End of Legislative Session 2017

POSTED ON
April 14 2017

On April 10, at midnight, the gavel came down for the final time on the 2017 Legislative session. We had some clear wins and some losses. One of the most important pieces of this process is communication with constituents. We see nearly three thousand proposed bills, and I want to share with you some of the highlights.

The St. Mary’s County Delegation focused heavily on county issues, introducing several bills dealing with a variety of issues. Many of these local bills repealed obsolete and unnecessary laws from the books, others were passed to the benefit our community.

Without a doubt, the hottest topic of the season was the “Sanctuary State Bill”. Unsurprisingly, this legislation drew extremely emotional reactions from both sides. I heard more about this issue from constituents than any other issue - and by a vast margin, citizens are solidly opposed.  

HB 1362 - Immigration- Community Trust (Maryland Sanctuary State)

This was a terrible bill and would have made Maryland a criminal sanctuary state for convicted felon illegal immigrants.  This bill expressly prohibits local law enforcement from detaining a person for whom the Department of Homeland Security has issued a detainer for reasons such as suspected terrorism, felony convictions, and gang activities.  While proponents of this legislation believe that they are protecting hardworking immigrant families and children, the stark reality is that this bill provides a legal loophole and sanctuary for convicted lawbreakers who are in our communities unlawfully.

The House passed the bill, but because of the huge amount of opposition and pressure from the public, the sponsor withdrew the bill only days before the end of session.  I voted no on this bill and was both proud and relieved that we were able to stop it.

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SJ 5 and HJ 3 - Attorney General - Powers - Maryland Defense Act of 2017, Companion Bill- HB 913

These bills gives absolute authority to the Attorney General to use taxpayer dollars to sue the federal government on any issue for any reason, covering a wide range of political disputes over immigration, the ACA, national and state security, and anything else Democrats can think of WITHOUT OVERSIGHT. Legitimate discussion can be had regarding President Trump’s agenda; however, giving this unlimited authority and money to the sole discretion of one man, will only result in that authority being used to further a personal political agenda. I disagree with playing politics with taxpayer dollars, and though I voted no, the bill passed.

SB 307 - Maryland Open Transportation Investment Decision Act - Application and Evaluation

This bill was known as the Road Kill Bill Compromise.  After the passage of the shortsighted transportation scoring system of last year, many transportation projects were immediately placed in jeopardy in St. Mary’s County and around Southern Maryland. Governor Hogan announced plans to push a repeal bill. While an actual repeal was not successful, the bill was amended to push the effective date back two years. This marks a major victory by postponing the implementation of the scoring system, pending further study. This will allow projects like the much needed Rt. 5 expansion at Abell/Moakley Rd in Leonardtown to take place.  I supported this legislation and it passed unanimously by both the Senate and the House.

HB 978 - Protect Our Schools Act of 2017

I have been an outspoken proponent of reducing the amount of standardized testing in public schools. But this bill was flawed. To “protect” Maryland’s schools against what they call the “Trump/Devos Privatization Agenda”, the General Assembly passed a bill pushed by the state teacher’s union that weakens accountability standards and creates barriers for the state to intervene in failing schools. The bill bars the State Board of Education from emphasizing student achievement when it establishes this accountability system. It limits the measures of actual school effectiveness, such as student achievement and graduation rates, to only 65% of a school’s accountability rating.  By implementing only a 65% rating, it is more difficult to actually identify schools that are failing. With this bill's passage, Maryland will have the weakest accountability system in the entire country.  According to the legislature’s own fiscal analysts, Maryland could be risking $250 million per year if these low accountability standards are found to be out of compliance with federal standards. Baltimore City schools stands to lose $51 million per year in Title 1 funding, at a time when the legislature and city leadership are requesting additional state funding for schools.

The most troubling aspect of this bill is that it traps children in failing schools for up three years before the State and local school districts are permitted to intervene. Because of these concerns I voted against this bill. The bill unfortunately passed the House and Senate, and even though Governor Hogan vetoed the legislation, his veto was overridden.

Noteworthy Bills

HB 172 - Home Act of 2017 (Section 8 Expansion)

This bill violates property rights by taking away a property owner’s choice whether to rent to Section 8 vouchers recipients or not. The bill essentially makes the Section 8 voucher recipient a protected class, and does nothing to protect the property owner from false accusations or litigation for discrimination. Further, the bill provides for penalties including hefty fines and possible jail time for a property owner.

The intention of the bill is to expand housing choices for low income people by forcing landlords in non-traditional section 8 areas to voucher receipts as tenants. I stood on the side of private property rights, and taxpaying citizens. I voted no, the bill failed in the Senate.

HB860 - Transitional Supports for Ex-Offenders Maryland Equal Access to Food Act of 2017

This bill removes the testing and treatment requirement for an individual convicted on drug charges who applies for cash and food stamp assistance. I voted no, but the bill passed.

HB1- Labor and Employment - Maryland Healthy Working Families Act

This bill mandates private employers must provide paid sick leave if they employ 15 or more, and unpaid leave for employers with 14 or fewer employees. Supporting this bill would mean having to ignore the negative effects it would have on both employers and those it seeks to benefit. This is the rule of unintended consequences.  As payroll costs rise, employers will need to trim costs in other ways, perhaps by reducing or eliminating positions, pay increases, or other voluntary benefits, or by increasing consumer costs for goods and services. Many small businesses may determine it would be best to simply close their doors, undeniably having a negative effect on employees who will lose jobs and the community who will lose the business. I believe in a strong economy, one that will enable more businesses to offer generous leave to employees. I voted no, though the bill passed.

HB 631 - Public Health - Essential Off-Patent or Generic Drugs - Price Gouging – Prohibition

This bill is a great bill that will help people struggling to pay for medication. It prohibits a manufacturer or wholesale distributor from engaging in price gouging in the sale of an essential off-patent or generic drugs.  I voted for this bill and it passed

SB 317 - More Jobs for Marylanders Act of 2017

Governor Hogan’s bill incentivizes manufacturing to return to Maryland. The bill provides a tax credit for manufacturing companies who: 1) offer job skills enhancement training, 2) increase employment opportunities, 3) employ an eligible apprentice, and 4) establishes Workforce Development Sequence Scholarships for eligible students who are enrolled in a job skills program at a community college.

The bill also allows manufacturing businesses throughout the State to claim increased expensing amounts under the State income tax by conforming State law to the maximum aggregate costs allowed under Section 179 of the Internal Revenue Code (IRC) and to claim any bonus depreciation amounts provided under Section 168(k) of IRC. I voted for this bill, and am glad to note that the legislation passed both the Senate and the House unanimously.

