ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ) — All eyes are now on Gov. Larry Hogan regarding a series of police reform bills now passed through the Maryland General Assembly.
Debating behind partitions, the Maryland Senate on Wednesday passed a series of police reform bills.READ MORE: Drive-Thru Mass COVID Vaccination Site Opens At Ripken Stadium Thursday
“Only when we restore trust and integrity are we going to then be able to have a safer state,” Senator Jill Carter said.
Carter sponsored Anton’s Law, which would make public police disciplinary records.
SB 71 establishes a statewide use of force. Officers convicted of causing serious injury or death would face up to 10 years in prison.
“The standard that we currently have across the United States is just not working,” Senator Charles Sydnor said.
Opponents argued officers have a unique, dangerous job whose standards should be different.
“Aside from the fact they might be shot, or knifed, or killed, they’ve also got the threat they could be indicted,” Senator Robert Cassilly said.READ MORE: Maryland Weather: Severe Thunderstorms Watch Issued, Then Temperature Drop Expected
“This bill will incarcerate police officers for doing their job,” Senator Justin Ready said. “It may catch people who did wrong, too.”
Many Republican senators pulled back their support for the bills after they say the house changes went too far and passed too quickly.
“Here we go putting politics above public safety,” Senator Cassilly said.
“Well, how much more time do you think you’re going to need? We’ve waited two or three generations for this day,” Senator Obie Patterson said.
The bills now go to the governor’s desk.
When asked Thursday, Gov. Hogan said he’ll take the time to read them, but had concerns.
“They turned it into five bills which I have not seen,” Gov. Hogan said. “We got it last night. There were some really good police reforms in some of the bills. Unfortunately, there was some terrible stuff they kind of mixed together.”MORE NEWS: Lawsuit Filed On Behalf Of Baltimore Man Who Died After He Was Struck During A Police Chase Last Spring
Maryland lawmakers also repealed the law enforcement officers’ bill of rights, which critics say has stood in the way of accountability.