HEALTH INSURANCE FOR UNDOCUMENTED
February 19, 2024
I am happy that Sinclair Broadcasting has recently purchased the Baltimore Sun newspaper. I am excited for the future and for Sinclair to return a once-great newspaper to prominence. However, I am disappointed to read this story written by Hannah Gaskill, who, incredibly, never even took the time to interview a single opposing view for her story.
The truth is we spent a considerable amount of time on this bill over the last couple of weeks, both on the subcommittee and in bill hearings. The bill was intensely debated. On Friday, HB728 was voted out of committee in a party-line vote.
HB728 allows for the nearly 400,000 undocumented immigrants who allegedly live in Maryland to purchase health insurance on the Maryland exchange. (Yes, almost 400,000. Another data point in Ms. Gaskill's article got wrong.)
There are numerous concerns surrounding this bill. Let's acknowledge that offering incentives to undocumented immigrants may attract more individuals. Well-informed individuals witness the ongoing border chaos through nightly news coverage, and Maryland is no exception in facing challenges to manage the situation. A few weeks ago, Governor Moore signed a letter with eight other Democratic governors begging the Biden Administration for more money and resources for immigration aid.
First, advocates' claims that taxpayer subsidies do not contribute to covering the premiums of undocumented immigrants are incorrect. The rates across the entire individual market are reduced due to a reinsurance plan implemented in 2018, funded by taxing private insurers. It is accurate to state that if HB728 is approved, the taxes imposed on Americans' insurance plans will provide discounted rates for individuals in the individual market, including undocumented immigrants.
Second, the issue with HB728 is that no residency verification is required for those undocumented immigrants applying for coverage. An applicant simply needs a Maryland P.O. Box or the address of a friend who lives in Maryland to receive coverage. There is no requirement to provide past paid utility bills, tax returns, or any other residency verifications required by Maryland law for so many other benefits.
Third, and the most concerning thing for me, is the concern over future access to healthcare providers. This legislation could add hundreds of thousands of new people to the insurance rolls while we have not added a single doctor to provide healthcare. The lack of provider access hit home for me over the summer. As many of you know, I had a little healthcare scare, and from the time I was given the original referral for a biopsy, it took nearly seven weeks to get the appointment. Many constituents, especially in the aftermath of COVID-19, have complained about how long it takes to obtain an appointment to see a specialist. Adding hundreds of thousands of new people to the insurance rolls will only exacerbate the problem of receiving quality medical care in a timely manner.
This third point may seem cruel or harsh at first reading, but I believe we have a moral obligation and responsibility to take care of our citizens first. We should not expand coverage of life-saving resources with the rest of the world at the expense of our mothers, fathers, grandparents, friends, and citizens. I often avoid Presidential politics in my newsletter because the topic can be polarizing. Still, many people, including myself, believe in and support an American First agenda. Well, this bill falls into the American Last category.
MAJORITY OF MARYLANDERS FAVOR
February 19, 2024
I hope you are doing well. One thing that frustrates me is how conservative ideas and solutions are often misrepresented as radical or uncommon by the Democratic Party, their allies in the media, and sometimes even by members of the Republican Party.
I would like to share some important insights from the latest statewide Gonzalez poll. Part 1 of Poll: https://www.marylandmatters.org/wp-content/uploads/2024/02/Gonzales-Poll-Part-1-Maryland-Statewide-February-2024.pdf
The fact that a statewide poll supports our conservative legislative agenda should give us confidence. While our views may differ from those of the Left, I find it refreshing and encouraging that we find common ground with the majority of Marylanders on important issues across all demographic sectors.
On the topic of transportation, I have been harping for a few years about the problem of mass transit disproportionally draining the Transportation Trust Fund. In my opinion, the Transportation Trust Fund is being asked to do too much, and overwhelmingly, the public wants their bridges and roads maintained and improved. I have introduced legislation to do just that, so I am pretty excited to have a statewide poll that reinforces those convictions.
QUESTION: Transportation Funding Higher Priority Which of the following should receive the higher priority regarding transportation funding in the state? Maintaining and improving the roads and bridges in Maryland, or Maintaining and improving mass transit in Maryland, such as buses, light rail, and MARC trains?
Public Safety - Theft of a Firearm
It has been a frustrating few years for law-abiding gun owners when activist groups like Moms Demand Action have time and time again focused on gun violence but refuse actually to support legislation that cracks down on criminals. For at least the last five years, the House Republicans have tried to close this loophole of the theft of a firearm. In Maryland, firearm theft is treated the same as if a criminal stole a TV or some other item with a monetary value less than $1,500. Our attempts to increase the penalty have consistently been voted down by the Democratic majority. As it turns out, the voice of Maryland is clear and resolute on this issue: an overwhelming majority, 88% to be precise, stand with us in believing that possession of a stolen gun should not just be illegal but classified as a felony.
