities from being used to detain illegal immigrants. This legislation poses stringent limitations on local government autonomy that have significant consequences on the ability to manage local jail operations. It would prohibit the continued operation of long held federal contracts and agreements that have been locally assessed and implemented. Many of the sanctuary counties in Maryland have seen huge surges in crime. This bill would prevent the holding of these suspects that were wanted by Immigration and Enforcement – ICE. This bill also prevents law enforcement from inquiring about an individual’s citizenship, immigration status or place of birth during a stop, search or arrest. Bill Passed.

I oppose any legislation that encourages a “sanctuary state."
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