January 14, 2022
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Gabrielle Titow, (410) 841-3645
2022 Maryland General Assembly Update
Week One– A Session of Recovery, Jobs, and Public Safety
Annapolis, MD– The 444th session of the Maryland General Assembly convened on Wednesday, January 12, 2022. During the opening session, the Secretary of the Senate presided until the elections of Senate President Pro Tem Melony Griffith and Senate President Bill Ferguson. The Senate Republican Caucus had elected leadership back in October with Senators Bryan Simonaire and Justin Ready serving as Minority Leader and Minority Whip respectively.
2022 PRIORITIES: TAX RELIEF, COVID-19 RECOVERY, AND SHORE PRIORITIES
Senator Mary Beth Carozza voiced strong support for Governor Hogan’s 2022 top legislative priorities including $4.6 billion in much-needed tax relief, crime legislation, and police funding. Other major priorities include COVID-19 health and economic recovery; cost-of-living/jobs/tax relief for small businesses and retirees; public safety; in-school education/parental involvement; and fair representation.
More Details on Governor Hogan’s legislative crime package:
The Violent Firearms Offender Act would enhance penalties for using guns in violent crimes and for illegally selling and possessing firearms. The Judicial Transparency Act would require the Maryland State Commission on Criminal Sentencing Policy to track and publish detailed information on the sentences that are handed down by judges for violent crimes.
“Public safety remains job number one, especially with violent crime on the rise. We should do everything we can to ensure that our law enforcement is supported and that Marylanders are safe in their homes and communities,” Carozza stated.
SUPPORT FOR IN-PERSON COMMITTEE MEETINGS AND COVID-19 PROTOCOLS
Senator Carozza continues to serve on the Senate Education, Health and Environmental Affairs Committee (EHE) which considers the highest number of bills in the entire legislature. The committee will meet in person to vote in the committee and on the Senate Floor. Committee hearings will be virtual until mid-February when the current spike is expected to subside. The buildings remain open to the public and media with COVID-19 weekly member and staff testing to ensure the safety of others.
“I cannot underscore enough the importance of having folks from the Shore come to testify in person once we open up public hearings and to share the real impacts these policies have on their businesses and lives. There is just no substitute,” Senator Carozza said.
EHE AND EASTERN SHORE DELEGATION BRIEFINGS BY THE MD DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH
Senator Mary Beth Carozza participated in the first Education, Health and Environmental Affairs Committee and Eastern Shore Delegation meetings of the 2022 session which both comprised of briefings by the Maryland Department of Health (MDH).
The Education, Health, and Environmental Affairs Committee briefing on January 13th focused on the recent COVID-19 vaccine spoilage and cybersecurity efforts due to a recent hack. Regarding the COVID-19 vaccine spoilage, all individuals that may have been subject to this vaccine spoilage have been reached and given the opportunity to schedule a supplemental dose. In reference to cybersecurity, MDH experienced a ransomware attack in which they have since taken immediate action to restore all operations and prevent a future attack. Secretary Schrader noted his frustration because it was a direct hit on all Marylanders in the middle of a pandemic.
The Eastern Shore Delegation briefing on January 14th focused on the current status of COVID-19 in the State of Maryland. The Maryland Department of Health reported that 750,000 Marylanders remain unvaccinated and 62 percent of hospitalizations reported in December were those who were unvaccinated. The State of Emergency declared by Governor Hogan on January 4th established alternate care sites and flexibility for health care workers’ licensing; and has allowed recent nurse graduates to begin working immediately; and for the National Guard to assist with setting up care sites and other non-medical support.
“First day back in session is always exciting and like the first day back at school. We’re off to a strong start focusing on pandemic recovery, economy, and public safety,” said Senator Carozza.