January 28, 2022
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Gabrielle Titow, (410) 841-3645
2022 Maryland General Assembly Update
Week Three- Hearings on Local Agritourism, Law Enforcement Police K9s, Advocating for Workforce Development, Tax Relief and Crimes Legislation
Annapolis, MD–This week’s highlights include Senator Carozza meeting with Senate President Bill Ferguson and business leaders; a Senate Republican Caucus press conference announcing tax relief and crime legislation; and two committee hearings on Senator Carozza’s bills to support local agritourism and our life-saving police canines.
WORCESTER AGRITOURISM BILL HEARD IN COMMITTEE
The Senate Education, Health, and Environmental Affairs Committee on January 25th held a hearing on Senator Carozza’s Senate Bill 32, which adds Worcester County to the list of 18 other jurisdictions in which farm structures used for agritourism activities are exempted from certain commercial building requirements. “This legislation is a win-win for both the farm families who may need to diversify and pull in additional revenue just to keep the farm and for tourists who will have more options to explore and experience our local farms,” said Senator Carozza. “Worcester County Commissioner Diana Purnell and Economic Development and Tourism Director Melanie Pursel did an outstanding job making a strong case for this local agritourism bill.”
PROTECTING OUR LIFE-SAVING POLICE K9s
The Senate Education, Health, and Environmental Affairs Committee (EHE) held a hearing on January 26th on Carozza’s Senate Bill 70, which would allow for law enforcement canines injured in the line of duty to receive emergency medical services as long as no humans concurrently need those emergency services.
From Carozza’s oral testimony on SB 70: “I have always believed that the best ideas for legislation come from the front lines, especially when it comes to public safety. With SB 70, Worcester County Deputy Sheriff Lt. Bethany Ramey who serves as the canine supervisor for the Worcester County Sheriff’s Department made me aware of the unique role and the dangers that police canines face on a daily basis protecting our community and protecting law enforcement.”
“Currently, there is confusion and no clear authority nor guidelines when it comes to providing emergency services to law enforcement canines injured in the line of duty. More and more states are moving forward with legislation to protect their police canines at the State level, and Maryland’s law enforcement canines deserve no less.”
“I want to thank Wicomico Sheriff Mike Lewis, Worcester Deputy Sheriff Lt. Ramey, OC Fire Department PIO & firefighter/medic Ryan Whittington, Maryland State Firemen's Association, and all the law enforcement and fire/ems personnel, and animal welfare advocates including the Humane Society, Animal Welfare Institute, and Maryland Votes for Animals that testified in strong support of SB 70,” said Carozza.
STATE AND LOCAL BUSINESS AND RESTAURANT LEADERS ADVOCATE FOR SMALL BUSINESS PRIORITIES AND WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT
Carozza met on January 25th with Senate President Bill Ferguson and business leaders including Bill Chambers, Salisbury Chamber of Commerce; Mike Dunn, Greater Salisbury Committee; and Marshall Weston, Jr., Restaurant Association of Maryland.
During the meeting, Carozza underscored that small businesses and restaurants are in recovery mode from the pandemic and urged the Senate President to consider the impact of proposed legislation like the family leave bill and climate change legislation on business operators and employees. The group also discussed the severe and acute workforce shortage in all business sectors and Carozza reiterated her support for the work and expansion of Junior Achievement of the Eastern Shore led by Executive Director Jayme Hayes.
Senate Republicans Announce 2022 Tax Relief and Crime Legislation
The Senate Republican Caucus announced the first of its 2022 legislative priorities and presented bills to reduce taxes, alleviate pressures of the increasing cost of living and combat the violent crime crisis in Maryland during a January 27th press conference in Annapolis.
“With this year’s large budget surplus, we support tax relief for all Marylanders and small businesses. We proudly support Governor Hogan’s tax relief package, especially retiree tax relief and legislation to eliminate the filing fees for businesses that submit their annual report online with the Maryland State Department of Assessments and Taxation, including the $300 annual fee for companies, LLCs, and other legal entities, and $100 for family farms.”
These Senate Republican Caucus bills include Repealing the “Netflix Tax” that places an additional burden on small business during this time of rising inflation by taxing critical tools for small businesses such as QuickBooks, Constant Contact, Mail Chimp, Microsoft Office, Google Workspace, and much more; Real Local Tax Relief for Working Families Act of 2022 that repeals legislation passed last year that enabled counties to more than double the county income tax after the 2022 election further assaulting low-income and working families; the Veterans Homeownership Tax Credit that provides a state income tax credit to veterans when they purchase a home; and abolishing the automatic gas tax increase tied to the CPI adjustment to end the automatic and never-ending gas tax increase that was passed in 2013 which has given us the highest gas prices in the past seven years; and crime legislation including the Violent Firearms Offender Act of 2022 and Making the Theft of a Handgun a Felony.
Constituent Voices Annapolis
Whether it be virtually or in person, Carozza continues to hear from constituents in Annapolis during the 2022 session. During committee proceedings this week, Carozza pointed to testimony provided by Wicomico Parks and Recreation Director Steve Miller’s testimony in support of SB 178. “The goal of these open space programs, especially highlighted from Steve Miller’s testimony, is to make the process simpler for our local jurisdictions,” said Carozza during the discussion on Senate Bill 178 Program Open Space–Local Projects–Federal funds.
Carozza along with Delegate Carl Anderton met with Eastern Shore Moms Demand Action on their key initiatives this 2022 session including banning ghost guns. Senator Carozza mentioned the focus on fighting crime this 2022 session including Governor Hogan’s key pieces of crime legislation and her law enforcement canine bill. Other voices in Annapolis include Josh Hastings with Forever Maryland and Wicomico County Council Member; and representatives from Shore Transit and Delmarva Community Services participating in the annual Transportation Association of Maryland legislative review meeting. Also, Hannah Park from James M. Bennett High School who served as a student page in the Maryland State Senate earlier this session was recognized on the Senate Floor.