2023 Legislative Session

The Maryland General Assembly adjourned the 2023 Legislative Session on April 10, 2023.  This was once again a productive session for District 29, as I was able to secure over $39 millionin State funding for many important local projects.

The Capital Budget included funding for several projects across District 29, including renovations at MedStar St. Mary’s Hospital, a new handicapped accessible boat for St. Clement’s Island, the preservation of the retired Maryland Dove, and further study by the Maryland Stadium Authority of new facilities at Historic St. Mary’s City.  

I was successful in securing additional funding for a number of important local projects through the Legislative Bond Initiative process, including the construction of the new Regional Agricultural Center, solar panels at Mechanicsville Volunteer Fire Department, and improvements to the press box at Great Mills High School.  Bond initiatives were also included in the capital budget for a new Da Vinci Machine for CalvertHealth Medical Center, solar panels for the Bay District and Ridge Volunteer Fire Departments, and improvements for Annmarie Gardens.

This was also the first year in which the General Assembly could add funding to programs in the Operating Budget.  Through this process, I obtained additional funds for the Potomac River Fisheries Commission, the Southern Maryland Agricultural Development Commission, and the Historic St. Mary’s City Fort to 400 Commission.  Funds were also included through this process for the Lothian Grain Elevator.  While it is located in Anne Arundel County, I am proud to have supported this funding so that this facility can continue to be a resource to benefit farmers throughout Southern Maryland.

Sponsored Legislation – I was proud to sponsor and pass the below bills during this legislative session which will be presented to the Governor for his signature:

Public Safety Legislation

Senate Bill 57 – Sexual Offenses – Crime of Violence and Lifetime Supervision strengthens Maryland’s laws protecting minors against sexual abuse and will protect our most vulnerable citizens felony sexual assaults.  This was the fifth consecutive year that I have introduced this legislation to address inconsistencies with our laws regarding those who commit sexual abuse against children, and I am extremely proud that this important bill PASSED during this year’s session.

Senate Bill 61 – Property Tax Credit – Public Safety Officer gives local governments the authority to determine which public safety officers are eligible for local property tax credits in their jurisdiction and repeals an existing $2,500 credit limit.  

Senate Bill 74 – Grossly Negligent or Drunk or Drugged Operation of Vehicle or Vessel – Prior Convictions requires a conviction for drunk or drugged driving be considered a prior conviction for the purposes of determining subsequent offender penalties for unlawfully operating or attempting to operate a vessel while under the influence or while impaired, and vice versa.  This bill also establishes that a person convicted of drunk and drugged driving offenses is subject to increased subsequent offender penalties if the person has previously been convicted of manslaughter by vehicle or vessel in a grossly negligent manner.

Veterans Legislation

Senate Bill 974 – State-Owned Nursing Homes – Deficiencies, Citations, and Fines – Contractor Reporting Requirements is emergency legislation that requires increased reporting of deficiencies cited and enforcement actions imposed at State-owned nursing facilities.  This bill was introduced in response to the recent reports of mistreatment of veterans at Charlotte Hall Veterans Home.  This bill is not intended to be a substitute for action to fix what went wrong at Charlotte Hall.  However, it is necessary to ensure that major problems such as these cannot be kept from the oversight of the General Assembly going forward, and addresses the need for increased transparency.

Natural Resources Legislation

Senate Bill 10 – Department of Natural Resources – Documents – Digital or Electronic Issuance requires the Department of Natural Resources to make available and issue most licenses, stamps, permits, registrations, or certificates authorized by the Natural Resources Article in a digital or electronic format.  This legislation does not eliminate paper licenses but rather gives Marylanders the choice of how they want to carry these documents.

Senate Bill 80 – Natural Resources – Blue and Flathead Catfish Finfish Trotline License – Establishment restores provisions of law establishing a commercial blue and flathead catfish finfish trotline license in Maryland as part of our State’s strategy to fight against invasive species of catfish.

Senate Bill 91 – Natural Resources – Apprentice Hunting License – Alterations expands youth hunting opportunities in Maryland by authorizing the Department of Natural Resources to issue an apprentice hunting license to a person younger than age 17 who has previously been issued an apprentice license.

Senate Bill 102 – Natural Resources – Recreational Crabbing Gear – Individuals Under the Age of 16 Years exempts individuals under the age of 16 from the requirement to obtain a recreational crabbing license to catch or attempt to catch crabs in the waters of the Chesapeake Bay and its tidal tributaries if they use a collapsible trap, net ring, handline, or dip net.

