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Week Thirteen: The Final Full Week

Week 13: The Final Full Week
 
 
 
 
 
2021 Maryland General Assembly Update
Week Thirteen: The Final Full Week
 
 
 
 
 
 
The Maryland General Assembly has completed its final full week of the 442nd session, including a rare Saturday session, as we move forward to adjourning sine die on Monday, April 12. Marathon and double sessions were the normal during these final days of deliberations. A majority of the debate was focused on policing and school resources officers, with the Senate voting to override commonsense public safety vetoes. 
 
Veto Overrides
The Senate of Maryland reconsidered legislation that was vetoed by Governor Larry Hogan given the impact on public safety and policing.
 
Senate Bill 494— Juveniles Convicted as Adults - Sentencing - Limitations and Reduction (Juvenile Restoration Act) would prohibit juveniles convicted of rape and murder from being sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole, and permit juveniles given lifetime sentences to become eligible for parole after serving 20 years.
 
“This legislation was rightfully vetoed by Governor Hogan and I am proud to vote to sustain it,” Senator Carozza said. “Senate Bill 494 will contribute to the retraumatization of the victims of these heinous crimes and their families by forcing them to come to court multiple times through this new process and subject themselves to reliving through the pain again and again.”
 
The veto of Senate Bill 494 was overridden by a vote of 32-15.
 
Senate Bill 71— Maryland Police Accountability Act of 2021 - Body-Worn Cameras, Employee Programs, and Use of Force, Senate Bill 178— Maryland Police Accountability Act of 2021 - Search Warrants and Inspection of Records Relating to Police Misconduct (Anton's Law), and House Bill 670—Maryland Police Accountability Act of 2021 - Police Discipline and Law Enforcement Programs and Procedures were vetoed given the new mandates they would require from law enforcement agencies and their overall challenges to policing and public safety. 
 
In his veto letter, Governor Hogan stated “These bills would undermine the goal that I believe we share of building transparent, accountable, and effective law enforcement institutions and instead further erode police morale, community relationships, and public confidence. They will result in great damage to police recruitment and retention, posing significant risks to public safety throughout our state. Under these circumstances, I have no choice but to uphold my primary responsibility to keep Marylanders safe—especially those that live in vulnerable communities most impacted by violent crime—and veto these bills.”
 
After the vote, Carozza issued the following statement: “As I listened to my colleagues speak on the Senate Floor during today’s police reform veto debate, I agree about the need for course correction and building of trust in policing. That’s why I supported the more balanced Senate police reform bills that passed earlier in the session.
 
Let’s be clear. We had bipartisan consensus with our Senate-passed police reform bills that increased police accountability and transparency, and struck a balance that was fair to both law enforcement and the public.
 
But as the Governor highlighted in his veto letter, the final police reform bills that were passed by the legislature will result in great damage to police recruitment and retention, posing significant risks to public safety across our state.
 
I voted to sustain the Governor’s vetoes on the police reform bills as I believe that instead of building public trust and confidence in Maryland policing that it will threaten the lives and safety of our citizens and of our law enforcement.”
 
Governor Hogan’s vetoes of Senate Bill 71, Senate Bill 178, and House Bill 670 were overridden by votes of 31-16, 30-17, and 31-16, respectively. 
 
Small Business Relief Opportunities
 
School Resource Officers
The Senate Education, Health, and Environmental Affairs Committee held a voting session for House Bill 522—Public Schools - School Resource Officers and School Security Employees—Revisions which would create new training requirements for School Resource Officers (SROs) and limits how they may operate on school grounds. Senator Carozza is strongly opposed to House Bill 522 and spoke against it during the voting session.
 
During the debate, amendments were considered that would modify the legislation to simply allowing local school jurisdictions the option to allocate their SRO funding towards counselors. Maryland schools currently are eligible for $10 million for two possible school safety grants. One would purely fund the operations of SROs, while the other would fund general school safety initiatives, which includes mental health programs.
 
“The bottom line is this bill is weakening the role of our School Resource Officers to protect our most valuable asset – our children. We put these SROs in place after the mass shootings that were occurring around the country, and one right here in Maryland. I will continue to oppose any and all legislative efforts to weaken the protection of our students, teachers, and school personnel,” Senator Carozza said. 
 
2021 Senatorial Scholarships
 
Balloon Bill Clears General Assembly
Senator Carozza’s Senate Bill 716— Solid Waste Management – Prohibition on Releasing a Balloon Into the Atmosphere passed the House of Delegates by a vote to 99-34 and will go to the Governor’s desk. Delegate Wayne Hartman introduced the legislation in the House of Delegates as House Bill 391, and it has cleared both chambers.
 
“The purpose of Senate Bill 716 is to educate individuals on the harmful effects that balloons have on our environment including killing wildlife, causing power outages, and polluting our trees and waterways,” testified Senator Carozza, noting that she participates in beach cleanups in Ocean City and supported similar legislation last session. "This commonsense and bipartisan legislation will help protect our birds, sea life, and of course, our beloved Assateague ponies.”
 
This legislation applies to any person over the age of 13, a corporation, a partnership, an association, a nonprofit entity, the State, or any unit or political subdivision of the State. This bill does not apply to the unintentional release of a balloon or balloons released for scientific or meteorological purposes.
 
Senate Bill 716 is bipartisan and has the support of the Maryland Coastal Bays Foundation, the Assateague Coastal Trust, the Assateague Island Alliance, the Ocean City Surf Club, the Queen Anne’s Conservation Association, the Humane Society, the Maryland Farm Bureau, the National Aquarium, the Maryland Zoo, and the Ocean Pines Chamber of Commerce. 
 
 
 
In Service,
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Mary Beth Carozza
State Senator-District 38
Worcester, Wicomico, and Somerset
410-841-3645
 
 
 
 
 
 
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