The Minority Report 2018 Week 10

Keeping our Children Safe:
Repeat Sexual Predator Prevention Act Moves Forward

Legislation targeting repeat sexual predators has stalled in the House of Delegates. House Bills 301 and 353, commonly known as the Repeat Sexual Predator Prevention Act, are bills that would, during prosecution for sexual offenses, allow a court to admit evidence of a defendant’s prior history of sexual crimes or abuse. The House Bills and their Senate companions have bipartisan support with more than 120 sponsors, and House Bill 353 is a cornerstone of Governor Hogan’s public safety initiatives.

This legislation has been before the General Assembly 14 times. It passed the Senate in 2016, but has never come to the full House for a vote. This bill protects our children and our communities from the most abhorrent offenders in our society. Our members firmly believe the time for delay is over. With an important legislative deadline coming on March 19th, and after fourteen years of failure, this is a time for action.

On Tuesday our Caucus sent a letter to the Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, notifying him of our intentions to petition the bill to the floor of the house if it is not brought up for a vote by Friday. Petitioning a bill from Committee is an extraordinary step, but this legislation is too important to leave languishing.  The follow day, the media reported the Chairman intended to move the bill.

On Thursday afternoon, the House Judiciary Committee UNANIMOUSLYapproved the legislation and it will soon come to the floor for final vote. The journey isn’t over yet, but the passage of this bill is closer than it has ever been!

Protecting Our Communities

Once again this year, legislation has been introduced to make Maryland a sanctuary state. Under this legislation, when state or local law enforcement have someone in custody who is an illegal immigrant, they would be prohibited from contacting federal authorities, even if those individuals had immigration detainers. Last year, this bill was called the “Trust Act”, and it passed the House but failed in the Senate. This year, the bill is called the “Safe Act” and had a hearing in the House this week. No matter what its deceptive title would lead you two believe, this bill has one aim: to make Maryland a sanctuary state. Our members will continue to fight the passage of this bill.

Our members have cosponsored HB 1308 – Keep Our Communities Safe Act of 2018. This bill requires State or local correctional facilities to transfer to federal authorities any illegal immigrants serving sentences in the facility. Data shows that 63% of Marylanders favor transferring illegal immigrants into federal custody if they have committed crimes. Substantial majorities in the Baltimore suburbs (66%), Eastern Shore (78%), and Western Maryland (78%) favor this policy. Majorities in Baltimore City (51%) and the Washington suburbs (53%) also support this transfer. HB 1308 is common sense legislation that gives the people what they want; protection from criminals.

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