Crossover took place on Monday, March 21st, the deadline for bills to clear their original chamber to be considered in the opposite one has come and gone, and the work of the Senate of Maryland continues. All Senate and House Bills have already received the first hearing and are now awaiting the next hearing in the appropriate committee. Other highlights of the week include the celebration of Maryland Day and Maryland’s Century Farm families, Women’s Veterans’ Day, a Senate GOP press conference on crime, and the Senate taking up abortion legislation. Also, during the Senate Floor proceedings this week, Madison Knight from Pocomoke High School in Worcester County and Taylor Gray from Crisfield High School in Somerset County were recognized as Senate Pages.
Senator Carozza pictured with Brittingham Farm Family during the Maryland Century Farm Program Induction
Maryland Day Celebration
Maryland Day commemorates March 25th, 1634, when a group of Europeans, including many Catholics, arrived at St. Clement’s Island aboard the Ark and the Dove. This historic settlement helped bring Catholicism to the Thirteen Colonies and was considered the birthplace of religious freedom in the United States. The Maryland Society Sons of the American Revolution held a special presentation in the Senate Chamber showcasing the historic gavel set dedicated to the gallant soldiers of the Maryland 400, also known as George Washington’s Old Line. We also celebrated Maryland Day with Rural Maryland Council honoring the State’s farmers, watermen, and rural communities.
Senator Carozza pictured with Dryden Farm Family during the Maryland Century Farm Program Induction
Maryland Century Farm Program
Governor Larry Hogan, Maryland Agriculture Secretary Joe Bartenfelder, along with Maryland legislators, including myself, inducted eight Maryland farm families into the Century Farm Program as they celebrated Maryland’s proud agricultural history. I visited with two farm families from District 38 including Lloyd Ben Brittingham Farm in Parsonsburg (1915) and the Dryden Farm in Newark (1918), with both families traveling from the Shore for the State House event in Annapolis. Our farm families work so hard to feed and support the entire State of Maryland, and they deserve to be recognized by the Governor and other state leaders for their many contributions. It’s quite an accomplishment to be a 100-year old farm family, and I am glad that the Brittingham and Dryden families from my district were honored.
Women’s Veterans’ Day
On March 23rd, a virtual Women's Veterans Day was held, giving members of the Maryland General Assembly and constituents the opportunity to hear firsthand from women veterans about the unique challenges they face and to explore legislative and community solutions. It was a celebration of women veterans in Maryland with tributes to women trailblazers and outstanding advocates who have made significant contributions to women veterans of Maryland.
 
I made brief remarks and shared my unique experiences from my senior-level positions in Congress and the U.S. Department of Defense. I noted that many women veterans returning from overseas military services face challenges when they return home and often are not aware of the resources and services available to them in the areas of health, housing, employment and education. I also highlighted the work of the Lower Shore Veterans Network members and their programs to assist veterans and their families.
 
We have an obligation to ensure that our women veterans, who have been our leaders in the military, now have the opportunity to be leaders back home. Given the severe work force shortage in every major industry, we should help position our women veterans to be leaders in their areas of interest.
GOP Press Conference on Crime
On March 24th, Senate and House Republicans held a joint press conference to keep the pressure on passing meaningful anti-crime legislation in the closing days of the session. The members reviewed a long list of get-tough-on-crime legislation that remains stuck in the House, which includes legislation to close gun violence loopholes, make the theft of a handgun a felony and take away parole from those who intentionally kill a police officer.
 
Governor Hogan and Republicans in the Senate and House have been consistent in pushing for anti-crime measures to pass this session. Violence across the state has been out-of-control, and the only way to control it is to arrest, prosecute, and give tougher sentences to repeat, violent criminals. 
 
