Senator Mary Beth Carozza (District 38) is vowing to work with Ocean City officials, law enforcement, her colleagues in the legislature, and the Hogan Administration to take action in response to the havoc and destruction caused by H2Oi participants in Ocean City Maryland last weekend.
“I join with Mayor Meehan and all our community stakeholders, partners in law enforcement, in the legislature, and Governor Hogan’s Administration in working together to take the necessary actions to protect our home community,” Senator Mary Beth Carozza said. “We will do whatever it takes to protect the residents and visitors of Ocean City. All options are on the table for future action.”
During the 2019 legislative session at the request of the Ocean City Mayor Rick Meehan and Police Chief Ross Buzzuro, Senator Carozza introduced legislation (Senate Bill 682) to increase the penalties for traffic violations in Special Event Zones in Worcester County for negligent driving, driving or participating in a race or speed contest, and other reckless driving. Delegate Wayne Hartman (District 38C) introduced a companion Special Event Zones bill in the House of Delegates.
The original Special Event Zone legislation, introduced by then Delegate Carozza and passed in 2018, established a Special Event Zone during motor vehicle events in Ocean City and allowed for increased fines for speeding to begin to increase public safety. However, the 2018 bill did not include increased penalties for other violations like reckless and negligent driving in a Special Event Zone. In 2018, 2,222 total citations were issued for violations in Special Event Zones, almost a third of those citations were for violations not covered in the current Special Event Zone law. Senate Bill 682 would have covered these additional violations.
The 2019 bill would have increased the penalty for traffic violations in a Special Event Zone to a $1,000 fine if convicted of negligent driving; driving or participating in a race or speed contest; or skidding, spinning of wheels, or causing excessive noise.
“The increased reckless, destructive, and illegal activity over the past H2Oi weekend demonstrated that the Maryland General Assembly should have passed our 2019 special events increased penalties bill. I will continue to work with Mayor Meehan, Police Chief Buzzuro, the Hogan Administration, and my colleagues to take all necessary actions, including legislation, to protect our home community.”