2019 Maryland General Assembly Update
Week Two-Making History and Back to Business
History was made as we celebrated the Inauguration of Governor Larry Hogan and Lieutenant Governor Boyd Rutherford on Wednesday, January 16. Then, we’re back to business: Senator Mary Beth Carozza also participated in the 2019 Chesapeake Environmental & Economic Summit; attended Committee meetings on higher education and the Department of Natural Resources throughout the week; attended the first Veteran’s Caucus meeting of the 2019 legislative session; and began reviewing Governor Hogan’s proposed Fiscal Year 2020 Budget.
CAROZZA ATTENDS HOGAN RUTHERFORD INAUGURATION
On Wednesday, January 16, Governor Larry Hogan was sworn in for his second term as Governor of the State of Maryland. Senator Carozza and other members of the Maryland General Assembly attended a special morning prayer service and participated in the official opening of the sealed election results in the House of Delegates chamber before the official swearing in of the Governor and Lieutenant Governor in the Senate chamber. Afterwards, the ceremonies moved outside as the Governor and Lieutenant Governor addressed the public. As only the second Republican governor in Maryland’s history to be reelected, Governor Hogan gave an inspirational address calling on all Marylanders to work together to “keep changing Maryland for the better and continue setting an example for the rest of the nation.”
CAROZZA QUESTIONS HIGHER EDUCATION AND NATURAL RESOURCES OFFICIALS
The Senate Education, Health, and Environmental Affairs Committee was briefed on higher education in the state of Maryland and the Department of Natural Resources. During the higher education briefings, Senator Carozza asked Maryland Higher Education Commission (MHEC) Secretary Fielder about resources available to coordinate educational goals with job readiness and how to share the best practices with smaller schools around the state. At the Department of Natural Resources briefing, the full Committee was informed about the department and oyster restoration efforts. Senator Carozza used this time to inquire about efforts to protect the horses on Assateague Island and advocate for commercial watermen being included in the discussion of the oyster restoration and management program.
CAROZZA PARTICIPATES IN FIRST VETERANS CAUCUS MEETING OF SESSION
Senator Carozza participated in the first Maryland General Assembly meeting of the Veteran’s Caucus, hearing from Veterans Secretary George W. Owings, III and Army National Guard Brigadier General Janeen L. Birckhead of Snow Hill. Their briefing to Caucus Members focused on their outreach and advocacy programs designed to improve the lives of veterans statewide. The Caucus also received a presentation from the Maryland Military Coalition. Senator Carozza will support their legislative agenda that includes suicide prevention, a second state veteran’s home, and making military retirement income completely tax free. Senator Carozza is a strong advocate for veterans and they were the subject of her first and final pieces of legislation during her term in the House of Delegates.
CAROZZA’S BUDGET COMMENTS
“Governor Hogan’s budget keeps Maryland’s fiscal house in order and funds Shore priorities,” said Senator Carozza after her preliminary review of Governor Hogan’s proposed Fiscal Year 2020 Budget. Carozza noted that Governor Hogan’s $19.5 billion fiscal year 2020 budget includes $247.8 million for substance use disorder services, which would support the Poplar Hill Recovery Center in Wicomico County. The Governor’s budget proposals include $30 million to strengthen school safety with $10 million targeted for additional school resources officers and mental health counselors. Carozza also noted an additional $610,000 for the Tourism Development Board; $500,000 for the Somerset County Visitors Center; and a 7% salary enhancement for correctional officers. Senator Carozza also signed on to support Governor Hogan’s legislation that would increase funding for the amount of the bonding authority which the Maryland Stadium Authority has for the Ocean City Convention Center expansion to $24.5 million.