As we continue to urge the House of Delegates to take up the commonsense anti-crime bills that the Senate already has passed, I fully support the Governor’s immediate actions this week targeting more funding and support for additional prosecutors in the U.S. Attorney’s Office and fully funding the Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) grants to support victim service providers.
Abortion Bill
The Senate debated Senate Bill 890, Abortion Care Access Act, which received preliminary approval on the Senate Floor on Friday. This bill expands abortion providers beyond physicians to include other healthcare occupations, including nurses and physician assistants, even though they do have similar educational or practical experience and do not perform surgical procedures under their scope of practice. Additionally, taxpayers would pay $3.5 million a year on abortion training plus the several millions dollars a year that Maryland taxpayers already pay each year for 4,000 abortions under Maryland’s Medicaid program.
 
During the Senate Floor debate I spoke in opposition and shared many objections to Senate Bill 890 which makes a dramatic change in Maryland’s health policy that will negatively impact the health and safety of women across the state. This is NOT a debate about abortion being legal. This is about deep opposition to moving Maryland’s already liberal abortion laws to the extremes, especially when it comes to late-term abortions and places women’s health at risk.
 
Commonsense amendments were offered by several Republican Senators, including myself, and rejected by the Democrat majority. These include requiring life-saving care for babies born alive during an abortion procedure, removing taxpayer funding for abortion training, and requiring a provider to notify a parent or guardian if the minor is 13 years or younger and not use the “mature or best interest” exception to avoid notification.
 
I offered two parental notification amendments during the Senate Floor debate on SB 890. The first one stated that in those cases where a provider is required to notify a parent or guardian before performing the abortion that the delivery of the notice must be received by the parent or guardian before the date the abortion was performed. This amendment simply makes the notification meaningful and real, and not just checking the box.
 
The second parental notification amendment offered by me states that the provider must notify the parent or guardian if the minor is under 13 years of age and NOT use the exceptions that a minor is mature and capable of giving informed consent to an abortion and that notification would not be in the best interest of the minor. These two exceptions are so broad that a provider can easily use them to NOT notify parents and guardians. This is a reasonable amendment that would not allow the provider to use these two exceptions if the minor is under the age of 13 years old.
 
I am deeply saddened that this extreme abortion bill (SB 890) is moving forward in the Maryland General Assembly, but I was glad to hear Senate President Bill Ferguson announce that the Constitution Amendment to place abortion in the Maryland Constitution is dead for the session.
National Down Syndrome Day
On March 21st, Monday the world celebrated World Down Syndrome Day. One of the things people do around the world to recognize and celebrate World Down Syndrome is rock some odd socks. Chromosomes are shaped like socks, and since those with Down syndrome carry an extra chromosome, mismatched socks are a great symbol for the day. I joined the movement by rocking my socks in Annapolis.
Constituents Voices in Annapolis
With the intensity of the crossover week in Annapolis, I really appreciated visiting with the Professional Fire Fighters of Maryland. Thank you Melissa Bragg, 2nd Vice President and
Alyssa Clayville, Eastern Shore Representative for making the extra effort to join us from the Shore, and thank you Ryan Whittington, 4th District Vice President, for your leadership. We recognize your hardworking fire-safety efforts to protect our home communities and look forward to continue working with you on your health, retirement, and work-shortage priorities.
Maryland Association of Counties Reception in Annapolis
A special thank you goes to Weston Young, Chief Administrative Officer, and Joe Parker, Deputy Chief Administrative Officer, from the Worcester County Commissioners for arriving in Annapolis. I enjoyed catching up with these Worcester leaders and introduced them to senior-level executives from Governor Hogan's Administration and some of my colleagues in the legislature.
Senate Pages from District 38
Recognition of Taylor Gray from Crisfield High School in Somerset County as a Senate page
Madison Knight serving as Senate Page from Pocomoke High School
Additional Community Resources
SENATE SCHOLARSHIPS IN DISTRICT 38
Students who live in Legislative District 38 may apply by emailing [email protected] to request a scholarship application. The deadline for submission of the completed application is April 15, 2022. These scholarship funds must be used toward attending a Maryland college or university (or an out-of-state institution if the student demonstrated he or she has a unique major). Please note that the completed application must be returned with the required essay. The student must have also filed their FAFSA online and should include his or her FAFSA summary sheet with the completed application.
Mary Beth Carozza for State Senate