State of the state: Live

State of the state: Live

Gov. Larry Hogan is delivering his final State of the State address of his four-year term today in Annapolis.

    We brought all the stakeholders together and hammered out a compromise phosphorus management solution that is one of the most significant initiatives to clean up the Bay in a generation.
    Environmentalists were nervous about Governor Hogan based on his campaign rhetoric, but in this instance and several others, he has proven to be a pleasant surprise. Nobody is going to mistake him for the second coming of Parris Glendening, but his record is much better than many environmentalists feared.
    On its latest annual report card the Chesapeake Bay received its highest score in a quarter century.
    We pushed for landmark legislation to cement our state’s position as a national and international leader in combating greenhouse gas emissions.
    We expanded the Climate Change Commission.
    We enacted the Clean Water Commerce Act, the Clean Cars Act, and several other bills to protect our environment and to grow clean energy investment and green jobs.
    On its latest annual report card the Chesapeake Bay received its highest score in a quarter century.
    That's not saying much; it was still a C.
    And we enacted clean air standards which are stronger than 48 other states and nearly twice as strong as the Paris accord recommendations.
    When it comes to safeguarding our environment, Maryland is leading by action and by example, and we cannot afford to turn back now.
    Last year opioid-related deaths exceeded deaths from both firearms and motor vehicle fatalities combined.
    Last March, we became the first state in the nation to declare a State of Emergency in response to this crisis.
     
    And we enacted clean air standards which are stronger than 48 other states and nearly twice as strong as the Paris accord recommendations.
    Worth noting: Governor Hogan did veto an increase in the state's renewable energy portfolio standard in 2016 only to be overridden the next year. Efforts to set new goals through 2030 are a major focus of environmentalists this year. Will Governor Hogan veto that, too?
    We have committed half a billion dollars toward fighting the heroin and opioid epidemic and substance use disorders, with a four-pronged approach focused on education, prevention, treatment, and enforcement.
    Yet this problem is continuing to destroy lives and tear apart families and communities in our state and all across America.
    Two weeks ago, I got a letter from Karen Dolch, a mom from Salisbury.
    She wrote about her son, Chad, a 4-year veteran of the United States Army who served a 15-month tour in Iraq.
    When Chad returned home, he struggled with PTSD and addiction.
    He went through some difficult times, but then Karen says he got clean and was turning his life around. I had the opportunity to meet Chad when I spoke at his graduation from welding school.
    Karen sent a picture from that day of the three of us. I have it here with me today.
    In her letter, Karen wrote that on December 17th, Chad tragically died at the age of 29 after overdosing on heroin that was mixed with morphine and fentanyl.
    Chad’s mom, Karen, is here with us today.
    She wanted to honor Chad by showing us that, when we talk about this crisis, we are really talking about fighting for all the Chads and the Karens out there – for all the lives cut too short and all the families that will never be the same.
    That’s why no matter how hard it is, we cannot ever give up this fight.
     
    We have committed half a billion dollars toward fighting the heroin and opioid epidemic and substance use disorders, with a four-pronged approach focused on education, prevention, treatment, and enforcement.
    Contrast this with the law-and-order rhetoric President Trump used to talk about the opioid crisis.

    Some analysis of numbers from Gov. Hogan's term. Read the full piece here.

    Crime

    The fight against violent crime has not been as successful during the Hogan years. Three consecutive years in which Baltimore has had more than 300 homicides have pushed up the statewide homicide rate.

    In 2014, there were 446.1 violent crimes for every 100,000 residents in Maryland. In 2016 — the latest number available — the violent crime rate rose to 472 per 100,000 residents, according to the FBI.

    We enacted tough anti-gang legislation, including a new Maryland RICO statute.
    We formed a new Maryland Criminal Intelligence Network to assist police and prosecutors in going after and taking down the people who are responsible for so much of the violence in our state.
    This year, let’s crack down on those violent criminals who use guns to commit crimes by passing tougher minimum sentences.
     
    This year, let’s crack down on those violent criminals who use guns to commit crimes by passing tougher minimum sentences.
    Mayor Catherine Pugh and former Police Commissioner Kevin Davis have lobbied hard for tougher gun crime legislation, so far to no avail.

    Some analysis of numbers from Gov. Hogan's term. Read the full piece here.

    Opioid crisis

    Meanwhile, Maryland has been hit hard by drug overdoses, like much of the country.

    In 2014, there were 1,041 overdose deaths in Maryland. In 2016, that number more than doubled: 2,089 people lost their lives to drug overdoses, according to state statistics.

    And pass truth-in-sentencing legislation to require that repeat violent criminals serve their full sentences without the possibility of suspension, parole, or probation.
    Let’s strengthen Maryland’s gang statutes and RICO law to help take down these drug dealing criminal gang enterprises.
    Work with us to classify felony human trafficking as a violent crime and to finally pass the Repeat Sexual Predator Prevention Act.
     
    And pass truth-in-sentencing legislation to require that repeat violent criminals serve their full sentences without the possibility of suspension, parole, or probation.
    The ACLU and other advocacy groups lined up this week against this and other legislation, saying it will disproportionately hurt minorities without improving public safety. This plays well with the law-and-order crowd, but it at least muddies Governor Hogan's position on the issue. On the one hand, he claims the 2016 Criminal Justice Reinvestment Act -- an attempt to roll back policies that have led to the explosion of the state's prison population -- as one of his major accomplishments. On the other, he's proposing what sound like throwback policies to the zero tolerance days of the '90s.
    Some rapid-fire analysis coming up, line by line.
    And no rapist should be allowed to maintain parental rights and no victim should be forced to interact with her attacker. I commend you for finally passing the Rape Survivor Family Protection Act, and I will sign it into law the moment it reaches my desk.
    In the #metoo era, it would have been beyond embarrassing for the legislature and governor to fail to pass this bill for a tenth time.
    This year, pass the Legislative Transparency Act of 2018 so that Maryland can join the 43 other states across America that require legislative deliberations to be livestreamed to the public.
    Amen.
    And help us put the issue of term limits on the ballot this year for the people of Maryland to decide this issue for themselves in November.
    Uh, no.
    And in order to uphold the public trust and to truly represent the interests of all the people we were elected to serve, let’s put partisanship and self-interest aside and join together with the overwhelming majority of Marylanders to end the practice of partisan gerrymandering in Maryland.
    This is a great issue for him. The governor is on the side of the vast majority of the public, and the Democrats who have blocked him have no good response. He also happens to be right.
    Instead of becoming more like Washington, let’s send a message to Washington by putting the politics aside and coming together for all Marylanders, Hogan says.
    On that snowy day three years ago just after I took the oath of office I said, “To those who would drive us to the extremes of either party, let me remind you that Maryland has always been a state of middle temperament.”

    I asked that “we seek that middle ground where we can all stand together.”
    Those were some of the best lines from a fine speech written by the late Richard Cross III. When Governor Hogan echoes those sentiments, he connects.
    In his conclusion, Hogan says:
     
    And ladies and gentlemen, over the past three years we have.
    Together, we have put Maryland on a new and better path, and we cannot afford to turn back now.
    Let’s keep moving forward.
    Let’s continue changing Maryland for the better.
    Thank you.
    God bless you.
    May God continue to bless the great State of Maryland.
     
    Couldn't finish without one last campaign shout-out...
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