HB 642 - Civil Actions - Child Sexual Abuse - Statute of Limitations and Required Findings

Both the Senate and House approved SB 505/HB 642 to allow victims who were sexually abused as children to file lawsuits until they are 38 years old, 13 years later than the current law allows. For victims up to age 25, the bill allows courts to award damages against institutions that employ or supervise abusers if negligence is proven.  For older victims, the bill requires gross negligence to be proven in order to award damages. I voted for HB 642 and it passed both Chambers unanimously.

HB 1036 -  Firearms - Handgun Permit - Preliminary Approval

This bill was introduced by my fellow St. Mary’s County colleague, Delegate Deb Rey. The bill establishes a “preliminary permit” for a wear and carry permit. The State Police can determine if you are qualified under all criteria, except the training course. Upon approval for the “preliminary permit”, the applicant would have 120 days to complete the training before the permit expires. In reality, so few people are ultimately approved for a CCW permit that requiring the training course just for applying essentially mandates a financial burden as a requirement of application. This bill passed the House, but at the last minute in the Senate, it was remitted to committee- killing itI co-sponsored and voted for this legislation.

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Redistricting Reform

Marylanders of both parties largely support redistricting reform. Our state leads the country in gerrymandered districts. Congressional District 3 has been called the most gerrymandered district in the entire nation. Even former Governor Martin O’Malley has admitted Maryland needs reform. Unfortunately, once again the General Assembly has failed citizens on this very important issue.

HB 385 - Redistricting Reform Act of 2017

Governor Hogan’s redistricting reform package which would have reformed the way districts are drawn to eliminate “gerrymandering” was killed without a hearing. Disappointingly, the House Rules and Executive Nominations Committee voted to kill the bill right down party lines.

SB1023 - Independent Congressional Redistricting Commission Mid-Atlantic States Regional Districting

Instead of addressing this issue, the Majority Party seeks to appease the public by passing SB1023 which promises redistricting reform only if the following states also pass reform: New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and North Carolina.

I believe that voters should be choosing their representatives, not the other way around. Until we get serious about non-partisan reform of the redistricting process, what we will have is legislators drawing their own legislative districts.  I will continue to be an advocate for redistricting reform in Maryland.

Budget

As always, the most important, and the only Constitutional obligation of the Maryland Legislature, is passing a balanced budget.

The Maryland General Assembly has given final approval to the state's $43.5 billion budget for the next fiscal year. There are a number of notable highlights regarding the FY2018 operating budget. The budget includes no tax increases. The budget reduces the structural shortfall in FY2018 by 50% and reduces the overall structural deficit from nearly $400 million to $38 million. The Governor’s budget also included an investment of $51 million towards the Chesapeake and Atlantic Coastal Bays Trust Fund. The budget leaves a $100.2 million cushion outside of the $860.3 million “Rainy Day Fund”.

The budget also includes $6.4 billion in spending for public schools and $10 billion in Medicaid funding. State support for Maryland's public four-year colleges and universities grows by $32.7 million. Two supplemental budgets included $23.7 million in additional state funding for Baltimore public schools, and $10 million to combat the state’s opioid addiction crisis.   Locally, the budget supplied St. Mary’s County Schools with a 3.7% increase in K – 12 funding from FY17, which was the fourth highest rate increase in the state.

Education

The BOOST program has received bipartisan support for nearly a decade. The General Assembly approved a 10% increase in the BOOST program which sets aside 5.5 million for low income students to attend a school as an alternative to attending a failing school. The BOOST program is not funded at the expense or detriment of public education. Governor Hogan has made record investments in K-12 public education. Over the last three budgets, he has devoted $12.5 billion K-12 funding. He has also added $334 million dollars into the Capital Budget devoted specifically to school construction. Now, nearly two-thirds of our Capital Budget is invested in education.

Governor Hogan believes, as I do, that all children deserve the best education possible – no matter where they grow up. The BOOST funding, along with Governor Hogan’s other innovative policies on education, give children and their families options they didn’t have before.

My Bills

HB 888 - Income Tax - Expensing of Business Property & Depreciation, Recoupling With Federal Law

In keeping with my pro-business stance, I once again introduced legislation that would allow all Maryland businesses to accelerate depreciation for newly purchased equipment up to $500,000, the maximum expensing allowed under the Section 179 of the Internal Revenue Code (IRC).   This bill would encourage business growth and expansion by freeing up capital. Unfortunately, the committee took no action and the bill died without a vote.

HB 911 - Motor Fuel Tax Rates- Consumer Price Index Adjustment- Repeal

Since 2013, the gas tax has been linked to the Consumer Price Index, meaning gas tax increases with inflation. Each and every year you get an automatic tax increase, and legislators are not required to vote on it. I believe this is wrong. I believe tax increases should be carefully considered along with all pertinent factors, and that legislators should have to vote on it.  Additionally, it puts many Maryland businesses at a disadvantage to other states as gas prices continue to rise. Though I proposed to change this to a study to determine the effects, the committee took no action and the bill died without a vote.

HB 176 - Motor Vehicle Registration - Exception for Golf Carts - Golden Beach & Patuxent Knolls

The Homeowner’s Association of Golden Beach requested this legislation to enable residents to drive golf carts within the boundaries of the community. This legislation received the Sheriff’s support and BOC.  I was happy to introduce the bill and pleased that it passed.

HB 1599 - Nursing Homes - Partial Payment for Services Provided

I was asked once again by Health Facilities Assoc. of MD (HFAM) to introduce a bill to require the State of Maryland to remit a partial payment for care and services already given to individuals who are waiting on Medicaid eligibility determinations in excess of 90 days. The bill was amended in the Senate and unfortunately did not pass.  

 

St. Mary’s Delegation Bills

The St. Mary’s County Delegation had one of the most successful legislative years in recent history.  The Delegation passed following bills: 

HB0892/SB736 - Bond borrowing authority.

HB0914/SB735 - Grants the BoCC oversight when METCOM seeks to borrow money.

HB1055/SB737 - Bonds and Other Evidences of Indebtedness. This bill modifies the County debt limit and specifies that METCOM’s debt is not to be assumed by the County.

HB0679/SB395 - This bill ensures the ability of METCOM to attract and retain quality employees by making certain positions contractual.

HB0108/SB0104 - Regulation of Animals (Dogs) allows Animal Control to administer registration of dog tags, rather than the County tax Collector.

HB 526/HB 538 - Enables art galleries and salons to offer 2 drinks to clients.