To read the rest please click the READ More link below:
THE REST OF MY LEGISLATIVE AGENDA 2024
February 08, 2024
The legislative session is currently in full swing and has been incredibly busy. I wanted to take a moment to personally reach out to you and provide an overview of the remaining items on my legislative agenda for this session.
I want to begin by bringing attention to a few bill proposals that I haven't discussed in previous newsletters.
This is a bill I had originally drafted, but I am happy to say it was converted to a Delegation Bill. This bill simply prohibits a registered lobbyist who is engaged to lobby on behalf of a county government of St. Mary's County from making a personal political contribution to a member of the General Assembly who represents any part of St. Mary's County, a member of the Commissioners of St. Mary's County, or any other State or local official who is elected to represent only St. Mary's County.
For the second consecutive year, I am presenting this bill to tackle the increasing prevalence of alternative proteins in our food system. It proposes transparent and standardized notification requirements on menus where cricket flour is used, ensuring consumer awareness and choice.
While cricket flour can offer numerous positive benefits as a sustainable protein source, it is crucial to ensure that consumers are well-informed about the ingredients in food products. Although some may embrace bug consumption, it is important to consider individuals who do not and those with allergies or dietary restrictions who may unknowingly consume insect-based ingredients, which could pose significant health risks.
This legislation allows pharmaceutical companies and doctors to discuss the legal and factual use of "off-label" medications, ensuring patients receive better treatments and care.
Off-label use, or "off-label prescribing," makes up about one-fifth of annual prescriptions. This practice involves legally prescribing medications for purposes, patient populations, or dosages that differ from the FDA's original approval. For example, aspirin, FDA-approved for pain, fever, and cardiovascular disease, is commonly used off-label as a prophylaxis for coronary disease in high-risk patients, including those with diabetes. Unfortunately, the FDA restricts how companies can share information about the already-legal use of their products with healthcare providers and payers, impacting patients. A recent survey found that approximately one-quarter of specialists and primary care physicians heavily consider FDA approvals for narrow indications in treatment decisions. Companies face prosecution and criminal penalties for "misbranding" by communicating off-label uses that fall outside federal requirements. However, sharing truthful and scientific information about off-label uses can benefit patients by expanding treatment options and providing new treatments sooner. Current restrictions contradict the rapid availability of healthcare information and infringe upon constitutionally protected speech.
I am again introducing legislation that decouples the gas tax from the Consumer Price Index (CPI), ensuring that this financial burden is not compounded by inflation. At a time when inflation is high and continuing to climb, it is unconscionable to expect taxpayers to shoulder a more significant burden at the pump.
This bill is supported by the republican caucus, and it also separates the gas tax from CPI. Moreover, it will prohibit the implementation of a mileage tax and establish requirements for transit systems to achieve farebox recovery, ensuring efficient public transportation that meets economic standards.
Your support and advocacy for these bills would be greatly appreciated.
If you would like to testify on any of these proposed bills, please get in touch with my office, and we will assist you throughout the process. Thank you for your time and dedication. Your involvement in the democratic process is fundamental to our shared future.
You can see the complete list of the legislation I have proposed and bills I have co-sponsored for the 2024 session here. https://mgaleg.maryland.gov/mgawebsite/Members/Details/morgan02
PROPERTY TAX APPEAL
February 02, 2024
I have received a few emails from individuals expressing their concerns about the significant rise in property tax assessments. I, too, was shocked by the increase in the assessments. The consensus of the worries from the emails I have read is centered around overspending by our state government.
Those are legitimate concerns, as I was doing some pre-session fiscal research and discovered an interesting fact. Since the passing of the 2021 budget in March of 2020 - the pre-COVID budget - Maryland's spending has increased by a significant 31%, amounting to approximately $15 billion in new spending.
The State Senate unanimously passed Governor Moore's first budget, while in the House of Delegates, I was one of only a few votes that opposed spending more money than we had in revenue. Every dollar the government spends is a dollar they must tax or borrow, so we all must be vigilant against excess spending of our hard-earned tax dollars.
However, property taxes in Maryland are mostly spent at the local level; in St. Mary's County, 89.4% of your collected property tax is spent by our local county government. The good news is the St. Mary's Board of County Commissioners can elect to hold constant yield, which would stop any property tax increase from going into effect. This decision is usually made in March/April during their budget sessions, so I would encourage you to reach out to them and ask them to hold the "constant yield" tax rate.
In the meantime, to safeguard yourself, if you feel your property tax assessment is high, I recommend protesting it. You can find detailed instructions on how to do so in this provided link: https://dat.maryland.gov/realproperty/Pages/Assessment-Appeal-Process.aspx
Appeals must be filed within 45 days of notice, so time is running out. I highly recommend choosing the phone appeal. It is easy, convenient, and probably the most efficient way of correcting an unfairly taxed property. Hopefully, this will result in a reduction in your assessment.
I hope this has been helpful, and again, please feel free to contact me anytime.
