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NOW YOU KNOW: End of session home runs

The following is an op-ed piece from Delegates Kathy Szeliga and Ryan Nawrocki.

We are coming down the home stretch of the 2023 legislative session! In honor of Oriole’s Opening Day, we wanted to share some of our HOME RUNS! We each have a bill making its way through the legislative process that we predict will be signed into law.

Delegate Nawrocki’s bill allows a property tax credit for volunteer fire and rescue companies in Baltimore County on their additional lands, such as future firehouse sites. This is a great win for our brave first responders and will alleviate their budgets so that they can focus on life-saving activities rather than endless fundraising.

Delegate Szeliga’s bill will allow physicians to have a retired status. It would establish an emeritus status for individuals licensed to practice medicine. Should there be a health crisis or emergency, this will allow the Maryland Department of Health to engage retired physicians. We have a shortage of physicians and this will also let us know how many are practicing

In this session, we asked citizens to sign petitions on two separate occasions to have their voices heard. As a result, hundreds of local constituents said no to limitless speed cameras in Baltimore County, and thousands of Marylanders said no to bringing toxic waste to be discharged into the Chesapeake Bay! We thank you for raising your voice which helped us to push the envelope and get enough attention to these issues so that the powerful decision-makers listened to the people.

Another concern we pushed back on was with Baltimore County Public Schools regarding the released abysmal test scores. After writing multiple letters, we received a victory this week. We worked with the House Appropriations Chairman Ben Barnes to require the Maryland State Department of Education to explain their plans to remedy these poor outcomes and deliver financial consequences if they do not.

We have requested funding for local initiatives important to public safety and creating more green space. We expect capital funding to come through for Middle River Volunteer Fire and Rescue Company to make long overdue improvements to the communities firehouse. We also worked with Senator Jennings to provide state funding for acquiring the former C.P. Crane Power Plant facility on the Seneca River to be preserved rather than developed.

Finally, in a continued effort to protect children, we pushed hard for Delegate Grammer’s bill to be passed that closes the child pornography loophole in Maryland. Streaming child pornography is currently legal in Maryland and not a prosecutable offense. Yes, you read that correctly. Unfortunately, the law has not caught up with technology. We will continue to fight in Annapolis for this bill criminalizing the streaming of child pornography to be signed into law.

Finally, we continue to follow the proposed Lafarge development in eastern Baltimore County and the middle school redistricting process. The next Lafarge community input meeting will occur in late April, with a specific date to be determined. Also, the middle school redistricting proposed map will be presented to the Baltimore County Board of Education with a public hearing on May 17th. We know how these decisions impact you directly, and we will continue to voice your opinions not just during the session but year-round.

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