The following bills were repealed and superseded by state law:

HB0109/SB1902- Farm Fences – Repeal

HB0163/SB162 - Mobile Home Parks - Repeal

HB0187/SB103 - Foxes and Hounds - Repeal of Provisions

HB0207/SB140 - Local Plumbing Code - Repeal

HB0208/SB163 - Electricians and Board of Electrical Examiners - Repeal

HB 209/SB124 - Vocational Training Facility - Repeal             

HB0243/SB394 - Auditing Requirements - Repeal

HB0404/SB234 – Land Records- Repeal

HB0431/SB297 - Tax Exemptions - Repeal of Local Provisions

HB0194/SB101 - Licensing and Operation of Amusement - Repeal

Ethics

This legislative session was unfortunately blighted by several indictments. The 90 day session opened up with the revelation of corruption between 2 Prince Georges County Delegates and that county’s Liquor Board. Another Baltimore City candidate that was nominated to fill an open Delegate seat was arrested for campaign fraud only a day before he was to be sworn in.  Yet as session wound down, news hit of further allegations of corruption which resulted in a Senator being led off the Senate Floor by Federal Officers. These incidents do nothing but further erode the public trust of policy makers and government.  The Governor introduced several pieces of legislation to enhance transparency and tighten the code of ethics governing the legislative body.

HB 897/ SB 684- Liquor Board Transparency Act 2017

This legislation requires prospective liquor board members receive a criminal history background check, and subjects these board members to State ethics requirements and the authority of the State Ethics Commission. These bills were killed in committee.

HB 879 - Public Integrity Act of 2017

This bill transfers the authority to administer the State Public Ethics Law for members of the General Assembly from the Joint Committee on Legislative Ethics (JCLE) to the State Ethics Commission. Additionally, it adds a one-year “cooling off” period before a former legislator can act as a lobbyist, places additional restrictions on registered lobbyists, alters specified filing requirements for legislators and specified officials who are married to registered lobbyists, and establishes additional conflict of interest rules for members of the General Assembly.  I voted for this and it passed unanimously in both the House and the Senate.

HB 438/ SB253- Legislative Transparency Act of 2017

This bill requires the General Assembly to make available live streaming and archived video of the Senate and House meetings, including Floor proceedings, and voting sessions (Committee hearings and audio of Floor proceedings currently available) The bill also requires additional disclosures and specified reports available to the public online.  I support this measure, but unfortunately, these bills did not move and both died in committee.

 

Now that the 2017 Legislative Session is over and in the books, I’m grateful that I heard from all of you- by phone, testimony, and emails - lots of emails! It is my desire that we keep this dialog open for the rest of the year and into the 2018 convening of the General Assembly.  My Annapolis office will remain open and staffed and will continue to serve as my legislative office.  So please feel free to contact me if you have a concern or a need that I or my staff can address.  I hope you have a wonderful summer, and if you see me around, please stop and say hello.

Warm regards,

Matt_Signature.png

Matt Morgan
State Delegate 29A

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Maryland Sanctuary State Bill

POSTED ON
March 23 2017

Monday, March 20th was ‘crossover’ day, when bills must cross from the originating House to the other side. A final push to pass bills from the House of Delegates to the Senate resulted in a long day of debating and voting on the Floor.  One very controversial bill was passed unilaterally out of the House of Delegates by the majority party despite serious concerns and objections by Republicans. 

HB 1362- Immigration- Community Trust Act (Maryland Sanctuary State)  
The House of Delegates voted yesterday to push legislation to the Senate that will provide a sanctuary for convicted lawbreakers who are in our communities unlawfully.

For those that are inclined to support this bill for humanitarian reasons, I thought I’d take the time to explain just what this bill does and how bad this bill is.  This bill is not about protecting families, undocumented or otherwise. This bill will tie the hands of local and state law enforcement to get these criminals off our streets. Case in point: Immigrations and Customs recently released a report of the jurisdictions which have released from custody individuals who were sought for questioning by Homeland Security. Between January 29th and February 3rd, three people who were asked to be detained by Homeland Security were released. On that list, from Montgomery, Prince Georges and Baltimore Counties are a drug dealer and two people charged with assault. All three released back into the community. These are our communities. So let’s be clear, this bill expressly prohibits local law enforcement from detaining a person upon whom the Department of Homeland Security has issued an I-247D detainer. Here are the only reasons for which this detainer would be issued:

1) is suspected of terrorism or poses a danger to national security MD_Sanctuary_.jpeg

2) is a member/ participant in a street gang or organized crime

3) has been convicted of a felony other than illegal immigration

4) has been convicted of an aggravated felony

5) has been convicted of a significant misdemeanor as determined by DHS policy

6) has been convicted of 3 or more misdemeanors, not traffic or immigration status

I have serious questions as to why the Maryland General Assembly is determined to protect terrorists, felons and gang members at the expense of Maryland citizens.

After the passage of the bill, Governor Hogan said, “The Maryland House of Delegates tonight passed an outrageously irresponsible bill that will make Maryland a sanctuary state and endanger our citizens. This legislation would interfere with our state and local law enforcement's ability to cooperate with federal law enforcement authorities.” The Governor has promised to veto this bill and I support the decision fully. However, we want this bill killed in the Senate.  Please sign the petition below to voice your objection.

Sign the Petition to make your voice heard

Warm regards,

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Matt Morgan
State Delegate 29A

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In-State Tuition, who qualifies

POSTED ON
March 15 2017

During the Legislative session there are issues and bills that often fall right along party lines due to a fundamental difference in political ideology. However, there are also times when those differences are irrelevant, as both parties come together to address issues that are important to all. In this update I will highlight a couple of issues in which I opposed progressive ideology, and a couple of issues where both parties came together.

HB 224-Higher Education - AmeriCorps Program Participants - In-State Tuition

If you have or will soon have a child entering college in Maryland, soon it will be a little harder for your college student to be accepted into Maryland Universities.

Maryland Universities were built for Marylanders with the mission that they would be easily accessible and affordable.  In my opinion they are neither, and it’s getting worse.  Last week the House passed HB224 which waives the 12 month residency requirement for a student to receive in-state tuition for an individual who has completed the Americorps program.  In-state tuition rate at University of Maryland is $8,481 while out of state tuition is $31,672- the difference results in a benefit of $23,191.  When asked how the University would make up the loss in revenue, the fiscal notes say an institution can adjust admissions to avoid any significant loss of tuition revenue.  What this means is they will bring in more out-of-state students while accepting only a certain number of in-state students.  This will obviously lead to fewer slots open for Maryland citizens wanting to further their education. I hear from students all the time who were born and raised in Maryland, graduated from a Maryland high school and are very well qualified enter a college or university only to get rejected from attending a Maryland University.  Americorps students maybe a worthy group to give some type of discount to, the amount and type of which can and should be fleshed out while also protecting Maryland students.  I do believe that as Maryland Colleges and Universities are overwhelmingly funded by Maryland taxpayers, Marylanders should get the preference.   

