Monday marks Crossover Day for Maryland General Assembly
MARYLAND – Monday marks a major hurdle for Maryland lawmakers. It’s Crossover Day, and delegates and senators are fighting to push their bills to opposite chambers.
The Scramble Starts
On Crossover Day, lawmakers debate bills that have statewide impacts. But, they also put their weight behind the bills that mean the most to their constituents.
“There are a lot of local bills that we are going to be scrambling to get across the third reading today,” said Del. Wayne Hartman on Monday. “It’s not always about passing legislation. Down here, it’s about killing some legislation that is not in line with the values of the people I represent.”
For Senator Johnny Mautz, it’s a new experience. Last session, Sen. Mautz was in the House chamber. “The Senate has an enormous amount of responsibility. The workload is different in the House, in that there aren’t as many colleagues to back you up. So you have to be on top of your game all the time on every issue,” he said.
House Bill 113
One bill making the cut: House Bill 113. The legislation has seen a few amendments, as far as fees and clarifying some of its language, says Del. Hartman. He says it could make major Ocean City events like Bike Week or Oceans Calling safer.
Senate Bill 493
Senate Bill 493 creates the Commission to Study Trauma Center Funding in Maryland.
“It’s an important bill, not only for TidalHealth, where the bill originated from. But, it’s really important for all the trauma centers across the state, and I had support from all the trauma centers across the state to move that bill forward,” said Delegate Tom Hutchinson.
It’s a bill that could be a gamechanger not just for the state of health care in Maryland, but individual facilities, says Del. Hutchinson.
“They also touch every county across the state. If you look at the patient origin reports, because of their proximity to Ocean City, sometimes people go to Ocean City and accidents do happen, and they end up at our fine facility in Salisbury.”
House Bill 934
House Bill 934 would clarify rules around a doe hunting competition in the month of January.
“We discovered there was a little bit of a flaw in state statute on whether that could proceed or not. So, we though through that and I’m excited to hear that it passed the subcommittee on Friday,” said Del. Hutchinson.
Del. Hutchinson says the bill won’t just help farmers; it’ll also feed those in need.
“We’ll be making our farmers happy that that can continue. But, most importantly, it actually helps our food bank because most of the venison that’s harvested goes to our local food bank,” said Del. Hutchinson.
Senate Bills 794 and 823
Sen. Carozza says she’s excited to see progress on Senate Bill 794. The bill would allow drug treatment centers to use residential kitchens instead of commercial kitchens.
“Those commercial kitchens are very expensive, as far as the equipment, and all of the renovations you would have to do to put in the more expensive equipment,” said Sen. Carozza.
And, the senator is also proud to see Senate Bill 823 making its way through the legislative process. It would allow for a $40 discount on state parks admission for first responders; a financial break that can make a world of difference in mental health, says Sen. Carozza.
“That was a bill that originated from Steve Mizell from Salisbury, Maryland, who as a retired first responder, has been very candid about this PTSD issues,” said Sen. Carozza.
Maybe Next Session
While Eastern Shore lawmakers earned some wins by this point in the session, they’re also counting the bills that might need to be worked on next time around.
One that will need some more work, says Del. Hartman, is House Bill 5. Del. Hartman says he decided to pull the bill back, after certain amendments were made. “What this bill did was put communication boards on playgrounds so that non-verbal children, and also children that speak other languages that are learning our language, if they have a need or concern, they can point,” he said.
Another bill that Del. Hartman is hoping to work on next session, is House Bill 545. He hopes to break the bill down into smaller components, and try to tackle it that way.
“Right now, there’s a law in Maryland that only allows an RV dealer to participate in two shows. We were trying to expand that number of shows,” he said. “We’re closer to Virginia and Delaware. We actually need out of state dealers to come and at least display to give some options to residents on the Lower Shore.”
Meanwhile, Sen. Carozza is gearing up to continue working on legislation aimed to better define the relationships between physicians assistants and physicians.
Senator Mary Beth Carozza says for her, Crossover Day doesn’t mark the end of one chapter; rather, it’s the start of the most intense part of the session.
“Once you pass your bill over to the other chamber, you still have a lot of work to do, because you then have to follow it through the other chamber, where you are not a member,” said Sen. Carozza. “We’re down to 22 days to do that. So, it will be a very intense time between now and sine die on April 10th.”
Sen. Mautz says while he’s tracking the progress of local bills, he’s also closely watching statewide issues, like recreational marijuana, reproductive rights, minimum wage, the state’s budget, and repeat violent offenders.