Week NIne

This week’s highlights include my participation in a Senate GOP press conference calling for meaningful tax relief as well as my bill hearings on curriculum transparency legislation, Somerset County Sunday hunting bill, and another bill promoting agritourism. Pastor Dale Brown from the Community Church at Ocean Pines visited Annapolis to give the prayer on the Senate Floor. Other weekly features include Stephen Decatur High School's trip to the State House, meeting with local Eastern Shore dentists, and Red Scarf Day with the Maryland Federation of Republican Women and Republican Women of Worcester County.
GOP Press Conference
Senate Republicans Renew Calls for Tax Relief
On March 9th, members of the Senate Republican Caucus renewed calls for meaningful tax relief for everyday Marylanders and pushed for passage of legislation to ease the rapidly rising cost of living across the state, including a repeal of the automatic gas tax increase.
I cosponsored the following legislation to ease the tax burden on our fellow Marylanders:
  • Senate Bill 337, which repeals the automatic and never-ending gas tax increase that was passed in 2013. SB 337 would repeal the automatic increase tied to the Consumer Price Index (CPI), in other words, inflation, and save Marylanders $37.5 million in FY23 and $117 million by FY27.
  • Senate Bill 735 would call for a complete repeal of the Netflix Tax. “The Netflix Tax” was passed during the 2021 Session during the worst of the pandemic to add additional 6 percent sales tax on digital content including streaming services such as Netflix, Disney+, Spotify and Hulu as well as digitally downloaded content such as audiobooks, e-books and computer software. This legislation would also return $100 million/year to Maryland’s working families.
  • Senate Bill 622, which establishes a tax credit program where Marylanders can write-off expenses for in-state travel, lodging and entertainment in 2022 and 2023. Qualified expenses must be made at least 50 miles from a principal residence and can include food and beverage, lodging, transportation, live entertainment and sporting events. The maximum credit is $500 for individuals and $1,000 for families per year. 
This week three of my bills received the first hearing. These bills include:
  • Senate Bill 786, Curriculum Transparency bill, which was introduced with the intention of increasing curriculum transparency for parents, taxpayers, and the general public. While some Maryland school systems do post general coursework information on their system’s website, this bill would require the curriculum for each school to be posted on publicly-accessible to include instructional materials (NOT individual lesson plans), assessment techniques, internet links for, or the name of a textbook, and course syllabi without it being an undue hardship on school personnel.  
  • Senate Bill 538, Agritourism, aims to add to the current law's definition for “Agritourism”. As of now, it is defined as an activity conducted on a farm that is offered to a member of the general public or to invited guests for the purpose of education, recreation, or active involvement in the farm operation; it currently does not include any special events and occasions. Senate Bill 538 would establish that the definition of agritourism includes special events and occasions conducted on a farm that generates income from an agricultural activity.
  • Senate Bill 98, Somerset County Sunday Hunting, would expand Sunday hunting in Somerset County by authorizing the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to allow a person in Somerset County to hunt any game bird or mammal on each Sunday during the open season for that game bird or mammal, including on public land to Somerset County leased to a hunt club.
Constituents Voices in Annapolis
On March 7th, I zoomed with local dentists from District including Dr. Celeste Ziara, Dr. Greg Allen, and Dr. Joseph Merai, who provided me with an informative briefing on legislative issues important for the Shore.
Pastor Dale Brown from the Community Church at Ocean Pines arrived on Monday evening, March 7th, to give the prayer in the Maryland Senate. He made history leading us in prayer without masks, the first time on the Senate Floor without masks since March 18, 2020! I was humbled to introduce Pastor Brown to my colleagues, highlighting his many local ties serving churches in Whaleyville, Berlin, Willards, Salisbury and now Ocean Pines!
It was so uplifting to see members of the Maryland Federation of Republican Women, including Worcester and Wicomico, in Annapolis, especially on International Women’s Day. These women exude servant leadership! 
Thank you Stephen Decatur High School NJROTC cadets for making the trip up to the State House and Naval Academy. A five-and-a-half Senate Floor session prevented me from visiting with you in person but so glad that you were among the first groups to tour the State House since the pandemic. See you back home! 
The Eastern Shore Delegation met on Friday with the Shore’s university and college presidents including Dr. Heidi Anderson, University of Maryland Eastern Shore; Dr. Ray Hoy, Wor-Wic Community College; and Dr. Charles Wight, Salisbury University. The discussion focused on the workforce shortage especially in the health care industry with each President giving an update on their efforts to provide quality programs and to partner with local schools and employers to keep our local students here on the Shore! 
On March 7th,  Governor Larry Hogan announced the State of Maryland’s COVID-19 hospitalizations have dropped below 300, as the state is again reporting the country’s lowest case rate.
As of March 7th, Governor Hogan's Office reported substantial declines in key COVID-19 health metrics:
  • Hospitalizations: 296, ICU: 60. Since the Omicron peak of 3,452, Maryland’s COVID-19 hospitalizations have now declined by 91.4%, and are at their lowest level since Aug. 1, 2021.
  • Positivity Rate: 1.61%. Since the Omicron peak of 29.98%, Maryland’s COVID-19 positivity rate has declined by 94.6%, and is at its lowest level since July 19, 2021. The state is reporting the country’s third-lowest positivity rate.
  • Case Rate:  5.9/100K. Maryland’s COVID-19 case rate has declined by 97.5% since its Omicron peak, and the state is reporting the country’s lowest case rate.
Fourth VaxCash 2.0 Drawing took place on March 8th 
Maryland is nearing 2.2 million COVID-19 booster shots, and 74% of seniors have received a booster shot. State officials continue to encourage Marylanders to get boosted for maximum protection against the virus and its variants.
Additional Community Resources
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.
The Maryland Department of Transportation (MDOT) State Highway Administration (SHA) is currently hiring and there are potential future job opportunities that are currently available.
While there is an online application, they are encouraging people to stop in at their location and fill out an application on the spot, so they have a chance to talk with you face to face. Address can be found below.
State Highway Administration
10980 Market Lane
Princess Anne, Maryland
American Job Center Mobile Unit
The American Job Center (formerly known as the One Stop Job Market) mobile unit will hit the road again! 
The American Job Center (AJC) has a brand new vehicle that is equipped with the latest technology that will enable them to assist job and career seekers with their employment needs.  The AJC Mobile Unit will begin its regular schedule starting in early April. They are currently working on the schedule and will be contacting all the locations that they previously visited to work out a date and time. 
Need more information? Call 410-341-6515
Mary Beth Carozza for State Senate