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Week 12: Sine Die Approaching, Policing Floor Debates, Public Safety, and Shore Priorities

 
 
 
 
 
2021 Maryland General Assembly Update
Week 12: Sine Die Approaching, Policing Floor Debates, Public Safety, and Shore Priorities
 
 
 
 
 
 
We are one week away from the Maryland General Assembly adjourning sine die on April 12. The Senate of Maryland found itself once again reconsidering a legislative policing package, passing Governor Hogan’s anti-crime legislation, and approving the Fiscal Year 2022 Budget.
 
Policing Package Returns to the Senate
The Senate of Maryland continued deliberations on policing legislation after advancing a mostly bipartisan package last month that balances public safety with police accountability. The House police reform legislation which was sent to the Senate eliminated many of the sound police reforms earlier approved and replaced it with a bill that harms public safety.
 
Senator Carozza has expressed her deep concerns about the negative impact of this legislation on the recruitment and retention of law enforcement officers and local police departments, noting that she represents 11 municipalities in District 38.
 
“We already are seeing the retirement of police across the board, and this bill will drive more out of law enforcement, which directly reduces public safety in our community,” said Carozza.
 
Senator Carozza voted against House Bill 670, which passed the Senate by a vote of 32-15. 
 
Senate Approves Hogan Crime Initiative
The full Senate voted to advance Senate Bill 852— Crimes - Penalties and Procedures (Violent Firearms Offender Act of 2021) by a vote of 32-15. Senator Carozza is a cosponsor of this Hogan Administration priority legislation that would enhance penalties for using guns in violent crimes, closes the drug dealer loophole, increases penalties for knowingly selling a gun to someone who commits a crime, and creates tougher penalties for use of assault weapons in a crime and illegally possessing and selling firearms.
 
“Public safety remains job number one. I am proud to support this violent crime reduction initiative and urge the House of Delegates to give it fair and full consideration. If the Maryland General Assembly is going to ram through a police reform bill, then they should balance it with a strong anti-crime bill to protect public safety,” said Carozza. 
 
Operating and Capital Budgets Clear Maryland General Assembly
The Senate of Maryland unanimously approved Governor Larry Hogan’s amended Fiscal Year 2022 Budget on Friday, April 2. Included in this Senate-approved budget is $1.4 billion for the Rainy Day Fund; $572 million of federal funding provided for COVID-19 testing, contract tracing, and vaccinations; $371.5 million for community colleges; and $22 million for critical maintenance projects at State parks. Shore priorities include $2.8 million for the Ocean City Convention Center; and $2 million for Ocean City beach maintenance. Another highlight is $300 million in federal funding that will be dedicated to a game-changing broadband technology initiative, including $128 million to improve network infrastructure, $75 million for service fee and device subsidies, and $45 million for municipal broadband grants.
 
Also included is restored funding for the Broadening Options & Opportunities for Students Today (BOOST) scholarship program. BOOST funding is used to provide educational opportunities for Maryland students so they may attend the school of their choosing.
 
“The Senate-passed budget keeps the focus on COVID-19 recovery while funding key Shore priorities,” said Carozza.
 
The full Senate also approved the Fiscal Year 2022 Capital Budget, as amended by the Senate Budget and Taxation Committee:
 
“The amended Senate version of the Fiscal Year 2022 Capital Budget funds critical District 38 projects and will go a long way in improving economic development and public safety priorities,” Senator Carozza said, noting that capital funding is applied towards construction and renovation work throughout the State of Maryland.
 
Local projects included in the Fiscal Year 2022 Capital Budget are $450,000 for the Ocean City Lifesaving Museum alongside an additional $150,000 bond initiative for handicapped accessibility improvements; $200,000 for the establishment of a Vehicles for Change program in Wicomico County; $100,000 for the Crisfield Waterfront Development area renovations; $100,000 for the Crisfield Elks Lodge No. 1044 renovations; and $50,000 for the Fruitland Volunteer Fire Company for upgrades and a roof replacement.
 
The Fiscal Year 2022 Capital Budget also includes funding for Local Parks and Playgrounds Infrastructure for Worcester ($1 million), Wicomico ($1.5 million), and Somerset ($1 million) counties. 
 
Small Business Relief Opportunities
 
Carozza Supports Hogan Nominees
As a State Senator, Senator Carozza has the opportunity to vote on Marylanders who are appointed and reappointed by Governor Larry Hogan to serve on various boards and commissions throughout the State of Maryland. This week, Senator Carozza voted to confirm Dennis Schrader as Secretary of the Maryland Department of Health.
 
“I could not think of a more qualified candidate to serve as Maryland Health Secretary than Dennis Schrader,” Senator Carozza said. Carozza and Schrader had worked together during Governor Bob Ehrlich’s Administration and helped set up Maryland’s homeland security infrastructure.
 
Also confirmed by the Senate was Nathaniel Sansom of Eden to the University System of Maryland Board of Regents. 
 
Wicomico Page Recognized in Senate
The Maryland General Assembly Student Page program is virtual for the 2021 legislative session to keep the participating students safe and healthy. Senate Pages are responsible for providing vital services to the legislature and have the opportunity to work directly with elected officials. This week, Hannahlise Wang, a senior at James M. Bennett High School, served as a Senate Page.
2021 Senatorial Scholarships
 
 
Now that we are down to our last week of session, I encourage you to continue to share your priorities and concerns with me.
 
 
In Service,
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Mary Beth Carozza
State Senator-District 38
Worcester, Wicomico, and Somerset
410-841-3645
 
 
 
 
 
 
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