Senate Bill 275 – Hunting – Snares, Traps, and Other Similar Devices – Identification Requirement requires a person who uses a snare, a trap, or similar device to capture wildlife to ensure the person’s Department of Natural Resources identification number is affixed to the device.  This requirement does not apply to a person using these traps on their own property.  Trappers serve a distinct role in resource conservation and helping to control nuisance animals in our State, and these tags will assist our trappers in retaining the public’s trust of the vital role that they have in wildlife management.

Senate Bill 422 – Natural Resources – Black Bass Conservation Fund – Establishment creates the Black Bass Conservation Fund, funded by a voluntary contribution check off block that would be available when applying for or renewing a fishing license.  These funds would be used for black bass management, including for stocking bass, enhancing aquatic habitat, supporting responsible bass tournaments, and supporting scientific research related to bass conservation.

Senate Bill 611 – Office of the Attorney General – Environmental and Natural Resources Crimes Unit – Establishment creates the Environment and Natural Resources Crimes Unit in the Office of the Attorney General.  This unit will prosecute the state’s criminal environmental and natural resources laws, including bringing and defending cases under wildlife laws and laws associated with the management of public lands and other state natural and cultural resources.  This bill will ensure that these cases are being pursued by prosecutors who have experience in this specialized area of the law, and help our local State’s Attorneys, who are currently responsible for bringing these complex cases to trial.

Other Sponsored Legislation

Senate Bill 395 – State Employee and Retiree Health Benefits – Creditable Service makes any creditable service for State employment in the Executive, Legislative, or Judicial Branch count towards determining eligibility for retiree health benefits.

Senate Bill 639 – Historic St. Mary’s City Commission Reform Act of 2023 revises and updates the statute governing the Historic St. Mary’s City Commission following the findings of an independent audit into the Commission’s practices.  This bill makes alterations to the Commission’s membership, clarifies provisions regarding their meetings and election of officers, requires the Commission to formalize and regularly review their agreements and operating procedures and enacts guardrails to govern the relationship that the Commission has with any affiliated nonprofits that it works with.

Co–Sponsored Legislation – In addition to these bills, I was proud to co-sponsor and work on other important legislation sponsored by other Senators that passed this session:

Senate Bill 24 – Department of Transportation – Financing and Commission on Transportation Revenue and Infrastructure Needs (State and Federal Transportation Funding Act) expands the authority of the Maryland Department of Transportation to issue additional bonds backed by future federal aid for transportation projects in our State.  I am very happy to report that one of the projects eligible for these bonds under this bill is the replacement of the Thomas Johnson Bridge, providing the State with a new opportunity to address this much needed and long-awaited project that is District 29’s most important transportation priority.

Senate Bill 327 – Hunting, Wildlife Conservation, and Outdoor Recreation – Funding, Promotion, Management, Licenses, Permits, and Stamps will give more access and opportunities for sportsmen and sportswomen to engage in outdoor recreation by providing the Department of Natural Resources with substantially more funding than it has ever had dedicated to resource management.  This legislation also provides important clarifications to State law regarding a landowner’s liability for actions by a hunter using their property.

Senate Bill 650 – Public Safety – State Disaster Recovery Fund establishes the State Disaster Recovery Fund.  This fund would be used to provide recovery assistance to Marylanders if a disaster occurs that is not eligible for Federal funds, helping our residents and local jurisdictions in times of crisis, such as the  flooding in Leonardtown.

Local Legislation In addition to these bills, I also worked to secure passage of eight bills that are specific to St. Mary’s or Calvert Counties that were requested by our local governments:

St. Mary’s County

House Bill 526 – St. Mary’s County – Transfer of Child Support Unit and Personnel to the Child Support Administration transfers the functions, powers, duties, and staff of the Child Support Unit of the Office of the State’s Attorney for St. Mary’s County to the Child Support Administration of the Department of Human Services on October 1, 2023.  Funding for this transfer has been included in the State budget and this bill is expected to save St. Mary’s County taxpayers over $300,000 per year.

