District 7A Delegates: “End of Session Home Runs”

-the following article was submitted by District 7A Delegates Kathy Szeliga and Ryan Nawrocki-

We have rounded third and crossed home plate! In honor of the start of the Orioles’ season and the end of the 2023 legislative session, we wanted to share some of our home runs.

We each have bills that made their way through the legislative process that were either signed or will be signed into law shortly. The 2023 legislative session ended on April 10 at midnight.

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 or training grounds. 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 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 you 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.

National news outlets recently covered the shocking report that 23 Baltimore City schools had zero students proficient in math. In addition, more than half of Baltimore County public high schools had two or fewer students test proficient on the state math test. After writing multiple letters, we received a victory.

We made sure that language was included in the 2024 Maryland operating budget to address the issue. The budget language requires the Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE to explain their plans to remedy these poor outcomes detailed in a report to the General Assembly by July 1, 2023. MSDE must outline the State’s plan to address math proficiency and what has been implemented in the 2023-2024 school year.

They must also include specific accountability measures that would be implemented should individual local education agencies or schools fail to improve math proficiency scores within two academic years. If not, then $50,000 of their funding will be withheld.

We requested funding for local initiatives important to public safety and creating more green space. Delegates Nawrocki and Szeliga sponsored a bond bill to support the Middle River Volunteer Fire and Rescue Company with overdue improvements to its
firehouse. A $100,000 bond initiative was approved for use in various projects, such as roof and HVAC repairs.

Both Delegates also worked to secure $250,000 toward the purchase of the land of the former C.P. Crane Power Plant Facility on the Seneca River. This will preserve this critical waterfront land rather than develop it.

Finally, in a continued effort to protect children, we pushed hard for Delegate Robin Grammer’s bill to be passed that closes the child pornography loophole in Maryland. Streaming child pornography was currently legal in Maryland and not a prosecutable
offense. Yes, you read that correctly. Unfortunately, the law had not caught up with technology. We fought in Annapolis for this bill to be passed even up until the last hour of the midnight deadline of Sine Die. Thankfully, the criminalization of the streaming of child pornography will be signed into law.

It is truly an honor and privilege to represent District 7A in the Maryland House of Delegates. Your thoughts and views are very important to us. We are grateful for the many people who take the time to call, email, and talk to us out in the community.

Please do not hesitate to contact both of us if we can ever be of assistance to you and your family. We will continue to voice your opinions not just during the session but year-round.

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