While I am always in favor of continuing education, it must be made clear that this legislation will result in Maryland students being turned away from attending Maryland institutes of Higher Learning. I oppose this and I spoke out on the House Floor against this.

To read more about this bill: GOP delegates fight in-state tuition rates for non-resident volunteers

HB 691-Corporations and Associations - Annual Reports - Filing Fees (Filing Fee Fairness Act of 2017)

This anti- business legislation is misnamed Filing Fee Fairness Act of 2017. The bill has nothing to do with fairness, the only aim of this bill is to increase the filing fee of businesses based on taxable assets. This bill will raise the fee that specified business entities must pay just for filing an annual report with the State Department of Assessments and Taxation. If passed, this legislation could raise the amount businesses pay to file with the State from $300 per year up to $4000. Unsurprisingly, Maryland businesses are strongly opposed to this legislation. This is another misguided and irresponsible bit of legislation which will do nothing but hurt the businesses that provide jobs and taxes to the State. If the genuine aim is to promote businesses and fairness, why not eliminate the filing fee altogether? I oppose this bill and voted NO.

To read more about this bill: HB 691

Bipartisan Support for Governor Hogan's Fight against Sex Trafficking

HB632/SB308: Protecting Victims of Sex Trafficking Act of 2017, was unanimously passed by both chambers earlier this week. In an often politically contentious session, where many issues come down to party lines, it is refreshing to see bipartisan support and collaboration to address the very serious issues, such as this one. l am proud to have co-sponsored this legislation and cast a YES vote.

To read more about this bill: HB 632

Clean Water Commerce Act Of 2017 SB 314/ HB 417
Both Chambers of Maryland General Assembly Vote To Approve Important Legislation to Assist with Chesapeake Bay Cleanup Efforts 

The Maryland State Senate Unanimously Approved The Clean Water Commerce Act Of 2017 By A Vote Of 46-0. (“Senate Bill 314,” Maryland General Assembly, 3/6/17)

The Maryland House of Delegates Approved The Clean Water Commerce Act Of 2017 By A Near Unanimous Vote Of 137-1. (“House Bill 417,” Maryland General Assembly, 3/10/17)

Scholarships
Scholarships are available! If you are interested in applying for a scholarship, please visit http://www.voteformattmorgan.com/scholarship or contact my office at 410-841-3170 or by email at matt.morgan@house.state.md.us


Warm regards,

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Matt Morgan
State Delegate 29A

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Taxes and Immigration

POSTED ON
March 03 2017

We have passed the halfway mark! I’d like to take a moment to update you on the legislation that I presented this week. I welcome your thoughts and feedback.

HB 888- Income Tax - Expensing of Business Property and Bonus Depreciation - Recoupling With Federal LawSmall_Business_writeoff.jpg

In keeping with my pro-business stance, I once again introduced legislation that would allow businesses to accelerate depreciation for newly purchased equipment up to $500,000 in line with Federal law.

  • The small business impact is great because it encourages purchasing of new equipment and allows the business to free up more cash immediately allowing them to reinvest back in their company and to have more cash to hire more people. 
  • Currently our state is not as competitive as neighboring area because all neighboring areas. West Virginia, Pennsylvania and Delaware are all coupled with the Federal law. This puts Maryland in an uncompetitive position for increasing business growth and leaves Maryland businesses behind.

Shawn Salta, VP of DirectMail, based in Calvert County came to Annapolis to testify on behalf of this bill. Shawn spoke about the regressive tax policies of Virginia which resulted in his company making the decision to relocate to Maryland. He very clearly highlighted the need for better policy over all that would truly make Maryland and keep Maryland “open for business”. I thank him for his testimony, and his time.

Click here for more information on this bill.

HB 911- Motor Fuel Tax Rates- Consumer Price Index Adjustment- RepealGaxTaxPump.jpg

Since 2013, the gas tax has been linked to the Consumer Price Index, meaning gas tax increases with inflation. Each and every year you get an automatic tax increase that no one had to vote for. I believe this is wrong. I believe tax increases should be carefully considered along with all pertinent factors, and that legislators should have to vote on it.

The effects of this automatic tax increase puts our state at a competitive disadvantage to neighboring states. An example is nearby Dahlgren, VA where the average cost for gas is $1.97 per gallon yet gas in Mechanicsville, MD is $2.30 per gallon.  On Sunday mornings the Walmart across the bridge is filled with cars with Maryland license plates, why? The price of fuel is so much cheaper, folks are going to fuel up, and staying to do their shopping.

Having the gas tax linked to CPI is a problem that will only get worse over time.  It’s time to cancel it.

Click here for more information on this bill.

Click here to see how Maryland gas tax compares to other states.


You won't believe this one.  HB 1362 
Maryland Law Enforcement and Governmental Trust Act sanctuaryMaryland.png

This bill is a pro- illegal immigration bill specifically designed to protect persons who are here unlawfully.

The bill would prohibit Maryland law enforcement from turning over to the federal authorities illegal immigrants who have been arrested in Maryland for a crime. I believe illegal immigration hurts Americans. With limited financial resources, I believe Maryland should focus on helping our own. I oppose this bill.

Click here for more information on this bill.

Good Reads

Hogan-Rutherford Administration Declares State of Emergency, Announces Major Funding to Combat Heroin and Opioid Crisis in Maryland

GOP legislators offer pension reforms

Scholarships

Scholarships are available! If you are interested in applying for a scholarship, please visit http://www.voteformattmorgan.com/scholarship or contact my office at 410-841-3170 or by email at matt.morgan@house.state.md.us

Warm regards,

Matt_Signature.png

Matt Morgan
State Delegate 29A

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State Authorizes Power to Sue Trump

POSTED ON
February 24 2017

Last week the House and Senate took up a joint resolution, SJ 5 and HJ 3 for the express purpose of transferring authority from the Governor and the General Assembly to the Office of the Attorney General to sue the federal government at his sole will and discretion.

Supporters of this resolution claim that this is necessary because of what they are calling President Trump’s “Muslim ban”. It is interesting to note, as my colleague and the House Minority Leader, Delegate Nic Kipke pointed out on the House Floor, that under Governor O’Malley, Maryland did not consider suing the federal government when President Obama blocked travel from Haiti after that country suffered a devastating earthquake.

It is also important to clarify that this bill gives absolute authority to use taxpayer dollars to sue the federal government on any issue for any reason, covering a wide range of political disputes over immigration, the ACA, national and state security, and anything else Attorney General Frosh can think of- WITHOUT OVERSIGHT.

What I found perhaps the most interesting is that the resolution’s fiscal note clearly stated that the office of the Attorney General could carry out its implementation with existing funds- meaning no additional money would have to be allotted. Less than  3 hours after passing the resolution on the House Floor, I sat in committee and heard discussion on HB 913, a bill to give the Office of the Attorney General a million dollars in additional funds to implement the resolution. That’s being disingenuous with your tax dollars!