Senate Bill 457 – St. Mary’s County – Public Facilities Bond 

House Bill 219 – St. Mary’s County – Golf Carts on Public Highways – Report

House Bill 247 – St. Mary’s County – Transfer Tax – Sunset Extension

House Bill 263 – St. Mary’s County – Gaming – Senior Activity Centers

House Bill 887 – St. Mary’s County – Metropolitan Commission – New Facilities

Calvert County

House Bill 1178 – Calvert County – Length of Service Award Program – Benefits alters the County’s Length of Service Award Program for fire, rescue, and emergency medical services volunteers by allowing the County to increase the program’s benefit amount by an amount equal to the percentage of the cost-of-living increase authorized for county employees and raising the death and burial benefits available to qualifying volunteers under the program.

House Bill 1174 – Calvert County – Civil Infractions – Prosecutorial Designations

2022 Legislative Session

The 2022 Legislative Session was once again a productive session for District 29, as Senator Bailey was able to secure State funding for many important local projects.

The Capital Budget included funding for several projects across District 29, including accessibility improvements at St. Clement’s Island and the construction of the Maryland Heritage Interpretative Center.  It also included funds for improvements and renovations at the Leonard Calvert House at Historic St. Mary’s City, St. Mary’s College of Maryland, and MedStar St. Mary’s Hospital.

Senator Bailey was successful in securing additional funding for a number of important local projects through the Legislative Bond Initiative process, including the replacement of the Trent Hall Creek pier in Golden Beach, accessibility upgrades for Annmarie Gardens, restoration of the Newtowne Manor House, critical dam repairs for Breton Bay, and updates for the Patuxent River Naval Air Museum.  Bond initiatives were also included in the budget for the Lexington Park Health Department Hub, Farming 4 Hunger St. Mary’s County, St. James Public Comfort Station, St. Mary’s Caring Soup Kitchen, and St. Mary’s County Mobile Library.

The budget also includes funds to establish a Kennedy Krieger Institute school to serve Southern Maryland students with special needs.  This campus will provide needed services to our special needs students in Calvert, Charles, Prince George’s and St. Mary’s Counties rather than traveling long distances to attend programs in other parts of the State or entirely opting out of appropriate placements due to the distant location.  Senator Bailey worked with the Southern Maryland Delegation to advance this important project and was incredibly proud to have these funds allocated to this project.

In addition to projects funded for this year, the Capital Budget also included authorizations to spend money on projects in future years.  This year, the budget includes a $10 million allocation of funding that the State plans to spend next year to widen Point Lookout Road (MD 5) from Indian Bridge Road (MD 471) to Great Mills Road (MD 246).

Sponsored Legislation – Senator Bailey was proud to sponsor the below bills which passed in the 2022 Legislative Session and became law:

Senate Bill 79 – Higher Education – Senatorial and Delegate Scholarships – Program Accreditation required an in–state academic program to be accredited before it can be considered comparable when awarding Senatorial and Delegate Scholarships.  Under current law, a legislator can allow a student to use a Senatorial or Delegate Scholarship at an out–of–state school only if the academic program the student is pursuing is not available at an in–state college or university, regardless of whether that in–state program is accredited.

Senate Bill 454 – Marine Contractor License – Authorization, Requirements, and Fees was requested by the Calvert County Commissioners and permits county and municipal employees to perform minor repairs and maintenance to public access facilities on or over public waterways that currently require these jurisdictions to hire a licensed marine contractor.

Senate Bill 455 – Chesapeake Bay and Coastal Sport Fishing License and Recreational Fishing – Pilot Program and Task Force established a pilot program and a task force to work towards obtaining more accurate data to estimate the number of fish caught in Maryland’s waterways by recreational anglers.  This more accurate data will assist the Department of Natural Resources when setting policies to maintain a stable fishery in our State.

Senate Bill 579 – Vehicle Equipment – Highway Maintenance and Service – Green Flashing Lights authorized highway maintenance and service equipment and vehicles owned by the State or local governments to use green flashing lights simultaneously with yellow or amber flashing lights while in use.  This bill was requested by the State Highway Administration to give our State and local governments more options as they work to best protect Maryland’s highway maintenance workers.

Senate Bill 582 – Natural Resources – Recreation on Private Land – Hunting protected landowners from liability if they allow individuals to hunt on their property and provides that the hunter assumes the responsibility and liability for their safety and actions.

Senate Bill 673 – Natural Resources Police Force – Employees – Authority of Secretary allowed the Natural Resources Police (NRP) force to be governed and managed similarly to how all other statewide police forces operate in Maryland.  The bill was amended in the Senate to also require the NRP to establish a study group to propose actions to be taken to pursue diversity within its sworn and civilian ranks.

