Session Notes

Carozza provides updates on pending sponsored legislation

Ocean City Today    By Brian Gilliland | Feb 08, 2018
Mary Beth Carozza

(Feb. 9, 2018) Delegate Mary Beth Carozza has been tracking several bills since the start of the session last month, and provided an update on the status of some of her priority projects.

For Ocean City, Carozza has been pursuing three areas of interest. First, she is working to delay the accrual of paid sick time for certain employees, next, she is working to move offshore wind turbines farther from shore, and finally she is working to establish a special events zone in the resort.

“I am supporting efforts to delay the effective and enforcement date of the paid leave bill, to provide hardship relief from the most onerous parts of the bill including the unreasonable penalties, and to exempt 120-day seasonal employees,” Carozza said.

She said she intends to submit legislation this week to exempt those who have been employed for less than 120 days during a year from the paid leave law.

Also this week, Carozza said she intends to submit legislation to create a special event zone in the resort at the request of OC Mayor Rick Meehan and Police Chief Ross Buzzuro.

“This is a priority public safety bill for our home community,” said Carozza. “I will continue to work with Mayor (Rick) Meehan, Chief (Ross) Buzzuro, the Maryland Police Chiefs and Sheriffs Association, and my colleagues in a bipartisan way to make the case for this special events zone legislation.”

The special event zone would allow enhanced traffic fines similar to construction and school zones, Carozza said.

Carozza has co-sponsored legislation by Delegate Chris Adams (R-37B) and Senator Bill Hershey (R-36) to revise the placement of the offshore wind projects to not less than 26 nautical miles from the shoreline.

For Worcester County at large, Carozza has reintroduced legislation from last year to toughen penalties for people who cause life-threatening injuries by negligently operating a vehicle.

The impetus for this bill derives from a Feb. 2016 accident when county employee Scott Tatterson was killed and another employee, Wade Pusey, was gravely injured.

After the case was tried, it became clear that the only offense that the driver could be charged with was a motor vehicle citation carrying a maximum penalty of $500, Carozza explained.

“This bill brings a just penalty in cases like Wade’s, where a $500 citation for causing life-threatening … injuries from criminally negligent driving is simply too low and not fair,” Carozza said. “Like last year, I encourage my colleagues to give HB406 a favorable report so we can move it through to the Senate and send it to the Governor for signing.”

Last week, Carozza attended the House Economic Matters Committee hearing on HB243, which governs the task force on rural Internet, broadband, wireless and cellular service.

The new bill would extend the time the committee has to generate a report on the subject by one year. The report was originally due in November 2017.

The committee was directed to evaluate Internet service availability in the rural parts of the state, and to make recommendations based upon existing and needed infrastructure.

“I have been working with Sen. Addie Eckardt, Delegate Johnny Mautz, and Gov. Hogan’s staff to address the challenges in extending internet service to our rural areas on the Shore,” Carozza, a cosponsor of HB243, said.

“This task force needs to be extended in order to finish its work and move forward with recommendations for broadband service to be accessible and affordable to people in rural Maryland.”

Mary Beth Carozza for State Senate