Legitimate discussion can be had regarding President Trump’s agenda, however giving the vast authority and money to the sole discretion of one man, without oversight into perpetuity will result only in that authority being used to further a personal political agenda. I disagree with playing politics with taxpayer dollars, and I voted NO.

The hearing for HB913 starts at exactly the one hour mark.  Watch the Committee hearing

ALERT- Road Kill Bill Repeal Has a Hearing

Governor Hogan’s emergency legislation to repeal legislative mandated scoring system which threatens 66 top priority transportation projects, including several important roads projects in St. Mary’s County had a hearing on February 22, in the Senate Budget and Taxation Committee. Please take the time to call or email the members of the committee and tell them to vote YES on the repeal.

 Local Interest- Governor’s Office of Minority Affairs to Connect Small Businesses in Southern Maryland to State Contracting Opportunities.

ANNAPOLIS, MD – Maryland procurement professionals will help small businesses in Southern Maryland connect to state contracting opportunities during the Ready, Set, GROW! Procurement Connection Workshop on Tuesday, February 28, 2017. The Governor’s Office of Minority Affairs is conducting the free workshop at the Southern Maryland Higher Education Center from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. 

For more information, contact the Minority Affairs’ Small Business Outreach Manager Eduardo Hayden at 410-697-9606 or eduardo.hayden@maryland.gov.

Scholarships

Scholarships are available! If you are interested in applying for a scholarship, please visit http://www.voteformattmorgan.com/scholarship or contact my office at 410-841-3170 or by email at matt.morgan@house.state.md.us

Warm regards,

Matt_Signature.png

Matt Morgan
State Delegate 29A

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Taxes, Guns and Legislation

POSTED ON
February 10 2017

 

bad_green_energy.jpg

Last week you heard that the Legislature would be taking up the issue of whether or not to override the Governor’s veto of the green energy bill- the  Sunshine Tax. 

As expected, the veto was overridden which makes it highly probable that your energy bill will increase. When the bill was introduced last year, SMECO wrote in a letter of opposition, “The additional requirements specified in HB1106 will lead to higher power costs and higher bills for our customer- members. The annual cost impact outlined in this bill would result in a 24% increase over current residential consumer costs. An average residential customer who uses 1250 kilowatt hours per month currently pays $45.93 a year on RPS compliance. The new RPS mandate will mean customers will pay $56.77 a year on compliance.”

This is what proponents of the bill are calling a victory. I disagree and I voted against overturning the veto.  While I agree with the implementation of green energy sources, I do not agree with mandating that these policies be funded by raiding the wallet of constituents through higher utility rates.  Simply put, this bill means "Rates up and Jobs Down." 

Campus Gun Free Zones

gun_free_zone.jpgAnother serious issue that is coming back from last year is the proposed ban on guns at college campuses. We all want our kids to be safe wherever they go, but the fact is, it’s an unsafe world. Do not make the mistake of believing that making an area a “gun free zone” will stop a deranged gunman from entering. What the bill very effectively does, however is turn everyone in the area into potential victims.

The bill does not provide an exemption to law abiding citizens who have lawfully qualified for and was issued a conceal carry permit from the Maryland State Police.

The Republican caucus and I offered several common sense amendments to this bill, including requiring armed security at Maryland campuses and allowing an exemption for women who have a protective order and a concealed carry permit to continue to defend themselves - unsurprisingly they were all voted down.  I oppose this bill because I believe that in an unsafe world, in a potentially deadly incident, anywhere- there are three types of people, bad guys with guns, good guys with guns and victims. I will not support legislation that seeks to change that equation by moving Maryland licensed gun owners (good guys) into the victims’ category.

My Legislation

I have introduced the following legislation. Please feel free to send me feedback on these, or if you would like to help support passage of these bills, send me a letter of support to be submitted to the committee that the bill is being heard in.

HB 888 - Income Tax - Expensing of Business Property and Bonus Depreciation - Recoupling With Federal Law

This bill re-couples accelerated depreciation with the federal under section 179. Currently MD law allows a mere fraction of the amount allowed by the federal. Because of the time-value of money, there is a significant tax benefit to the company for using accelerated depreciation methods. By freeing up cash flow and reducing the effective cost of the asset, it encourages companies to buy more equipment, all else being equal. Recouping the cost of equipment or asset faster is beneficial in that it encourages businesses to invest in more needed equipment or other investment into the growth of their businesses. Recouping that money frees up capital for investment.

HB 911- Motor Fuel Tax Rates - Consumer Price Index Adjustment - Repeal

This bill repeals the requirement that fuel tax rates be adjusted in future years based on growth in the Consumer Price Index. Since 2013, the gas tax increases exponentially, without the benefit of a vote. I believe that not only is this fundamentally wrong, but it puts many Maryland businesses at a severe disadvantage in places where motorists can go fuel up across the border.

HB 176- Motor Vehicle Registration - Exception for Golf Carts - Golden Beach Patuxent Knolls

Golf_cart_sign.png
This bill was requested by the community and would authorize the St. Mary’s Board of Commissioners to create a golf cart zone within the boundaries of the community. I spoke with and received the support of the Sheriff, the Golden Beach Civic Association and the St. Mary’s County Commissioners.

Other Legislation

I will be introducing two additional bills. The first is a study on welfare fraud and the other is a bill that I carried last year, to require the State to pay nursing homes within 90 days for services already provided.

Do you have a question or concern about these, or any legislation that is before us this session? Please take the time to contact me by phone or email. I appreciate hearing from you about the things you care about. You can reach my office at 410-841-3170 or by email at matt.morgan@house.state.md.us

Scholarships
Scholarships are available! If you are interested in applying for a scholarship, please visit http://www.voteformattmorgan.com/scholarship or contact my office at 410-841-3170

Warm regards,

Matt_Signature.png

Matt Morgan
State Delegate 29A

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Survey and Sunshine Tax

POSTED ON
January 27 2017

I’d like to take the time to send you a quick update. Today I have two items for your consideration: a quick legislative survey and an update on the “sunshine” tax veto override. Thanks for taking the time to read and participate.

Survey
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I would like to know where you stand on several key issues like taxes, spending, Obamacare, and transportation.

Please take a moment to fill out a very short informal survey that will be very helpful as this year’s session gets underway.

Link to our opinion survey:  http://www.voteformattmorgan.com/voterpoll

(Survey not at taxpayer’s expense)

If you have other areas of concern that is not included in the survey, or would like to discuss any issue further, please email my office at matt.morgan@house.state.md.us

 

Veto Override Vote Delayed

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The anticipated vote to overturn Governor Hogan’s veto of HB 921/ SB 1106 the “sunshine tax bill” has been delayed for the third week.  If the veto override comes up I will be voting with and supporting the same stance as Governor Hogan.