Senate Bill 876 – Water Pollution – Oyster Repletion Supplemental Environmental Projects required the Maryland Department of the Environment to prioritize supplemental environmental projects involving oyster repletion for water pollution violations that occur in the proximity of an oyster population.

Cross–filed Legislation – Senator Bailey also sponsored the following bills which passed this session in an identical form to Senate bills that he introduced:

House Bill 170 – Calvert County – Sunday Hunting permits hunting on each Sunday of the game bird and game mammal seasons in Calvert County.  Under the bill as amended by the Senate, hunting is only permitted on the additional Sundays from 30 minutes before sunrise to 10:30 a.m.  Sundays that were open to hunting in Calvert County prior to the bill’s passage were not affected.  House Bill 170 was identical to Senate Bill 220, which Senator Bailey introduced on behalf of the Calvert County Senators.

House Bill 602 – Board of Public Works – Historic Sotterley – Operating Grant provided needed operating funds to Historic Sotterley in St. Mary’s County for three years.  This bill was identical to Senate Bill 913, which Senator Bailey sponsored.

Co–Sponsored Legislation – In addition to these bills, Senator Bailey was proud to co-sponsor and work on a number of other important legislation sponsored by other Senators that passed in the 2022 Session:

Senate Bill 273 – Environment – PFAS Chemicals – Prohibitions and Requirements (George “Walter” Taylor Act) limited the use of PFAS, a chemical known to be responsible for causing cancer, in Maryland.  This bill was a priority for Maryland’s firefighters who encounter PFAS in numerous ways, including in firefighting foam as well as in their gear.  The legislation was named after George “Walter” Taylor, a firefighter from District 29 who passed away from a form of cancer that has been linked to PFAS. 

Senate Bill 378 – Tri–County Council for Southern Maryland – Funding for Southern Maryland Agricultural Development Commission ensured funding for the operations of the Southern Maryland Agricultural Development Commission (SMADC) for at least three years.  This legislation will give SMADC and our agricultural community certainty and predictability going forward as they advance significant projects for Southern Maryland, such as the Regional Agricultural Center that will be located in Charlotte Hall.  

Senate Bill 381 – Natural Resources – Wildlife Trafficking Prevention prohibited a person from purchasing, selling, offering for sale, or possessing with the intent to sell, any item that the person knows, or should know, is a part or product that comes from an endangered species, such as ivory.  The bill has exceptions for musical instruments, knives, and firearms for which the part or product is integral to the item and is less than 20% of the total weight of the item.  Senator Bailey was proud to bring his experience combatting wildlife trafficking to help in ensuring this bill’s passage.

Senate Bill 405 – Income Tax – Retirement Income Subtraction Modifications and Senior Credit (Retirement Tax Elimination Act of 2022) created a tax credit for Marylanders 65 or over who make less than $100,000 per year individually or less than $150,000 jointly.  The tax credit is $1,000 individually or if only one of the individuals filing a joint return is eligible for the credit, and $1,750 for joint filings.  The bill also expands the State income tax deduction for retired public safety officers as well as fire, rescue, and emergency services personnel.

Senate Bill 826 – Economic Development – Maryland Watermen’s Microloan Program – Establishment established the Maryland Watermen’s Microloan Program to provide loans to qualified commercial fishermen to continue commercial operations in the State.  The Governor included funding in a supplemental budget for this program to be established this year.

Senate Bill 830 – Natural Resources – Oysters – Spat, Shells, and Substrate made numerous changes to Maryland law to help promote oyster production in the State and represents a significant investment into restoring and replenishing oysters in our State’s waterways, including through loans for seafood processing projects, grants for oyster shell recycling, and funding for a survey of existing and potential oyster habitats.

Other Legislation – Senator Bailey was also proud to work on other important legislation that passed during the 2022 Session, including:

Senate Bill 269 – Open Meetings Act – Application and Enhanced Requirements (Maryland State Agency Transparency Act of 2022) applied an enhanced version of Maryland’s Open Meetings Act to a number of State agencies.  Senator Bailey added an amendment to this bill adding the Historic St. Mary’s City Commission to the list of agencies included in this bill to ensure that our residents and all Marylanders can have more insight into the important work of the Commission.

