2024 Maryland General Assembly Update

Week One: Opening Day, Crime Legislation, Energy Briefing,

and Locals in Annapolis


Meet my team in Annapolis; Molly (L) and Bryce (R)

The 446th Maryland General Assembly convened on Wednesday, January 10, 2024, for 90 days of intense lawmaking, budgeting, and oversight in Annapolis. The Maryland Senate introduced 317 bills for consideration the very first week, and more will be introduced over the following weeks.

 

“This session, we’re facing a crime crisis, major budget challenges, costly climate change mandates, and an unaffordable Blueprint education plan. I will continue to push for commonsense legislative proposals on public safety, local flexibility for our local governments and school systems, and better management of the pace of change, and reduction of the cost of big-ticket initiatives like the Blueprint education plan (Kirwan) costing $3.8 billion per year and Maryland’s Climate Change plan costing $1 billion per year. The Maryland General Assembly needs to scale back these expensive and unaffordable programs, and live within its means just like our Shore families do day in and day out.”      

PUBLIC SAFETY CRIME PACKAGE

 

Along with Senators Ron Watson (D-District 23) and Chris West (R-District 42), I have introduced several bipartisan public safety bills this session to fight crime and make our streets and communities safer. All three of us have heard from key constituencies in their districts calling for legislative action to be taken this session to address the violent crime and juvenile crime crisis.

(Above photo with members of the Maryland States Attorney's Association, including Wicomico County Sr. Assistant States Attorney, Patrick Gilbert- far left)

 

“Right here on the Shore, we have experienced a mass shooting in Salisbury over the summer which left a 15-year-old boy dead and 14 others shot, and we are seeing violence in our schools and neighborhoods, including gang war.We need to take action this session on meaningful anti-crime bills that go after juvenile crime and repeat violent offenders.”

 

For the past several months leading up to session, I have been meeting with Wicomico County State’s Attorney Jamie Dykes and other law enforcement officials as well local school leaders, faith-based and community groups, and business operators to hear their concerns and front-line recommendations. Both Senators Ron Watson (D-Prince Georges County) and Chris West (R-Baltimore County) held similar meetings in their districts. “We decided to move forward with legislation that would focus on holding repeat, violent offenders and violent juveniles accountable".

 

The Juvenile Interrogation Act of 2022 has limited the ability of law enforcement in questioning juveniles in order to solve crimes as the JIA states that no juvenile who has been taken “in custody” by a police officer, including a school resource officer, can be interrogated before the juvenile has actually talked to an attorney. The result has been that every time a juvenile speaks to an attorney, the juvenile is instructed not to talk to the police. “One of the unintended consequences of the Juvenile Interrogation Act is that adult criminals are now directing activity to juveniles, knowing they will not be questioned by law enforcement.”

I introduced Senate Bill 326 (above) on the first day which would supplement the existing “public safety” exception to the Juvenile Interrogation Act by allowing for juveniles to be questioned in those cases in which the police have probable cause to believe the juvenile has committed a “crime of violence” or a crime involving a firearm.

 

“These narrow exceptions would allow law enforcement to question juveniles only for crimes of violence and crimes with a firearm,” said Senator Carozza. “It will help protect juveniles from adult criminals who often are preying on and coercing juveniles into serious crime, and also would protect the community as a whole.”

SENATE ENERGY CAPACITY BRIEFING

 

The Senate Education, Energy, and Environment Committee, of which I am a member, held a three-hour energy capacity briefing on Thursday. The briefing focused on ensuring a reliable energy transition in light of the mandates required by the Climate Solutions Now Act to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 60% by 2031 and to achieve net zero emissions by 2045.

After hearing the concerns of Reliability First and PJM officials as well as from local auto dealers and energy suppliers from my district, it’s clear to me that Maryland’s new energy policies will be costly for consumers, and the infrastructure simply is not in place to move to an all-electric energy model. We should have a multi-energy source plan, instead of putting all our eggs in a one-basket all-electric approach.” 

 

“We should heed the concerns of these energy professionals who are encouraging Maryland policymakers to balance and manage the pace of change with the urgency of change. We need to make sure our constituents don’t bear the brunt of the $1 billion a year of Maryland’s climate change plan.”

 

In response to my question about the impact of Maryland’s energy policies on her constituents, PJM Senior Vice President of Policy Asim Haque replied, “This is a balance of a series of risks and harms. We recognize, as a nation, grid, and state, that there is a climate crisis. That is one set of risks. Economically, one of the biggest expenses for families is their utility bills. We have to be very conscious of costs for consumers….”


LOCALS IN ANNAPOLIS

 

We saw several local officials in Annapolis for the first week of the 2024 Legislative Session, including Ocean City Mayor Rick Meehan; Wicomico County Executive Julie Giordano and Administrator Bunky Luffman; Wicomico County State’s Attorney’s Office Patrick Gilbert; Eli Modlin, Salisbury University Chief of Staff; Maryland International Association of Fire Fighters Vice President Melissa Bragg, Ocean Pines Fire Department; and Maryland State Firemen’s Association First Vice President, Skip Carey of Ocean Pines. (shown next to Senator Carozza on the right)

STORM RESOURCES

STAY INVOLVED

We welcome your visit to Annapolis and encourage you to follow the fast pace of legislation by signing on to the General Assembly Website where you can find useful information. At the bottom of the page, click on video tutorials for full descriptions. Below is a link to the site.

MGA Website

IN SERVICE,


MARY BETH

By Authority: Friends of Mary Beth Carozza, James R. Bergey, Jr., CPA, Treasurer