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2019 Maryland General Assembly Update Week Nine in Annapolis – Debating and Voting Intensifies

The 2019 Maryland General Assembly is building up to Crossover Monday, March 18 when bills from one Chamber are sent over to the other Chamber. This means long hours in our committees and in our respective Chambers as bills are considered, debated, voted on and moved through the legislative process. It’s that point of session where the tough issues are coming to a head including the Kirwan education blueprint bill, minimum wage, physician-assisted suicide, and key public safety legislation.

SENATOR CAROZZA PARTICIPATES IN KIRWAN EDUCATION BILL HEARING
As a member of the Senate Education, Health and Environmental Affairs Committee, Senator Carozza participated in a joint hearing on March 6 with her colleagues on the Senate Budget and Taxation Committee for Senate Bill 1030, which establishes education policy based on the recommendations of the Commission on Innovation and Excellence in Education (Kirwan Commission).

The Kirwan Commission has made five major policy recommendations including the expansion of full-day pre-kindergarten for four year-olds; elevating teaching as a profession including teacher salary increases; setting a college and career readiness standard by the end of tenth grade; additional resources for students with disabilities and students from low-income families; and a strong accountability system. The legislation also extends the Kirwan’s Commission deadline to submit its final report to December 1, 2019 to determine the appropriate distribution of the total costs between the State and county governments.

After the hearing, Senator Carozza said, “As we move forward with the Kirwan Commission recommendations, I will insist on fair education funding formulas for the Shore, and will continue to engage our local school superintendents, county officials, teachers, parents, students and others on the education priorities in my district. There is a substantial cost to these recommendations, and we will have the hard discussions on affordability and accountability.”

CAROZZA SUPPORTS SCHOOL SAFETY IN COMMITTEE
The Senate Education, Health, and Environmental Affairs Committee on Wednesday, March 6 approved Governor Larry Hogan’s school safety legislation which has advanced to the full Senate for consideration. Senate Bill 165—Safe Schools Maryland Act of 2019 would solidify the Safe Schools Maryland program within the Maryland Center for School Safety to establish an anonymous tip line 1-833-MD-B-SAFE for students, teachers, and the general public to report behaviors of concern and other threats.

“Keeping our students and all personnel safe in schools is the purpose of this legislation, and the tip line is an important tool to increase school safety,” said Senator Carozza after the vote. “The legislation calls for immediate follow-up to calls made to the tip line, which can help prevent violence and other abuse from occurring in our schools.”

LOCAL SPECIAL EVENTS ZONE BILL PRESENTED BUT NOT APPROVED
At the request of the Ocean City Mayor and OC Police Department Chief, Senator Carozza introduced Senate Bill 682 which would have increased the penalties for traffic violations in Special Event Zones in Worcester County for negligent driving, driving or participating in a race or speed contest, and other reckless driving. Last year’s bill, which was approved by the Maryland General Assembly, established a Special Event Zone during motor vehicle events in Ocean City and allowed for increased fines for speeding. Since last year’s bill did not include the other violations like reckless and negligent driving, SB 682 was introduced this session to expand the violations covered under the current law. The Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee held a hearing on March 5 but the bill did not receive a favorable report and will not be advancing this year.

“While I believe we made a strong case at the hearing for the need to expand the violations under the current law, the Committee members were not inclined to increase penalties again this year after granting the approval for the Special Events Zone last year,” said Carozza. “We are disappointed with the Committee’s decision, but we have left the door open to go back again next session and push for the increased penalties.”

SENATOR CAROZZA ADVOCATES FOR WATERMEN ON SENATE FLOOR
The full Senate held a debate this week which will go into next on legislation impacting Shore watermen. Senate Bill 448—Oysters—Tributary-Scale Sanctuaries—Protection and Restoration would establish a network of five oyster sanctuaries and establish new regulations on them. Concerns were raised about this legislation because it attempts to resolve complicated ecological questions by legislation rather than allowing the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to do its job.

“The frustration you’re hearing right now is that the bill before us untangles the progress that we have begun to make,” Senator Carozza said speaking in strong support of a Floor amendment offered to the bill to provide DNR the flexibility to determine the best areas for oyster growth and restoration in the Manokin River and St. Mary’s River sanctuaries.

“I agree with the concerns that the commercial watermen and DNR have raised about this legislation which would lock each of the five oyster restoration sanctuaries in statute and takes away the State’s flexibility to manage oyster restoration,” said Carozza. “We need all the stakeholders to be working together for a prudently managed fishery, which means including our watermen in the development of these fishery management plans.”