House Bill 146 – Education – Reportable Offenses, Student Discipline, and School Disruptions – Presence of an Attorney and Reporting included provisions requiring local school systems to report annually on the number of disruptions that occur in their schools.  These provisions are similar to and work to accomplish the same objective as Senate Bill 583, which Senator Bailey introduced during this session. 

2021 Legislative Session

In the 2021 Legislative Session Senator Bailey was able to secure State funding for important local projects in the Operating and Capital Budgets.  Not only did the Senate restore funding to the Charlotte Hall Veterans Home’s budget that had been removed by the House of Delegates, but Senator Bailey also secured supplemental funds to allow the Veterans Home to purchase their own ambulance.  This ambulance will ensure that the veterans who reside at CHVH continue to receive the best care possible and will reduce the number of calls that the Rescue Squad has to handle from the Veterans Home, giving them greater capacity to respond to other calls from the community they serve. 

The budget also included funds to support our local farmers through the Southern Maryland Agricultural Development Commission (SMADC).  This restores funds that were cut from SMADC and will ensure that they can continue their important work for our agricultural community, particularly their progress on the Southern Maryland Regional Agricultural Center.  As a member of SMADC’s board, Senator Bailey worked to restore full funding for this vital resource for our Southern Maryland Counties.  Additionally, the Governor appropriated funds in the Operating Budget for a new academic building and auditorium at St. Mary’s College of Maryland, facilities renewal at SMCM, the excavation of St. Mary’s Fort, and oyster seeding efforts in our Bay.

The Capital Budget also included significant funding for projects in District 29 including the Third Academic Building at the University of Maryland at Southern Maryland, the Maryland Heritage Interpretive Center at Historic St. Mary’s City, needed repairs at Historic St. Mary’s City, a rescue boat for the Ridge Volunteer Fire Department the Innovative Center for Autonomous Systems at the St. Mary’s County Regional Airport, the future St. Mary’s County Sports Complex, and the Patuxent River Naval Air Museum and Visitor Center.

Sponsored Legislation – Senator Bailey is proud to have sponsored the following bills which passed in the 2021 Legislative Session and became law:

Senate Bill 51 – Tri-County Council for Southern Maryland – Property Management – Southern Maryland Regional Agricultural Center authorizes the Tri-County Council for Southern Maryland to act as the property manager for the new Regional Agricultural Center (RAC) which is currently being built in Charlotte Hall.  This bill institutes the technical change necessary to allow the Tri-County Council to act as property manager for the RAC, which will in turn allow the SMADC to operate the facility, reflecting how all parties involved want to move forward and putting the statute in line with the memorandum of understanding for this project.

Senate Bill 318 – Natural Resources – Fishing and Hunting Rights affirms the importance of hunting and fishing to Maryland’s cultural and social heritage and economy.  The bill also codifies the intent of the General Assembly that Marylanders have a right to hunt and fish in accordance with regulations and restrictions under laws enacted by the General Assembly.  While reasonable regulation of hunting and fishing is necessary to preserve our environment for future generations to enjoy, these statutes need to be balanced with the rights of our residents in this area.  Formal recognition of these rights is intended to help in protecting this balance and support the hundreds of thousands of Marylanders who fish and hunt and the hundreds of millions of dollars of economic activity that hunting and fishing generate in our State each year. Maryland was the 25th State to pass this type of legislation that was a priority for the Maryland Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus, which Senator Bailey chairs.

Senate Bill 324 – Environment and Natural Resources – Complaints, Inspections, and Enforcement – Information Maintenance and Reporting ensures more transparency regarding how information about Maryland’s natural resources and environmental laws are disseminated.  Senator Bailey co-sponsored this bill and testified in support at the bill hearing.

Senate Bill 769 – Income Tax Credit for Venison Donation – Reporting Requirement and Testing for Chronic Wasting Disease was another priority of the Maryland Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus and requires the Department of Natural Resources to study deer brought to processors as part of the income tax credit program for venison donation for chronic wasting disease to ensure that the State is providing a safe and healthy food source to those in need through this initiative.  As Senate Chair of the Sportsmen’s Caucus, Senator Bailey co-sponsored this bill and testified in support at the bill hearing.

Senate Bill 861 – St. Mary’s County – Public Facilities Bond authorizes the St. Mary’s County Commissioners to borrow money to finance the construction, improvement, or development of public facilities in St. Mary’s County.