DATA SHOWS MARYLANDERS LEAVING!
January 08, 2024
I found two charts from the Comptroller's State of the Economy report that are particularly interesting, and I wanted to share them.
For the first time since World War II, the state of Maryland has decreased in population. What is interesting in the chart below is that the domestic migration of Marylanders leaving our state is at a higher rate than the international migration to Maryland.
Of course, many of the Marylanders leaving are Marylanders of means.
In summary, those departing are financially more secure, while many of those entering are often less affluent and unauthorized. (That is the politically correct language for Illegal.)
This is why I feel so strongly about fighting back against this insanity and holding Democrats accountable for the results of the policies they have created. Crime is up because of the soft-on-crime laws their party has unilaterally passed. Education is down despite a nearly $4 billion dollar increase in the last three years. We have a cost of living and housing affordability problem that you can blame squarely on the socialistic policies of the Left. It is high time we acknowledge the regressive nature of Maryland's tax policy, which tears families apart by forcing retirees to seek refuge beyond our state borders.
It also explains why Annapolis Democrats, for the last few years, have pushed to incentivize illegal immigration as an attempt to replace Americans leaving and, in many cases, fleeing Maryland.
We will again tackle the subject of subsidizing the cost of Healthcare for Illegal Aliens as Annapolis Democrats push for a California-style bill that will cost the taxpayers about a billion dollars extra per year.
In conclusion, the battle for fiscal responsibility and conservative values in Maryland holds greater significance than ever before. If you've grown weary of this madness, let your voice be heard. Stay tuned as the 2024 Legislative session begins on Wednesday.
SUPPORT LOCAL EDUCATIONS IDEAS2
January 02, 2024
Public Schools - Home School Students - Extracurricular Activities (Right to Play Act of 2022)
The second bill is to allow students who are homeschooled to participate in county public schools' extracurricular programs.
As the state public school system's curriculum becomes more "woke," some parents are choosing homeschooling instead. However, these parents still pay taxes, and their children are part of our community. There's a distinction between educational curriculum and after-school activities. Homeschooling shouldn't exclude a child from participating in football, cheerleading, band, theater, or other activities.
This bill aims to end discrimination against homeschooled children in public school extracurriculars. Many other states, like Florida and Utah, have successfully implemented this. It's time for equal access to extracurricular activities for all students, regardless of their educational setting.
Research shows that participating in extracurricular activities positively affects academic performance, social skills, well-being, and college admissions. Allowing homeschooled children to join these activities provides more growth opportunities.
This bill also promotes community involvement and inclusivity by enabling homeschooled children to interact with peers in public schools. It bridges the gap between homeschooling families and the larger community, fostering unity and understanding.
We are not alone in this idea. Calvert County is submitting the same bill. Imagine if all Red Counties would take up this challenge. Many of the problems we face are not Republican vs Democrat issues. They are right vs. wrong. If we are on the side of the right, we shouldn't fear challenging the status quo.
Again, both of these bill ideas need support from our local delegation before they are submitted to the General Assembly for consideration. If you support these ideas or have questions, please don't hesitate to email my office. Please do not reply to this email; instead, send an email to my official address, and I will forward it along to the other members. [email protected]
SUPPORT LOCAL EDUCATIONS IDEAS
January 02, 2024
The first bill aims to provide parents with essential information about schools in St. Mary's County. It addresses concerns raised by parents and teachers regarding behavior and violence in classrooms. My research uncovered a comprehensive datasheet mandated by the Federal government. It includes data on test scores, graduation rate, student population, class size, suspensions, crimes on school property, student arrests, incident reports, and other helpful information for parents. Unfortunately, this report is buried on the state board of education website and is five years old.
Educational professionals often fear sharing negative information about our school system, but I disagree. Adults can handle the truth, and parents deserve up-to-date information. For example, the data sheet below displays incidents of violence at local schools. Notice Spring Ridge Middle: there were 30 reports of sexual assault (other than rape) in the 2017-18 school year. https://reportcard.msde.maryland.gov/DataDownloads/2018/2018/CRDC/2018_18_Climate.xlsx
My theory is a simple one. If parents know what is happening in their child's school, they are much more likely to get involved. If you knew there were 30 sexual incidents at your child's school, do you think you might volunteer at the next middle school dance? If you were a parent who cared, do you think you might show up at the next PTA meeting? Many of the problems we face can only be fixed at home with parental involvement. Shouldn't parents know this information?
My legislation will require that St. Mary's County Board of Education (BOE) proactively share the comprehensive datasheet with the County Delegation and our County Commissioners as well as display it prominently on their website for easy parental access. The legislation also requires the Board of Ed to submit an annual report, including additional data fields like "student overdoses and drug arrests."
This legislation aims to empower parents by providing them with essential and transparent information about their child's school. If our schools are doing great, let's be proud of that. If there are problems, parents are part of the solution to any problem our schools face.