LOCALS IN ANNAPOLIS
Shore Visitors in Annapolis this week included Somerset County District Court Judge Paula Ann Price of Princess Anne, her husband Tri-County Council of the Lower Eastern Shore Executive Director Greg Padgham, and daughter Samara; Raymond Nichols, Sr. of Berlin; Wor-Wic Community College President Dr. Ray Hoy, Vice President Bryan Newton, and Wor-Wic students; Ocean City Mayor Rick Meehan; OC Police Chief Ross Buzzuro; OC Police Lieutenant Scott Harner; Delmarva Now reporter Sara Swann; Somerset County Board of Education Superintendent John Gaddis; Worcester County Commissioner Chip Bertino; Chesapeake Healthcare Chief Development Officer Joshua Boston; Chesapeake Healthcare Chief Executive Officer Brian Holland; Salisbury University student Jake Burdett, Andrew Likovich from Salisbury; Jay Tawes of Crisfield; Fruitland City Manager John Psota; and Delmarva Discovery Center and Museum President Stacey Weisner and her husband Mike of Salisbury.

 

 


2019 Maryland General Assembly Update Week Two-Making History and Back to Business

History was made as we celebrated the Inauguration of Governor Larry Hogan and Lieutenant Governor Boyd Rutherford on Wednesday, January 16. Then, we’re back to business: Senator Mary Beth Carozza also participated in the 2019 Chesapeake Environmental & Economic Summit; attended Committee meetings on higher education and the Department of Natural Resources throughout the week; attended the first Veteran’s Caucus meeting of the 2019 legislative session; and began reviewing Governor Hogan’s proposed Fiscal Year 2020 Budget.

CAROZZA ATTENDS HOGAN RUTHERFORD INAUGURATION
On Wednesday, January 16, Governor Larry Hogan was sworn in for his second term as Governor of the State of Maryland. Senator Carozza and other members of the Maryland General Assembly attended a special morning prayer service and participated in the official opening of the sealed election results in the House of Delegates chamber before the official swearing in of the Governor and Lieutenant Governor in the Senate chamber. Afterwards, the ceremonies moved outside as the Governor and Lieutenant Governor addressed the public. As only the second Republican governor in Maryland’s history to be reelected, Governor Hogan gave an inspirational address calling on all Marylanders to work together to “keep changing Maryland for the better and continue setting an example for the rest of the nation.”

CAROZZA QUESTIONS HIGHER EDUCATION AND NATURAL RESOURCES OFFICIALS
The Senate Education, Health, and Environmental Affairs Committee was briefed on higher education in the state of Maryland and the Department of Natural Resources. During the higher education briefings, Senator Carozza asked Maryland Higher Education Commission (MHEC) Secretary Fielder about resources available to coordinate educational goals with job readiness and how to share the best practices with smaller schools around the state. At the Department of Natural Resources briefing, the full Committee was informed about the department and oyster restoration efforts. Senator Carozza used this time to inquire about efforts to protect the horses on Assateague Island and advocate for commercial watermen being included in the discussion of the oyster restoration and management program.

CAROZZA PARTICIPATES IN FIRST VETERANS CAUCUS MEETING OF SESSION
Senator Carozza participated in the first Maryland General Assembly meeting of the Veteran’s Caucus, hearing from Veterans Secretary George W. Owings, III and Army National Guard Brigadier General Janeen L. Birckhead of Snow Hill. Their briefing to Caucus Members focused on their outreach and advocacy programs designed to improve the lives of veterans statewide. The Caucus also received a presentation from the Maryland Military Coalition. Senator Carozza will support their legislative agenda that includes suicide prevention, a second state veteran’s home, and making military retirement income completely tax free. Senator Carozza is a strong advocate for veterans and they were the subject of her first and final pieces of legislation during her term in the House of Delegates.

CAROZZA’S BUDGET COMMENTS
“Governor Hogan’s budget keeps Maryland’s fiscal house in order and funds Shore priorities,” said Senator Carozza after her preliminary review of Governor Hogan’s proposed Fiscal Year 2020 Budget. Carozza noted that Governor Hogan’s $19.5 billion fiscal year 2020 budget includes $247.8 million for substance use disorder services, which would support the Poplar Hill Recovery Center in Wicomico County. The Governor’s budget proposals include $30 million to strengthen school safety with $10 million targeted for additional school resources officers and mental health counselors. Carozza also noted an additional $610,000 for the Tourism Development Board; $500,000 for the Somerset County Visitors Center; and a 7% salary enhancement for correctional officers. Senator Carozza also signed on to support Governor Hogan’s legislation that would increase funding for the amount of the bonding authority which the Maryland Stadium Authority has for the Ocean City Convention Center expansion to $24.5 million.

