Today, another one of Senator Bailey’s sponsored bills passed out of its Senate committee. Senate Bill 336, which would establish a workgroup to study the creation of a Waterway Incident Notification System (WINS) in Maryland, received the unanimous support of the Senate’s Judicial Proceedings Committee and will go to the full Senate for its consideration next week.
Senator Bailey also had five more bills heard by Senate committees this week.
Historic St. Mary’s City Reform Act
On Tuesday, the Senator presented Senate Bill 639, the Historic St. Mary’s City Commission Reform Act of 2023, to the Senate’s Education, Energy, and the Environment Committee. This bill would make changes to the governance and structure of the Historic St. Mary’s City Commission and was introduced in response to numerous concerns that have been raised over the past several years, including an independent audit of the Commission’s operations. Senator Bailey was proud to be joined by Admiral Tim Heely, the Chair of the Commission, who spoke in support of this legislation on behalf of the Commission.
Natural Resources Bills
On Wednesday, Senator Bailey presented three more bills and a joint resolution to the Education, Energy, and the Environment Committee related to natural resources and the environment.
Senate Bill 323 is a local bill to allow full-day Sunday hunting in Calvert County. Currently, hunting on many Sundays in Calvert County must stop at 10:30 am; this bill would repeal that time limit.
Senate Bill 422 would create a Black Bass Conservation Fund. This program would be funded principally through voluntary contributions made when an individual purchases a fishing license. These additional funds would be used for black bass management, including for stocking bass, enhancing aquatic habitat, responsible bass tournaments, and supporting scientific research related to black bass conservation.
As amended, Senate Bill 611 would create an Environmental and Natural Resources Crimes Unit in the Office of the Attorney General. This unit would be staffed by specialized investigators and prosecutors who would have the authority to enforce these laws in criminal court.
Senate Joint Resolution 2 would request the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission prohibit the commercial reduction fishing of Atlantic menhaden, specifically using spotter planes and devices, in the entire Chesapeake Bay. This resolution would prohibit the large foreign vessels that are currently overharvesting the Bay’s bait fish that are the future of our fish populations in the Bay.
Yesterday, the Senate’s Budget and Taxation Committee heard two important bills that Senator Bailey has co-sponsored which would benefit the residents of District 29 and the State as a whole if passed.
The first, Senate Bill 461, the Retirement Tax Elimination Act of 2023, would create an income tax credit for Marylanders who are receiving old age or survivor Social Security benefits, or who are at least age 65 and is not employed full time. The exemption is phased in over six years to eliminate income tax for Maryland retirees by 2028. Senator Bailey agrees that taxes on all Marylanders, particularly retirees, are too high and he will continue to support legislation to provide tax relief in our State.
The second, Senate Bill 650, would create the State Disaster Recovery Fund. Currently, if a disaster occurs but is not declared by the Federal government, there is no Federal assistance for those affected. This fund would be used to provide recovery assistance to Marylanders if a disaster occurs that is not eligible for Federal funds. Senator Bailey is proud to be a co-sponsor of this legislation, which could help our residents and local jurisdictions in times of crisis, such as the recent flooding in Leonardtown.
Senatorial Scholarship Reminder
The deadline for applications for this year’s Senatorial Scholarship is now less than a month away. All applications must be received by April 7, 2023. This scholarship is available to students who permanently reside in District 29 and who plan to either attend a Maryland institution of higher education or who have been approved by the Maryland Higher Education Commission for unique major status. The application and additional information about the scholarship can be found at senatorbailey.com/scholarship. Please read the instructions carefully before applying.