Upholding the veto of this bill is and should be important to every citizen in the State. It has been billed as a job creating legislation, however because of the staggering costs of solar and wind, taxpayers would have to finance the construction of facilities, subsidize them to keep them operational, and be rewarded only with higher energy costs long into the future, thus negating any positives gained by these jobs.

A few things to consider are:

    • Solar and wind endeavors continue to be a heavily subsidized industry, often still failing spectacularly as we have seen with Solyndra, the Silicon Valley startup that collapsed, leaving taxpayers liable for $535 million in federal guarantees. Closer to home, in 2011 BP Solar closed its plant in Frederick  leaving the business altogether because it can't make money, despite huge subsidies. 
    • Solar power is about three times as expensive as electricity produced by natural gas, ensuring that Maryland taxpayers are forking over more money to provide energy to state agencies.
    • Much of the clean energy business is mandated by government standards, and is still dependent on government subsidies through tax credits and special financing.” This leads to higher rates paid by every ratepayer in MD. Private homes, small businesses, hospitals and charities will all be asked to fork over more money just to keep the lights on.
    • Ratepayers are already on the hook for $126 million for renewable energy credits in 2015, and this legislation will continue to increase that number each year.
    • Maryland relies heavily purchasing renewable energy credits from other states, sending taxpayer dollars to Virginia, Pennsylvania and others, and providing no returns, creating zero jobs, and no benefit to Maryland Citizens.

I cannot in good conscience place this hefty burden on the taxpayer. As I have stated above I will oppose the effort to override this veto and will vote to uphold the Governor’s veto.

Scholarships

Scholarships are available! If you are interested in applying for a scholarship, please visit http://www.voteformattmorgan.com/scholarship or contact my office at 410-841-3170

Warm regards,

Matt_Signature.png

Matt Morgan
State Delegate 29A

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We are off and running

POSTED ON
January 16 2017

Last Wednesday marked the convening of the Maryland General Assembly for the 2017 legislative session. While there is a lot of chatter about negative politics being expected this session, I am going to stay focused on the things that are important to our community in beautiful St. Mary’s County.

One of the first things we will tackle, after the pomp and circumstance of opening day, are veto overrides. thumbs_down.jpgGovernor Hogan vetoed HB 1106- Clean Energy Jobs- renewable energy portfolio standard, or RPS. Under existing law, Maryland is a national leader in achieving RPS goals. Seeking to explore and create renewable energy sources is a worthy goal, however, I am in agreement with the Governor that HB 1106 places a hefty tax increase on every electricity ratepayer in Maryland, reaching $196 million by 2020. While many believe that this legislation will lead to growth of renewable energy in Maryland, the data does not prove out. Over the past 5 years, $186 million in renewable energy credits paid by Maryland rate payers went to electric generators out of state, producing no economic benefit to Maryland jobs or companies. I will not support this burden on Marylanders, and will vote to uphold the Governor’s veto.

Another looming issue for those of us in rural areas, is the effort to repeal what we are calling the “Road Kill Bill”. 
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Passed last year, HB 1013 effectively kills every roads project that does not score high on a scoring formula that heavily favors mass transportation and populated areas. As we are all aware, in 2016 Governor Hogan pledged 33.3 million for much needed and long awaited road improvements in our county, all of these projects are in jeopardy:

MD 5, Point Lookout Road; MD 5, Camp Brown Road to Ranger Station

MD 5, Point Lookout Road, MD 5 at Abel Street/ Moakley Street MD 234, Budd’s Creek Road; MD 234 Bridge over Gilbert Swamp run (Charles County)

The Governor has said that the repeal of this legislation is a top priority. I will work with my colleagues and the Governor to fully repeal this legislation.

According to the latest round of revised revenue projections, Maryland has a $400 million deficit, a problem that will require deep cuts in the next budget. I look forward to bi-partisan efforts to create a budget that addresses this problem in a way that makes fiscal sense, and protects the taxpayer.

Some hot issues are expected to be resurrected this session. You can count on me to oppose assisted suicide, mandatory paid sick leave, and any restrictive gun control measure.

As always, I welcome your thoughts and concerns on any given issue. Please contact me at my office by phone or by email, I look forward to the discussion. 

Warm regards,

Matt_Signature.png

Matt Morgan
State Delegate 29A

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Southern Maryland Tax Comparison

POSTED ON
April 21 2016

If you ever wanted to compare tax rates between the Southern Maryland counties here is an easy to follow chart.

Tax

Charles County Rate

FY 2016

St. Mary’s County Rate

FY 2016

Calvert County Rate

FY 2016

Real Property

$1.141

$0.8523

$0.892

Personal Property

$2.8525

$2.1308

$2.23

Emergency Services

Fire and Rescue Real Property:

$0.064

Fire and Rescue Personal Property:

$0.16

Fire:

Varies by election district

Real Property Rates Range from $0.024 to $0.056

Rescue:

Varies by election district

Real Property Rates Range from $0.008 to $0.017

Support Services:

Real Property Rate $0.016

Not authorized

Income

3.03%

3%

2.8%

Recordation

$5 per $500

$4 per $500

$5 per $500

Transfer

0.5%

1%

Not authorized

Admissions and Amusement

10%

2%

1%

Hotel Rental

5%

5%

5%

Trailer Park

$15 per month per unit

10%

20% of gross receipts

Development Excise

Single-family Dwelling:

$14,095

Townhouses:

$14,210

Multifamily Dwelling:

$11,930

Not authorized

Single-family detached dwelling:

School: $7,800

Recreation: $1,300

Road:

$3,500

Solid Waste:

$350

(Rates vary for other types of dwellings and for business property.)

Development Impact Fee

Not imposed

Schools:

$3,375

Parks:

$675

Roads:

$450

Not authorized

Electricity

Not authorized

1.25% per kilowatt hour

Not authorized

Natural Gas

Not authorized

1.25%

Not authorized

Fuel Oil

Not authorized

1.25% per gallon

Not authorized

Liquefied Petroleum

Not authorized

1.25% per pound

Not authorized

Coal Severance

Not imposed

Not authorized

Not authorized

Food and Beverage

Not imposed

Not authorized

Not authorized

Special Taxing Districts

Not imposed

16 small districts exist

2 districts exist

 

Scholarships

If you live in District 29A in the Northern portion of St. Mary's County and are pursuing a degree, you may qualify to receive an award from the Office of Delegate Matt Morgan. You must be enrolled in a Maryland Institute of Higher Education, or have an approved “unique major” status from MHEC to attend an out of state school. To apply for “unique major status” please visit www.mhec.state.md.us

You can obtain the instructions and materials for this year’s scholarships at www.voteformattmorgan.com under the tab “scholarships”, or by calling the office at 410-841-3170

Complete Scholarship applications must be postmarked by May 1, 2016.