LOCALS IN ANNAPOLIS
Shore visitors in Annapolis this week included Josh and Mimi Shannahan of Hill’s Drug Store in Easton; Denise Hill and Bill Rickman of Ocean Downs Racetrack and Casino; Pocomoke City Mayor Bruce Morrison; Retired Somerset County Circuit Court Judge Daniel Long; Wicomico County Republican Central Committee member Wendy Anspacher and her husband, Greg; and Fairmount Volunteer Fire Company Chief Frank Lusk and his grandson, Ethan.

 

 

Senator Carozza working with Somerset County Watermen’s Association President Roger Dize and Vice President Gregory Price at the 2019 Chesapeake Environmental & Economic Summit.
Senator Carozza attending the Inauguration of Governor Larry Hogan and Lieutenant Governor Boyd Rutherford.

Delegate Charles Otto, Fairmount Volunteer Fire Company Chief Frank Lusk, Senator Mary Beth Carozza, and Ethan Lusk in Senator Carozza’s office.

2019 Maryland General Assembly Update Opening Week – New Beginnings

The 439th Maryland General Assembly convened on January 9, 2019 with the swearing in of 17 new State Senators and a welcome from Governor Larry Hogan with an emphasis to work together in a bipartisan manner during the 90-day legislative session which ends Sine Die—on April 8, 2019. During the first week, Senator Mary Beth Carozza (District 38 – Worcester, Wicomico, and Somerset) was sworn into the State Senate, attended her first Education, Health, and Environmental Affairs Committee hearing, and the organizational Eastern Shore Delegation meeting.

CAROZZA SWORN INTO STATE SENATE
Senator Mary Beth Carozza began her first term as a State Senator at noon on January 9, 2019. She was accompanied on the Senate Floor by her parents, Mary Pat and Tony Carozza, and former Congressman and President Pro Tempore of the Ohio Senate Dave Hobson and his wife, Carolyn. Attending in the Senate gallery were Senator Carozza’s District Representative Pat Schrawder and Allan Beres of Ocean City. During the first Session, Governor Larry Hogan addressed the Senate and encouraged the members to work together for the people of Maryland.

CAROZZA ATTENDS FIRST EDUCATION, HEALTH, AND ENVIRONMENTAL AFFAIRS COMMITTEE MEETING
Senator Carozza attended the organizational Education, Health, and Environmental Affairs Committee meeting on Thursday, January 10 led by new Chairman, Senator Paul Pinsky of Prince George’s County. Afterwards, the full Committee was given an overview briefing on the Maryland Department of Planning. During this briefing, Carozza inquired about specialized assistance, training, and resources available to smaller localities in her District. She also commended Regional Planning Coordinator Tracey Gordy, who is providing invaluable assistance to Crisfield and other Shore municipalities as they continue to grow and expand job and economic development opportunities.

CAROZZA ATTENDS EASTERN SHORE DELEGATION MEETING
Senator Carozza also attended the organizational Eastern Shore Delegation meeting on Friday, January 11. University of Maryland Eastern Shore President Dr. Heidi Anderson was in attendance and spoke about the university and its partnerships with other area schools and the private sector like Peninsula Regional Medical Center (PRMC).

LOCALS IN ANNAPOLIS
During opening week, Carozza had the opportunity to visit with numerous community and business leaders, and other locals from the Shore. These include her parents, Mary Pat and Tony Carozza of Ocean Pines; Pat Schrawder of Ocean City; Allan Beres of Ocean City; Bunky Luffman of Delmar; John Watson IV of Berlin; Michael and Marya Finegan of Wicomico County; Ocean City Firefighter’s Association President Ryan Whittington; University of Maryland Eastern Shore President Dr. Heidi Anderson; and Eastern Correctional Institution family support advocate Kerry Carr of Somerset County.

 

 

(l to r): Former Congressman and President Pro Tempore of the Ohio Senate Dave Hobson, Carolyn Hobson; Senate President Thomas V. “Mike” Miller; Senator Mary Beth Carozza; her parents Mary Pat and Tony Carozza on Opening Day of the 439th Maryland General Assembly.
It’s official— Senator Carozza takes her place on the Senate floor after being sworn in on January 9.

 

 

Senator Mary Beth Carozza and Maryland Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary George Owings III in her Senate office.

 

 


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Mary Beth Carozza for State Senate