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Week Two: Inauguration, First Carozza Bill Hearing of Session, Education Briefing, and Eastern Shore

 
 
 
 
2023 Maryland General Assembly Update
Week Two: Inauguration, First Carozza Bill Hearing of Session, Education Briefing, and Eastern Shore Updates
 
 
 
 
 
 
Annapolis, MD – On January 18th, 2023, Westley Watende Omari Moore was sworn in within the Maryland State Senate as the 63rd Governor of Maryland, pledging to “bear true allegiance to the State of Maryland” and to maintain the bipartisanship that the highest office in Maryland has become known for during the past eight years.  
 
Senator Mary Beth Carozza (R-District 38) and Senator Chris West (R-District 42) on the Senate Chamber Floor during the Official Swearing-In Ceremony of Governor Moore and Lt. Governor Miller
 
I attended the swearing in of the Governor and the Lt. Governor held in the Maryland Senate Chamber followed by the outdoor Inauguration, and a Faith and Community event in Prince George’s County held by Governor Moore and Lt. Governor Miller on the Sunday evening prior to the official Inauguration.
 
I appreciated being invited to attend these historic events, and I am making every effort to keep our Shore priorities in front of the new Governor and his Administration. I recognize that there will be areas of common ground as well as fundamental differences, and my focus will remain on working with both sides of the aisle in support of my constituents.
 
 
 
HEARING HELD ON CAROZZA’S LOCAL CRISFIELD
POLICE DEPARTMENT BILL 
 
Together with Crisfield Mayor Darlene Taylor, and Crisfield Police Chief Rick Taylor, we testified in strong support of Senate Bill 68 before the Senate Budget and Taxation Committee’s Pensions Subcommittee. The purpose of Senate Bill 68 is to allow members of the Crisfield Police Department to participate in the Law Enforcement Officers’ Pension System (LEOPS).
 
This is a local priority bill that is absolutely essential to the recruitment and retention of the Crisfield Police Department. This crucial bill will allow the Crisfield Police to remain competitive with neighboring law enforcement agencies and jurisdictions during a rampant law enforcement shortage across the Shore and the State of Maryland.
 
Crisfield Council Members Eric Banks and Laverne Johnson, along with Captain Lonnie Luedtke of the Crisfield Police Department, also attended the hearing. Written testimony in support of Senate Bill 68 was submitted by the Somerset County Commissioners, the Somerset County Sheriff’s Department, and Wicomico County Executive Julie Giordano, showing regional cooperation in support of the bill.
 
The hearing on Senate Bill 68 was my first bill hearing of the 2023 Legislative Session.
 
Back row (L to R): Councilman Eric Banks, Chief Rick Taylor, Capt. Lonnie Luedtke
Front row (L to R): Mayor Darlene Taylor, Councilwoman Laverne Johnson, Senator Carozza
 
 
 
EDUCATION BRIEFING IN EDUCATION, ENERGY, AND ENVIRONMENT COMMITTEE
The Senate Education, Energy, and Environment Committee on January 19th held an Education Briefing with State Superintendent of Schools Mohammed Choudhury.
 
Prior to the briefing, I contacted local school superintendents Somerset John Gaddis, Wicomico Micah Stauffer, and Worcester Lou Taylor to ensure local education concerns and issues were brought to the State Superintendent’s attention.
 
The State Superintendent focused his remarks on curriculum development, financial literacy, the teaching workforce, and student performance.
 
During the hearing, I brought up several local issues including the need to maintain some local control and to avoid a “canned curriculum” approach; meaningful and early parental involvement during curriculum development; the challenge to expanding Prekindergarten as there are limited private childcare providers, and schools have reached full capacity; and allowing other teacher certifications like college master degrees rather than just national board certification to meet the Kirwan Blueprint standards.
 
Our local school superintendents know the challenges of implementing the Kirwan Blueprint, and I will keep pushing for local flexibility regarding curriculum development and teacher preparation, and for more meaningful and early parental involvement.
 
