2020 Maryland General Assembly Update Week Six-Statues, Safe Communities, and Shore Visitors

The halfway point of the 441st session is fast approaching as more legislation is moving out of committee and on to the Senate Floor. This includes legislation with strong local support and opposition. A special joint session was held for the unveiling of statues of Frederick Douglass and Harriet Tubman in the Maryland State House. In addition, Senator Carozza participated in a press conference with law enforcement officials in opposition to legislation that makes Maryland a sanctuary state. Senator Carozza also visited with constituents who traveled to Annapolis to advocate for a variety of issues.

A special joint legislative session with both the Senate and House members was held on Monday night to dedicate the statues of Harriet Tubman and Frederick Douglass in the Old House of Delegates Chamber. Speakers included Governor Larry Hogan, Senate President Bill Ferguson, Senate President Emeritus Thomas V. “Mike” Miller, Jr., and House Speaker Adrienne Jones. The 500-pound bronze statues represent how Tubman and Douglass would have looked on November 1, 1864 – the day that Maryland abolished legal slavery. Performers from Salisbury University’s “The Wright Studio Quartet” performed at this special ceremony.

“It was a very moving experience to be part of this special joint session and to see the unveiling of these powerful sculptures of Harriet Tubman and Frederick Douglass in the Old House of Delegates Chamber,” said Senator Mary Beth Carozza. “I encourage my constituents to add this meaningful attraction to the list of ‘must do’ stops when they visit Annapolis.”

The full Senate voted to pass three bills with strong local support: Senate Bill 176—Wicomico County— Landlord and Tenant— Repossession for Failure to Pay Rent— Procedures; Senate Bill 231—Sexual Solicitation of a Minor - Solicitation Through Parent, Guardian, or Custodian - Prohibition and Penalties; and Senate Bill 28— Solid Waste Management - Prohibition on Releasing a Balloon Into the Atmosphere. Senator Carozza voted for all three of these bills.
Senate Bill 176 would provide more notice to a tenant facing eviction in Wicomico County so they can remove their belongings from the property. Representatives from Wicomico County and the City of Salisbury testified in strong support of this legislation during the hearing. Senate Bill 231 would increase penalties for the sexual solicitation of a minor and has the support of the Worcester County State’s Attorney’s office, with Assistant State’s Attorney Karen Dean testifying in support of the bill. Senate Bill 28 prohibits the release of a balloon into the atmosphere and is supported by the Ocean City Surf Club and Ocean City and Ocean Pines Chambers of Commerce, with Ocean Pines Chamber Executive Director Kerrie Bunting testifying during the hearing.

Senator Carozza attended a press conference on Tuesday with Wicomico County Sheriff Mike Lewis and Somerset County Sheriff Ronnie Howard and Chief Deputy Paul Keplinger in strong opposition to legislation that would make Maryland a sanctuary state.
One of the proposed pieces of sanctuary legislation would prohibit governmental entities in Maryland, including Worcester County, from housing immigration-related detainees as of October 1, 2021. Along with the Maryland Police Chiefs and Sheriffs Association, the Worcester County Commissioners are unanimously opposed to this legislation.

“Making Maryland a sanctuary state would threaten public safety and put Maryland and Worcester County at risk of losing millions of federal dollars. I will continue to oppose all efforts to make Maryland a sanctuary state,” said Senator Carozza.

Shore visitors to Annapolis this week included Judges David Martz and Abigail Marsh, who were confirmed on February 14th by the Senate to serve as District Court Judges for Wicomico County; Wicomico County Sheriff Mike Lewis; Somerset County Sheriff Ronnie Howard and Chief Deputy Paul Keplinger; William and Gina Alther from Berlin; Perdue Farms Chairman Jim Perdue; CEO Randy Day; Counsel Herb Frerichs; AgriBusiness President Dick Willey; and eCommerce Director Chris Perdue; Maryland Farm Bureau Members Zack Evans (Worcester and Wicomico), and Larry and Donna Thomas (Somerset); Senate Page Sophia Peters from Wicomico County; Developmental Disabilities Advocate Barry Johansson of Fruitland; University of Maryland Eastern Shore President Heidi Anderson, her leadership team, faculty, and students for UMES Advocacy Day in Annapolis; Shore arts advocates including Anna Mullis, Sharon Sorrentino, Rina Thaler (Worcester); Kristin Sullivan, Therese Hamilton, Wendy Waller (Wicomico); Michel Demanche, Carol Heck (Somerset); and local tourism directors including Lisa Challenger (Worcester) and Kristen Goller (Wicomico). Also, several locals traveled up to Annapolis for Taste of the Eastern Shore, including Carozza aides Allan Beres and Pat Schrawder, both from Ocean City.


(l to r): Judge Abigail Marsh, Senator Mary Beth Carozza, and Judge David Martz. Both judges were confirmed to the District Court for Wicomico County by the Senate of Maryland on February 14.


James M. Bennett High School senior Sophia Peters served as a Senate Page this week.


Senator Carozza meeting with Eastern Shore arts advocates in Annapolis.


Learning about agricultural programs offered at the University of Maryland Eastern Shore on Advocacy Night.

Mary Beth Carozza for State Senate