Senate Bill 946 – Historic St. Mary’s City Fort to 400 Commission establishes the Historic St. Mary’s City Fort to 400 Commission.  This Commission will be directed to plan and conduct observances commemorating the 400th anniversary of Maryland’s founding in 2034.  As Maryland’s first settlement, Historic St. Mary’s City will be at the center of these celebrations.  This is not only a high honor and responsibility, but also an economic opportunity for the area where the various stakeholders will be granted the responsibility to also ensure preservation efforts and maintain the historical significance of St. Mary’s City.  It is important to note that this Commission will be focused not only on the statewide celebration and the observances held at St. Mary’s City, but also on ensuring that we use this opportunity to the fullest to ensure the continued economic viability of Historic St. Mary’s City and the surrounding area so that this rich history can be shared and enjoyed by many generations to come.

Cross-filed Legislation – Senator Bailey was also the Senate sponsor of legislation to protect our students.

House Bill 83 – Public and Nonpublic Schools – Electric Retractable Room Partitions – Operation Requirements creates safety standards for the use of electric retractable room partitions in Maryland schools.  The bill states that a school employee may not operate an electric retractable room partition in a school building unless one of three conditions are met.  This bill was introduced in response to incidents in other states where improper operation of these partitions has killed or seriously injured students.  Senator Bailey introduced the Senate version of this bill, Senate Bill 104, which included the language that ultimately was passed by the General Assembly.

Other Legislation – Senator Bailey was also proud to work with his colleagues in the General Assembly on other important legislation that passed this year, including:

Senate Bill 17 – Criminal Law – Life–Threatening Injury Involving a Motor Vehicle or Vessel – Criminal Negligence (Wade’s Law) prohibits a person from causing a life-threatening injury to another as a result of the person’s driving, operating, or controlling a motor vehicle or vessel in a criminally negligent manner.  A violation of this law is punishable by a year in prison, a fine not exceeding $5,000, or both.  Senator Bailey diligently worked to ensure that this important public safety legislation was prioritized by the Judicial Proceedings Committee and passed this year.

2020 Legislative Session

In the 2020 Legislative Session, Senator Bailey secured State funding for important projects in District 29 in the Operating and Capital Budgets. Included among the most notable items in the budget are the Third Building at USMSM, Historic St. Mary’s City, the Calvert Marine Museum, the Regional Agricultural Center planned in Charlotte Hall, Chopticon High School’s stadium press box, restorations for Historic Sotterley Plantation, and renovations to the St. Mary’s County Detention Center.

The Senator also worked to ensure funding was included in the budget to be dedicated to study the feasibility of a future behavioral health crisis center in Southern Maryland. Additionally, as the Chair of the Southern Maryland Senate Delegation, Senator Bailey also supported bills which increase funding for the Tri-County Council of Southern Maryland and streamline the budget process for the College of Southern Maryland.

Sponsored Legislation

Senator Bailey is proud to have sponsored the following bills which passed in the 2020 Legislative Session:

Senate Bill 242 – Natural Resources – Wild Waterfowl Policy – Repeal removes obsolete provisions of Maryland law regarding the issuance of a license to feed wild waterfowl. The current law has only served to confuse the public and those police officers who attempt to enforce it; Senate Bill 242 will end this confusion.

Senate Bill 261 – St. Mary’s County – Public Facilities Bond authorizes the St. Mary’s County Commissioners to borrow money to finance the construction, improvement, or development of public facilities in St. Mary’s County.

Senate Bill 343 – Calvert County – Public Facilities Bond authorizes the Calvert County Commissioners to borrow money to finance the construction, improvement, or development of public facilities in Calvert County.

Senate Bill 510 – Natural Resources – Commercial Fishing – Use of Haul Seines authorizes a person, if a haul seine is fished on a Friday, to empty that haul seine during the period from 12:01 a.m. on the following Saturday until sunrise on the following Monday. This law will protect non-targeted species of fish, including threatened or endangered species or fish caught out of season, by releasing them on Saturday morning. Under current law, a waterman cannot release any fish that are caught in the net, including non-targeted species, until Monday.

Senate Bill 882 – Recreational Striped Bass Fishery – Study on Harvest Data requires the Department of Natural Resources to conduct a study on methods of obtaining more accurate harvest data for the recreational striped bass fishery. As many recreational anglers are aware, this legislation is important to accurately record the number of striped bass caught in the Chesapeake Bay. Decisions about fishing limits for striped bass were made based off of outdated and limited recreational data that includes a significant amount of error. This bill is an effort to improve the accuracy of this data so that, moving forward, everyone is working for a sustainable fishery. This was a priority of the Maryland Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus.

