439th Maryland General Assembly Kicks Off in Annapolis - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

439th Maryland General Assembly Kicks Off in Annapolis

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ANNAPOLIS, Md. - 188 lawmakers gathered in Annapolis Wednesday, marking the start of the new legislative session. Among them, 60 new faces to Maryland's House and Senate. This session, lawmakers will be looking at several key issues like prescription drug prices and the possibility of more increases to the state's minimum wage. Both chambers will also debate legalizing recreational marijuana this year.

In the Senate, 17 fresh faces will join Maryland's Senate, including Republican Mary-Beth Carozza of District 38. Carozza says her first task at hand will deal with the Kirwan Commission, the agency responsible for public school funding,particularly in Somerset and Worcester counties.

"I'm very humbled and very grateful for this opportunity," Carozza said. "I'm going to use my voice and my position to make sure we have our voice in the State Senate and in Annapolis."

Replacing Carozza is newly-elected Republican Delegate Wayne Hartman of District 38C who plans on examining new legislation on renewable energy coming to places like Ocean City.

"I do see it being a big issue this year but there's still a lot to learn a lot to digest with all those issues," Hartman said.

And for the veterans like Republican Senator Steve Hershey of District 36, oyster management and dredging bills are issues he'll be keeping a close eye on.

"We're looking at a piece of legislation that we understand might want to put a prohibition on all oyster harvesting, which would be detrimental to our community," Hershey said.

For the Eastern Shore's last remaining Democrat, Delegate Sheree Sample-Hughes of District 37A, legislation for those with disabilities in the workplace and Marylanders struggling with Alzheimer's are of particular focus.

"This is an aging population that we have in the state and it behooves us to be prepared and to understand what resources we can use to help them," Sample-Hughes said.

Settling the issues and getting bills passed won't be easy for Eastern Shore lawmakers. Both the House and the Senate have a Democratic majority. Members of the Eastern Shore Delegation is pretty much all Republican except for Sample-Hughes. Still, lawmakers believe bipartisanship will play a key role this year in getting things done.


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