Ocean City Today

Carozza pushes numerous bills this session

By Greg Ellison | Mar 16, 2017

(March 17, 2017) Maryland State Delegate Mary Beth Carozza (R-38C) has had an active couple of weeks in Annapolis, with three bills going into their initial hearings and another piece earning unanimous House approval last month, while three more measures had initial hearings this month.

On its way to the Maryland Senate is House Bill 256, which addresses adult protective services investigations. It looks to double the time local social service departments have to conduct non-emergency inquiries from 30 to 60 days. The legislation passed the house by a 138-0 vote on Feb. 23.

“I believe many of our best ideas for increasing public safety come from those on the front lines who work with our elderly on a daily basis,” Carozza said in a press release. “This change to increase the investigative time for these cases would result in more findings of abuse and neglect, and more protections for our most vulnerable elderly.”

Prohibiting bow riding is the aim of HB 1609, an emergency boat safety co-sponsored by Delegate Charles Otto (R-38A), which had an initial house hearing on Feb. 23. The legislation is cross-filed with SB1147, sponsored by Maryland Senator Jim Mathias (D-38), which had a first senate reading on Feb. 24.

The narrowly crafted legislation would exempt vessels propelled by sail, oars or paddles, Carozza said.

“This bill is aimed to protect life and prevent injuries by making clear that dangerous bow riding is prohibited,” she said.

Current regulations prohibit the operation of a motorboat in a reckless or dangerous manner that could endanger lives or property. Under the proposed bill those prohibitions would be extended to riding the bow of a motorboat so that limbs of the body extend outside the hull of the vessel or in a generally dangerous manner.

An initial hearing in the House Ways and Means Committee for HB 413, otherwise known as the Pathways in Technology Early College High (P-TECH) School Act of 2017, was held on Feb. 21.

“One of my top priorities since I was elected has been to support and strengthen career technical education so our young people have the opportunity to prepare for careers in the technical and trades fields,” she said.

Carozza is among 40 delegates co-sponsoring the legislation that would require the State Department of Education to consult with the Maryland Higher Education Commission to develop and administer a P-TECH school program.

Carozza is also working with Department of Labor Secretary Kelly Schulz and local schools to examine expanding apprenticeship programs on the shore and said the construction industry continues to be challenged by a shortage in skilled workforce labor.

Carozza is among a slew of delegates supporting HB 1420, which would create a new category of statewide brewery licenses. The house held an initial hearing on this bill on Feb. 20.

“The legislation establishes a Class 10 modern brewery license in the state and authorizes the license to be issued for use in any jurisdiction,” she said.

The effort is reminiscent of past legislation Carozza promoted.

“During the 2015 session, I introduced HB 689, which established a limited distillery license for Worcester County and allowed Seacrets in Ocean City to bring jobs and revenue to Maryland rather than having to go to Delaware’s distillery operations.”

Under the proposed bill, instances where licenses are issued for use on farms, the beer manufacturer in question must use at least one ingredient grown on the property. It also establishes a size limit of no more than 4 ounces for samples provided on site.

Another education initiative Carozza is co-sponsoring is HB 878, the Public Charter School Act of 2017, which would establish the Maryland Public Charter School Authority to provide oversight and strengthen charter school programs in the state. The fate of this bill is uncertain following an unfavorable report by the House Ways and Means Committee last Thursday.

Addressing the devastating impacts of opioids on the Eastern Shore is another priority for Carozza, who as a member of the House Health and Human Resources Appropriations Subcommittee is supporting Gov. Hogan’s 2018 budget, which includes approximately $4 million in expanded funding for heroin opioid addiction treatment.

Also Carozza is co-sponsoring HB 687, which would hold defendants accused of peddling heroin, or comparable opioids that proved lethal, responsible even without direct contact with the decedent. This bill also had an initial house hearing on Feb. 28.

Turning her attention to softer drugs, Carozza is also backing HB 1043, which is the latest legislative effort to temper wider pubic approval and legal permission to consume cannabis with safety-inspired prohibitions.

“I am a cosponsor of HB 1043 and similar bills from past sessions to prohibit smoking pot in public and vehicles,” she said.

During the 2015 legislative session, Carozza authored a House floor amendment to ban smoking marijuana in public.

The bill, which in the past has faced Senate challenges, was scheduled for a first reading in the house on Feb. 28.

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