Senate Bill 1025 – Task Force on Fishing License Penalties establishes a task force to study and make recommendations on fishing license penalty reciprocity between Maryland and the Potomac River Fisheries Commission (PRFC). Senator Bailey is confident that this task force will help the PRFC close a longstanding loophole and come up with and implement sound policies so we can protect our natural resources that are so vulnerable to poaching by individuals who have had their fishing licenses suspended or revoked elsewhere.

Other Accomplishments

In addition to these bills, Senator Bailey also worked on other issues of importance to residents of District 29:

Straight-Walled Rifle Cartridges – Senator Bailey has heard from many of Maryland’s hunters in support of allowing the use of straight-walled rifle cartridges in Maryland. The Senator worked on this issue with the Department of Natural Resources and, as a result, regulations to allow the use of these cartridges have been enacted.

House Bill 4/Senate Bill 208 requires a background check for secondary sales, rentals, and transfers of rifles and shotguns. Senator Bailey has checked thousands of hunters and sportsmen who utilized long guns in his 30 year law enforcement career, and he opposed this legislation because it will not have any meaningful impact on crime in Maryland. Senator Bailey was successful in adding an amendment to the bill to protect the Second Amendment rights of his Amish and Traditional Mennonite Constituents who are unable to undergo background checks because their religious belief against taking pictures prevents them from having photo identification.

2019 Legislative Session

In the 2019 Legislative Session, Senator Bailey secured State funding for important projects in District 29 in the Operating and Capital Budgets. Included among the most notable items in the budget are the Third Building at USMSM, which is crucial to growing our local economy and represents a critical investment in bringing expanded higher education research opportunities to Southern Maryland. The budget also included funding for a new academic building, 700-seat auditorium, and infrastructure improvements at St. Mary’s College of Maryland, as well as funding for Historic St. Mary’s City, the Southern Maryland Agricultural Development Commission (SMADC), the Airport Autonomous Systems Center at St. Mary’s County Airport, the Calvert Marine Museum, and Three Notch Theatre.

Sponsored Legislation

Senator Bailey is proud to have sponsored or co-sponsored the following bills which passed during the 2019 Legislative Session:

Senate Bill 292 – Property Tax Credit – Public Safety Officer – Definition allows volunteer emergency medical technicians to be defined as public safety officers so that they may be eligible recipients for local property tax credits. Senator Bailey takes pride in serving those who serve our community and this bill passed unanimously through the legislature.

Senate Bill 390 – Natural Resources – Sunday Hunting – St. Mary’s County allows individuals in St. Mary’s County to hunt any game bird or game mammal, except game birds, on any Sunday during the open season for that appropriate bird or mammal. The bill applies to private property or public land designated for Sunday hunting by the Department of Natural Resources. This is a huge victory for St. Mary’s County, especially our young hunters who may not have been able to hunt because of school and extracurricular activities, which typically take place on Saturdays.

Senate Bill 947 – Calvert County – Correctional Officers’ Bill of Rights establishes the rights of a correctional officer relating to the employment, investigation, and discipline of correctional officers in Calvert County.

Senate Bill 957 – Calvert County – Office of the Sheriff – Correctional Deputies authorizes the Sheriff of Calvert County to appoint correctional deputies who serve under the direction of the Sheriff and adds “correctional deputies” to statutory provisions regarding deputy sheriffs in Calvert County.

Other Accomplishments

In addition to these bills, Senator Bailey also worked on other issues of importance to residents of District 29:

Senate Bill 521 – Veteran Suicide Prevention – Comprehensive Action Plan – Senator Bailey was proud to work with Secretary Owings of the Maryland Department of Veterans Affairs and Senator Smith on this bi-partisan legislation that increases the accessibility of professional veteran health services with the hope to prevent suicides. This bill raises awareness and will provide extensive resources to our veterans who desperately need our help.

Senate Bill 311 – End of Life Option Act – Senator Bailey opposes this legislation and voted against it in the Senate. Thankfully, this bill was defeated in the Senate with a tie 23-23 vote, with one senator abstaining. Senator Bailey had numerous conversations with constituents about this bill and understands how important and personal this issue is to so many residents of District 29.