ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ) — State lawmakers are calling crime an urgent crisis.

Maryland republicans in the General Assembly say violent crime is the top issue to tackle in the 2020 session.

“We cannot continue to watch people get killed day after day and have the conversation be about anything different than violent criminals,” Kathy Szeliga (R) said.

Leaders cited high-profile murders before Christmas of two east Baltimore women inside of their own businesses- beauty salon owner Destiny Harrison and deli owner Carmen Rodriguez.

“We must do better for these people and so many others,” Nic Kipke (R) said.

Republicans are introducing several bills regarding ICE compliance, making gun theft a felony and plea deal transparency.

One of the bills would increase the minimum sentence a violent criminal has to serve before parole from 50 percent to 90 percent.

“We no longer arrest people and put them behind bars for small, petty crimes,” Kipke said. “But, if you commit a violent act, we’re afraid of you. If you commit multiple violent crimes, we’re doubly afraid of you. People who do these types of heinous things have got to be taken out of our communities.”

The legislative push comes amid continuing violence in Baltimore City and after two more homicides during the day Wednesday.

Governor Larry Hogan said the state is helping process warrants and providing aerial support.

The Speaker’s office said she does not have a comment at this time.

Paul Gessler

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