Today is the end of the first full week of the 2024 Legislative Session. One of Senator Bailey’s top priorities continues to be passing legislation to improve public safety in Maryland. In addition to bills that he has introduced to increase the maximum sentences for vehicular homicide and indecent exposure in the presence of a minor, Senator Bailey has also co-sponsored five public safety bills introduced by the Senate and House Republican Caucuses.
Senate Bill 28 – Crimes and Corrections – Penalties and Procedures (Violent Firearms Offender Act of 2024) would increase the maximum penalty for committing crimes with an illegal firearm from 3 years to 5 years of in prison and raises the maximum fine from $2,500 to $10,000. It also repeals an exception to Maryland’s crime of violence statute where drug dealers who use a firearm in the commission of a felony are not charged with a crime of violence. Finally, the bill creates new penalties for someone who sells or gives someone a gun knowing that it will be used to commit a crime.
Senate Bill 39 – Gun Theft Felony Act of 2024 would classify the theft of a firearm as a felony, carrying a maximum penalty of 5 years and/or a $1,000 fine for a first offense and 10 years and/or a $2,500 fine for subsequent offenses.
Senate Bill 44 – Safe Communities Act of 2024 would change Maryland’s system of diminution credits as it pertains to those who commit crimes of violence. Under the bill, individuals convicted of first- and second-degree murder would be ineligible to receive diminution credits that can reduce their prison sentence. Those convicted of other crimes of violence would have their diminution credits capped to no more than a 10% reduction in their total sentence. This bill also prohibits bail for an individual charged with a crime of violence if the individual has pending charges for a previous crime of violence.
Senate Bill 52 – Juvenile Justice Restoration Act of 2024 would amend recently passed laws, which Senator Bailey has opposed, that have limited the ability of the State to hold juvenile offenders accountable. In particular, the legislation will require that juveniles younger than 13 who use firearms in the commission of a crime will come under the jurisdiction of the juvenile court system. The bill also provides that upon the child’s third arrest for a crime is not considered a crime of violence or a crime committed with a firearm, the child will come under the jurisdiction of the juvenile court system.
Senate Bill 396 – Criminal Procedure – Stops and Searches – Cannabis Odor and Admission of Evidence (Drug–Free Roadways Act of 2024) would allow a law enforcement officer to initiate a stop or a search of a vehicle based on the smell of cannabis, as was permitted before the passage of a bill that Senator Bailey opposed in the last legislative session.
Senator Bailey looks forward to the consideration of these bills during this session and is hopeful that the General Assembly will take meaningful action to improve public safety this year.
This week, Governor Moore introduced the State budget for Fiscal Year 2025. While significant ongoing spending challenges remain, the budget as introduced is balanced without raising taxes. The budget also spends 1.7% less than the Fiscal Year 2024 budget. As a member of the Budget and Taxation Committee, Senator Bailey looks forward to considering the budget and working towards solutions to protect the long-term fiscal health of our State without raising taxes on Marylanders.
Fairness in Girls’ Sports Act
This week, Senator Bailey signed on as a co-sponsor to Senate Bill 381, the Fairness in Girls’ Sports Act. This bill requires an athletic team or sport that is sponsored by a school to be expressly designated as one of the following based on biological sex: a boys, male, or men’s team or sport, a girls, female, or women’s team or sport, or a coeducational or mixed team or sport. The bill also provides that an interscholastic or intramural athletic team or sport designated for girls, females, or women may not include students of the male sex.
Sportsmen’s Caucus Luncheon
On Thursday, Senator Bailey was proud to welcome the Hunters of Maryland and the Association of Forest Industries to Annapolis for their annual legislative luncheon. This provides an opportunity for Maryland’s hunting and fishing communities to discuss issues of importance to them with members of the General Assembly. The Senator is the Senate Chair of the Maryland Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus and an executive board member for the National Assembly of Sportsmen’s Caucuses.