I also appreciated that the State Superintendent publicly recognized at the briefing that Worcester County has the highest percentage of kindergarten readiness in all of Maryland, and I commend all of our local teachers and school personnel for their dedication to our local students.  
 
 
 
EASTERN SHORE DELEGATION ZOOM: TIDALHEALTH TRAUMA CENTER’S FUNDING CHALLENGES
 
Highlights from this week’s Eastern Shore Delegation zoom included a key presentation from TidalHealth President Steve Leonard and Vice-President Chris Hall.
As the only trauma center on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, TidalHealth Peninsula Regional’s trauma center is the second busiest in Maryland and serves more than 500,000 residents and more than 3 million people who visit the Eastern Shore each year. 
 
In a letter to Governor Hogan in October and Governor Moore in November, Leonard wrote, “…our trauma center is in jeopardy, and we are requesting funding to continue operations and maintain the high level of care we offer to residents of the Eastern Shore and across the State of Maryland.”
 
Our Eastern Shore Delegation will work together now to increase funding for TidalHealth’s trauma center which benefits residents on the Shore and throughout Maryland and beyond.
 
I am the Senate sponsor of a bill to establish a commission to study the adequacy of trauma funding across Maryland for operating, capital and workforce costs. The bill was requested by TidalHealth and the House sponsor is Delegate Tom Hutchinson, District 37 (Wicomico, Dorchester, Talbot, and Caroline). 
 
 
 
LOCALS IN ANNAPOLIS
Several local officials were in Annapolis for the Inauguration and for the Annual Taste of Maryland event, including Crisfield Mayor Darlene Taylor; Crisfield Council Members Eric Banks and LaVerne Johnson; University of Maryland Eastern Shore President Heidi Anderson; Ocean City Mayor Rick Meehan; Somerset County Tourism Clint Sterling and Wendy Robertson; and Wicomico Tourism Manager Kristin Goller.
 
Attending the Taste of Maryland (left to right) Del. Jay Jacobs (D-36), Kristin Goller, Del. Charles Otto (D-38A), Wendy Robertson, Senator Carozza, and Clint Sterling.
 
I also welcomed Faith Hall (below), a senior at Crisfield High School who participated in the Maryland General Assembly Page Program this week, to the Senate Floor to see Governor Elect Wes Moore and Lt. Governor Aruna Miller take the oath of office. Since 1777, the Senate Chamber has been the location of the Governor’s Swearing In.
 
SNEAK PREVIEW
The Senate Education, Energy, and Environment Committee and the Senate Budget and Taxation Committee will hold a joint hearing on the Maryland 529 College Investment Plan on Tuesday, January 24th.
 
I was part of a group of Senators who wrote a letter to several Maryland Colleges Presidents to request that they delay billing for the 2023 Semester until the issue has been resolved.
 
Many Maryland families have been forced to make difficult financial choices that the 529 Program was intended to alleviate. We need to resolve this issue for our Maryland students and their families as soon as possible.
 
 
 
 
Additional Resources
 
Following Legislation and Testifying
Not only does the General Assembly provide multiple ways to participate in your state government proceedings, but a full set of videos is also available online:
  • Understanding the MD General Assembly
  • Finding your legislator
  • Searching for bills by number, sponsor, subject matter
  • Understanding a bill
  • Tracking a bill
  • Searching media
  • Creating a personal MyMGA Account
  • Witness Sign Up-to testify on Bills
CLICK HERE TO ACCESS VIDEOS ABOVE
 
 
 
 
I look forward to hearing from you soon! Please contact me on issues important to you.
 
410-841-3645
marybeth.carozza@senate.state.md.us
 
 
 
 
 
In Service,
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Mary Beth Carozza
State Senator-District 38
Worcester, Wicomico, and Somerset
410-841-3645
 
 
 
 
 
 
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