Contact My Office

For legislative and constituent issues please contact myself or my legislative assistant, Louisa Baucom at 410-841-3170/ 301-858-3170

Toll free 800-492-7122 ext. 3170

Or by email at matt.morgan@house.state.md.us

Have a great weekend,

Matt_Signature.png
Matt Morgan
State Delegate 29A

 

 

 

 

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End of Session Letter 2016

POSTED ON
April 12 2016

One of my top priorities is to communicate directly with you and to keep you informed. The 2016 Legislative Session saw nearly three thousand proposed bills, and legislators heard from many citizens; by phone, testimony, and emails - lots of emails! We had some clear wins, as well as some losses.  I’d like to take the time to provide you with a brief overview of the past session while outlining some of the top issues and the positions I took. If you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact our office, I would be happy to answer your questions.

Of course the biggest issue is always the Budget. I’ll break this down into two parts: The Operational Budget and the Capital Budget.

Operational Budget

Passing a balanced budget is the only Constitutional requirement of the Maryland General Assembly; all other legislation, while maybe necessary, is really optional.  In the past, this task often comes with a protracted fight, as both sides of the aisle defend their legislative priorities.  The Maryland General Assembly approved Gov. Larry Hogan’s $42 billion operating budget, a bipartisan plan that moved through the General Assembly with greater ease than any other spending blueprint in years. For the first time in decades, because of the amount of job creation, there was no BRFA (Budget Reconciliation and Financing Act) which is used to move money around in order to pass a balanced budget on paper. To give an example of how much better Maryland’s economy is doing under Governor Hogan’s leadership, for the first time in history, funding dedicated specifically for the Chesapeake Bay Restoration fund is not being diverted to the general fund. Current budget forecasts indicate that these cash balances are sufficient to balance the general fund budget through fiscal 2020 while maintaining a 5.0% rainy day fund balance.   This budget provides a record amount of money for education and a 5.4% increase for community colleges across the state.  The budget is balanced without depending on tax increases and this is made possible by the 45,000 more people working this year than one year ago.

St. Mary’s County

Governor Hogan was once again very good to rural areas of Maryland.  St. Mary's County will receive a 2.1% increase in local aid, a 1.5% increase in funding for K - 12 schools, along with libraries and community colleges, and almost $2 million in highway user revenue for local roads. 

While there certainly is room for improvement, I believe that this operational budget puts Maryland on a better fiscal path and I cast a YES vote.

Capital Budget

St. Mary’s County will receive more capital funding than any other Southern Maryland county; we will receive a total of $7,431,000 for projects, including the University System of Maryland Office, Southern Maryland Regional Higher Education Facility; will provide funds to continue design of a third building on the Southern Maryland Higher Education Center Campus to provide academic research laboratory space for $3,061,000.

My Legislation:


HB 488 - Property Tax - Appeals

I introduced legislation that would require SDAT to process tax appeal applications on new home purchases within 90 days after receiving all the necessary paperwork. This bill will ensure home buyers get a timely response for property tax appeals.  The bill Passed.

HB 1417 - Charles and St. Mary’s County - Deer Management Permit - Firearms

I introduced this bill at the request of both the St. Mary’s and Charles County’s Farm Bureaus, as a clarification of legislation passed last year.   The legislation will permit Deer Management permit holders in Charles and St. Mary’s counties to use a shotgun or breech loading center fire rifle approved by the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to control the deer population and to prevent crop damage, within specific parameters.  The bill Passed.

HB - 1811 - Maryland Medical assistance program - Nursing homes - Partial Payment

This bill would allow the State to remit payment to nursing home facilities on pending Medicaid approvals. The bill was requested by health care facilities that have provided services, but are unable to get timely reimbursement due to the ongoing problem of backlogged Medicaid long term care approvals. This bill passed the House unanimously, but unfortunately was drastically amended in the Senate Finance committee, which now only requires DHR to report to the General Assembly its actions to resolve the issues and clear the backlog. The bill Passed.

HB 40 - Personal Property tax – Business - Exemption

For the second year, I introduced the personal property tax exemption for St. Mary’s small businesses. This legislation would eliminate the personal property tax on small businesses and incentivize new businesses to open in our community, as well as return funds to the business owners who worked for it. This bill was undercut locally by the county commissioners who voted against this measure 2 – 3, only ten months after originally supporting the idea. We received a letter of non-support from the county commissioners before the bill hearing; without local support the bill died in committee. 

The Committee arguments over HB 40 and fights on many floor amendments over the reduction of personal property taxes lead to the creation of HB 69.  HB 69 is a state wide bill introduced by a vice-chair of the Ways and Means committee.  This bill allows businesses with 15 people or less to receive a 50% tax credit on personal property.  My goal is to eliminate personal property taxes and this is a step in the right direction. I voted YES for HB 69.

 St. Mary’s Delegation Legislation

As part of the St. Mary’s County Delegation, legislation was introduced at the request of the County Board of Commissioners. These included HB 1062 - Alcoholic Beverages - Permits, Training and Prohibited Acts, four repeal bills to clean up the books of archaic codes (HB 890, HB 972 and HB 1092), and HB 917 - St. Mary’s County - Property Tax Credit - New or Expanding Businesses. These bills passed.

Top Legislative issues of 2016:

One of the most important and controversial bills heard this session was HB 1013 - the Democrats’ power grab in response to Governor Hogan’s Transportation Plan.  The bill would implement a formulaic “scoring system” to score transportation projects across the state, taking out the currently used practice of input from the counties as to what their needs are in regards to road improvements. This also removes any ability for the public to voice their concerns.

How could this affect St. Mary’s County?

In 2016, Governor Hogan pledged $33.3 million for much needed and long awaited road improvements. These include:

  • MD 5, Point Lookout Road; MD 5, Camp Brown Road to Ranger Station
  • MD 5, Point Lookout Road, MD 5 at Abel Street/ Moakley Street
  • MD 234, Budd’s Creek Road; MD 234 Bridge over Gilbert Swamp run (Charles County)

 The way the bill is written, it would potentially pull back funding for roads projects going back to 2014, which will put the above projects in possible jeopardy.  Of course, I stood in opposition to this bill several times, and I supported Governor Hogan’s position on this bill and proudly voted NO. 

