2019 Maryland General Assembly Update Week 10 in Annapolis—Crossover Week
Crossover week is always crunch time as bills must move from the Senate to the House by Monday, March 18 to ensure final passage by Sine Die, April 8. While the push is on to clear bills out of Committee and the Chamber, the race is on to try to minimize the negative impact of legislation that is harmful to the Shore. This week Senator Carozza spoke out against legislation that would harm our watermen and job creators and voted in favor of several bills that would help keep our children safe in school and assist state retirees. Senator Carozza was also recognized by The Daily Record as a 2019 Top 100 Women.
CAROZZA STANDS UP FOR WATERMEN ON SENATE FLOOR
The full Senate continued debate on Senate Bill 448—Oysters—Tributary-Scale Sanctuaries—Protection and Restoration which would establish a network of five oyster sanctuaries and establish new regulations on them. During the Floor debate, Senator Carozza offered an amendment that would replace the Manokin River Sanctuary on the Eastern Shore with the Severn River, a sanctuary on the Western Shore for purposes of protection and restoration.
“Selecting the Severn River would allow an oyster restoration plan in an area where the community actively wants it, and in an area where the watermen do not operate,” Senator Carozza said when offering the amendment. The amendment was voted down on party lines. Since the Carozza amendment to support the commercial watermen was not adopted, Carozza voted against SB 448.
CAROZZA FIGHTS FOR JOB CREATORS DURING MINIMUM WAGE DEBATE
The full Senate considered Senate Bill 280, which would increase the minimum wage to $15 an hour. Senator Carozza offered an amendment that would create a regional tier system for the implementation of any increase in the minimum wage.
“We live in a diverse state, reflecting different life styles, different industries, and different economic realities,” Carozza said when presenting her amendment. “This minimum wage legislation does not take any of those differences into account.” The amendment failed by a vote of 18-29, with three Democrats voting for it.
After the Floor debate and passage of Senate Bill 280, Senator Carozza stated “Our lawmakers in Annapolis need to understand the impact of their votes on our small businesses and job creators, and take into account how raising the minimum wage in Maryland to $15 puts Maryland at a huge economic disadvantage, especially compared to the minimum wage of our neighboring states with Delaware at $9.25 and Virginia at $7.25. This mandated wage increase is simply not sustainable for our small business owners, and will end up hurting the very people it’s intended to help.”
CAROZZA-SUPPORTED BILLS APPROVED BY SENATE
Several bills that Senator Carozza has cosponsored or supported are moving through the Senate. One of these is Senate Bill 561—Laura and Reid’s Law, which passed the Senate by a vote of 46-1. Introduced by Senator Justin Ready of Carroll County, Senate Bill 561 makes a crime of violence against a woman the perpetrator knows is pregnant an additional felony with a jail sentence of up to 10 years in addition to any other sentence imposed for the original crime. Senator Carozza cosponsored this bill.
“This bill goes a long way to better protecting pregnant women in Maryland by adding an additional felony if the perpetrator knows the woman is pregnant,” said Carozza. “Pregnancy-associated homicide in Maryland is 10 times the national average, and Laura and Reid’s Law brings justice to these women and their families.”
This week, Senator Carozza also voted in favor of Senate Bill 195, which would authorize the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP) to review data for signs of possible drug misuse and unprofessional conduct by a prescriber, and if either is found, report the prescriber to the Office of Controlled Substances Administration for an investigation; Senate Bill 946, which would provide prescription drug out-of-pocket reimbursement for specified State retirees, dependents, or surviving dependents who are enrolled in a Medicare prescription drug benefit plan; and Senate Bill 541, which would create new rules for vetting potential school employees and keeping school employees credibly accused of sexual abuse or misconduct out of our schools.
CAROZZA NAMED “TOP 100 WOMAN”
Senator Carozza was recognized by The Daily Record as one of “Maryland’s Top 100 Women” for 2019.
“I’m humbled and honored to be among the women named as Maryland’s Top 100 Women in 2019,” Senator Carozza said after receiving the news. “Throughout my time in public service, I have strived to build people and communities up and look forward to continuing to do so.”
"Each of this year's Maryland's Top 100 Women honorees excels in her unique endeavors, yet all share common traits. They inspire those around them -- by their actions, their words and their deeds -- to be the best," said Suzanne Fischer-Huettner, publisher of The Daily Record. "They are committed to mentoring and inspiring future generations in addition to making a difference at home, at work and in their communities. The Daily Record is pleased to honor them."
LOCALS IN ANNAPOLIS
With 25 days left of session, the number of Shore visitors in Annapolis has begun to drop. Shore visitors to Annapolis this week included Somerset County Public Works Director John Redden; Somerset County Tourism Director Julie Widdowson; Reverend Howard Travers of Pittsville; Senate “Doctor of the Day” Dr. Michael Murphy of Salisbury; Meredith Miller and Cheryll Bissett of the Wicomico Child Advocacy Center; Salisbury University President Dr. Charles Wight; University of Maryland Eastern Shore Chief of Staff Dr. Robert Mock; and Wor-Wic Community College President Dr. Ray Hoy.