Felon Voting - Veto Override

When the Governor issued his veto last year, he argued that felons should be expected to serve out their complete sentence before being given the right to vote again. I agree with Governor Hogan and believe that this legislation is very misleading - for instance, did you know that in Maryland ex-felons do have the right to vote?  The General Assembly passed that legislation in 2007. This bill gives the right to vote back to people still serving a sentence. This means that if a person has been paroled, or even on house arrest, though they are still serving a condition of sentencing, they will be able to vote. The fact is that when someone is on parole or house arrest, they are not finished with their sentence; parole and house arrest are a period of completion for a sentence and it doesn't mean the sentence was shortened. For this reason I opposed the override and stood with the Governor.  I voted NO.

HB404 - End of Life with Options (known last year as Death with Dignity).

Despite several name changes, this is euthanasia.  I remain unconvinced that any legislation can be written that would completely ensure that it is not abused and that protects our most vulnerable citizens.  I voted NO. The bill and its senate cross - file, were withdrawn.

Several very unpopular bills were defeated in my Committee as a direct result of the huge number of citizen emails that were sent.

HB 215 and SB 49 - State Song

Two bills were introduced to change the State Song and were defeated; a Senate bill advanced to the House and was defeated in my committee.

HB 216 Medical Care Consent by Minors

This bill allows a minor to consent to receive the vaccine for HPV (such as Gardasil) without parental consent or knowledge. I believe this bill is an erosion of parental rights, and many parents have valid concerns about the safety and necessity of these vaccinations. The bill was withdrawn.

HB 1178-Primary and Secondary Education - Immunizations of Children Entering School

This bill required girls and boys to receive the HPV Vaccine before entering the 9th grade. Because of the massive amount of emails from concerned parents opposing this, the bill was withdrawn.

HB 141 Limiting Educational Testing

One of the topics that the legislators received the most email about was from parents and teachers relates to the amount of classroom time spent preparing children for the many standardized tests. As a result of citizen’s concern, the House of Delegates passed HB 141 unanimously to limit the amount of student testing to 2% of total instructional time.  I voted YES, unfortunately the bill died in the Senate. While I am disappointed that we failed with HB 141, we did pass HB 657 Reducing the number of kindergarten assessments administered and prohibiting the administration of a standardized prekindergarten assessment except under certain circumstance.

HB 1007 - Freedom to Vote Act

This bill’s original intent was to automatically register people to vote when they complete a transaction with MVA or Social Services. With no verification of citizenship, and an expensive price tag on both state and local levels, the bill was stridently opposed by Republicans. The bill was heavily amended to remove the automatic registration, but leave in the ability to register. It passed, though I voted NO on both versions.

HB 1009 – Task Force to Study Increased Voter Participation

Democrats introduced a bill nicknamed the “why aren’t they voting for us?” bill.  The bill authorizes a completely partisan task force to study low voter turnout. The problem is that there’s only one party on the panel, Democrats - the bill should be called Task Force to Study Increased Democrat Voter Participation. I voted NO and the legislation died in the Senate.

HB 1014 - Matching State Contributions for College Tuition.

This bill forces a mandate on the Governor to appropriate at least $5 million in fiscal 2018, $7 million in fiscal 2019, and $10 million annually thereafter, for this purpose.  Individuals who have incurred $20,000 or more in undergraduate student loan debt and have at least $5,000 in outstanding undergraduate debt qualify for a refundable credit of up to $5,000, subject to specified conditions. MHEC may approve up to $5.0 million worth of credits annually. While I appreciate the attempt to lower the cost of college tuition, I prefer methods that rely more on free market forces.  Colleges and college students are already heavily subsidized with both State and Federal money. I voted NO.

HB 580 - Mandated Paid Sick Leave

While the goal of granting paid sick leave sounds like the moral thing to do, mandated paid sick leave actually stifles business growth and hurts people entering the work force. With so many businesses operating under the narrowest of margins, particularly with the skyrocketing cost of health insurance, forcing yet another mandate will certainly lead to reductions in work hours, benefits, compensation, and lay - offs. As they adapt their business models to survive under this law, employers who currently offer vacation or other leave time are very likely to replace that time with this paid sick leave that is being forced upon them; many workers will actually lose time they have earned, rather than gain it. It is immoral not to consider those consequences. It is immoral to ignore those employees who will be hurt by these consequences as collateral damage in a political war.  I voted NOFortunately, the bill died in the Senate.

HB 1000 - Prohibiting the sale, rental, or transfer of a regulated firearm, rifle, or shotgun to a person who is on the “Terrorist Watch list.”

This is a purely political bill designed to deny rights based on a secret and error prone list without any due process afforded.  We preempted this bill by drafting several amendments that flipped the argument, resulting in the bill dying in committee without a vote.  

HB1002 - Gun Ban on College Campus

This will ensure that qualified individuals who hold a permit will be unable to carry on campus, but does nothing to prevent a deranged gunman from bringing a gun to the premises for evil intent. We can all look at how effective gun free zones around the nation have been at stopping those intent on murder.

Amendments to exempt concealed carry permit holders for those who have been a victim of violence was rejected. Evidently, the right to self-defense begins and ends where the majority party says it does. I voted NO and the bill died in the Senate.

 HB 777 - Smoking Marijuana Public Places –Prohibition

This sensible bill would treat smoking cannabis in public places in the same way that drinking alcohol in public is treated under the law. I voted YES. Unfortunately, while the bill passed the House, it died in the Senate.

 SB 926- Lyme Disease – Laboratory Test – Required Notice

This bill requires the medical personnel drawing blood for a Lymes disease test to also notify the patient that the tests can result in false negatives or positives. I voted YES.

HB131 and SB1005 – Justice Reinvestment Act

This legislation represents a sweeping overhaul of the justice system, with the worthwhile intent to keep those suffering addiction out of prison cells and in treatment. While I agreed overall with the intent, the addition of some troubling amendments made the bill a NO vote for me. An amendment that would make the possession of 448 grams of crack cocaine a misdemeanor and an amendment that ensures illegal immigrants are not deported are among the additions that I simply could not support.

Now that the 2016 Legislative Session is over and in the books, I will be glad to get back home to the district. My Annapolis office will remain open and staffed and will continue to serve as my legislative office, so please feel free to contact me if you have a concern or a need that I or my staff can address.

I hope you have a wonderful summer, and if you see me around, please stop and say hello.

 Warmest regards,

Matt_Signature.png

Matt Morgan
State Delegate 29A

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FUNDRAISER DETAILS
August 27, 2017
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CONTACT INFORMATION

Email: Matt.Morgan@house.state.md.us

Annapolis Office:
Delegate Matt Morgan
House of Delegates
6 Bladen Street, Office 317
Annapolis, Maryland 21401
1-800-492-7122, ext. 3170 (toll free)

Local Mailing Address:
Delegate Matt Morgan
PO Box 136
Charlotte Hall, MD 20622