HOUSE REPUBLICAN CAUCUS UNVEILS EDUCATION PRIORITIES FOR 2020 SESSION
February 18, 2020
House Republican Caucus Unveils Education Priorities
Legislative Package Focuses on Safer Classrooms, Teacher Empowerment, Accountability
ANNAPOLIS, MD – The House Republican Caucus unveiled a series of educations bills focused on making classrooms safer, empowering teachers, expanding accountability, and freeing students trapped in chronically failing schools. This comprehensive legislative package will provide immediate relief to students and teachers in classrooms today, not a decade or more in the future.
“Today we are addressing the real and immediate problems, and in some cases outright dangers, faced by our students and teachers in classrooms every single day,” said House Republican Leader Nic Kipke. “Issues of safety and discipline are the top concerns we hear from students, parents, and teachers in our communities and Kirwan does absolutely nothing to address them. This legislative session has been dominated by billion-dollar education proposals that might fix problems many years from now – but what about the students and teachers in Maryland schools today? Who is looking out for them?”
“The Kirwan Commission has taken years to develop a $30 billion plan that will supposedly improve schools many years down the road,” said House Republican Whip Kathy Szeliga. “Our proposals will have an immediate and meaningful impact on students and teachers in classrooms as early as the next school year, if not before.”
UPDATES FROM ANNAPOLIS - FEB 5, 2020
February 05, 2020
We have had a few significant legislative items that I wanted to make you aware of:
Veto Override of SB 537/HB 262 Dream Act Expansion 2019 session
It removes many requirements to grant in-state tuition rates to illegal aliens:
Removing the requirement that an individual receives an associate's degree or 60 credits at a community college before receiving in-state tuition at a public four-year institution. Extends from 4 to 6 years the time by which an individual must register as an entering student after graduating from high school. Reduces the amount of time an individual must have attended a high school in Maryland from 3 years to any amount of time. It alters the period from which the dreamer or dreamer's parents filed a Maryland income tax return from 3 years to the prior calendar year.
I stood with Governor Hogan and the citizens of Maryland and voted to sustain the Governor's veto. Democrats in the House unilaterally overrode the Governor's veto, and now the bill will become law.
Veto Override of Handgun Permit Review Board SB1000/ HB1343 2019 session
Once again, we have legislation that targets gun owners who are not committing gun crimes. The majority of cases overturned or modified by the Handgun Permit Review Board was modifications of restrictions on permits. These are cases in which the Maryland State Police had already determined the applicants—all law-abiding Citizens—do not have any criminal nor mental health factors in their background. The handgun review board has been responsible for 27,396 permits, and not a single one of those people have committed a crime. These are not the people we need to focus our attention on. Our efforts would be better focused on criminals who use guns to commit crimes.
I stood with the Governor and lawful gun owners of Maryland and voted to sustain the veto. Democrats in the House unilaterally overrode the Governor's veto, and now the bill will become law.
ST. MARY'S PRIORITIES INCLUDED IN THE GOVERNOR'S 2020 BUDGET
January 16, 2020
I am extremely pleased to see that Governor Hogan did not forget his commitment to advancing technology in Southern Maryland. The budget includes $62 million toward the construction of the University System of Maryland at Southern Maryland - Third Academic Building located at the airport in Hollywood that our entire Delegation fought hard to keep as a priority.
The Governor also included funding for the following transportation projects in St. Mary’s County:
- $6.6 million to widen MD 5 to Point Lookout State Park in St. Mary’s County;
- $3.4 million for intersection improvements at Abell/Moakley streets in St. Mary’s County
- $3.2 million for MD 5 upgrades from MD 471 to MD 246 in St. Mary’s County
State support for St. Mary’s College of Maryland in FY 2021 totals more than $28 million, thanks in part to the permanent inclusion of the $800,000 DeSousa-Brent Scholars Completion Grant, for which the College recently qualified.
Other capital highlighted items included in the budget are:
- $35 million for a new Auditorium and Academic Building at St. Mary’s College of Maryland;
- $4.4 million for campus infrastructure upgrades at St. Mary’s College of Maryland.
- $11.6 million for three local jail projects in Frederick, Queen Anne’s, and St. Mary’s counties
I will continue to update you as the governor’s budget goes through the legislative process, this year beginning in the Senate.
2020 LEGISLATIVE SESSION STARTS WEDNESDAY!
January 08, 2020
Wednesday, January 8th marks the opening of the 441st Legislative Session of the Maryland General Assembly. It will be the first in decades without familiar faces at the helm. This session is the first for the new Senate President and new Speaker of the House. One thing that has not changed is my commitment to stand on the pledges that I made to the community when I first ran for this seat.
I continue to be a strong voice for conservative ideals, having earned one of the top, “gold standard” scores from the American Conservative Union for the 5th time in a row.
I will serve on the House Health and Government Operations Committee, as well as continuing to serve as the Chair of the St. Mary’s County Delegation.
I have great confidence that the new House Speaker, Delegate Adrienne Jones will conduct the business of the House with professionalism and respect for all of the Delegates, regardless of party. I’m hopeful that this year we can put partisanship aside and work on real issues that concern all Marylanders. The immense tax increase looming to pay for the “Kirwan Education Package” is particularly concerning and will be one of our main issues.
If you have a concern or legislative idea, or if you have a constituent issue that you need assistance with, please call my office at: 410-841-3170/ 301-858-3170 or toll-free 800-492-7122 ext. 3170 or email me at [email protected] Thank you for your interest in the important issues facing Maryland today. Please be sure to follow me on Facebook and Twitter for the most up to date information.
END OF 2019 SESSION WRAP-UP
April 19, 2019
As the gavel came down for the final time at midnight on the 2019 legislative session, the mood was somber and reflective as the General Assembly mourned the loss of Speaker and District 30 Delegate, Mike Busch. I am glad to have had a chance to serve with him and get to know him over the last 5 years. While we differed on many political issues, I will forever admire how he consistently conducted business with fairness and professionalism.
As the session started this year, I was named the Deputy Minority Leader of the House. Serving on the leadership team for the Republican Caucus, I supported fellow members by developing the minority position on legislation, negotiating with the majority party on legislative differences, directing minority caucus activities and coordinating and leading debate for the minority party on the house floor. I am humbled by the trust and faith that my colleagues have shown by selecting me to serve in this position.
The legislative session, as it always does, includes both wins and losses. As your representative, it is my duty to keep you informed and aware of legislation that has the potential to both help and harm our community. For this reason, I want to highlight certain legislation and provide you with a brief overview of the past session.
WHY VOTE FOR REPUBLICANS - LETTER TO THE EDITOR RESPONSE
August 21, 2018
In reply to the letter written by Tom Hanrahan wanting to know why he should vote for any Republican this coming Election Day, my answer is simple and the same as was once asked by my favorite President, Ronald Reagan: “Are you better off now than you were four years ago?”
The answer in most cases is an astonishing Yes. After 43 tax increases implemented by the O’Malley Administration and the Democrat super-majority in the state legislature that resulted in 8,000 businesses closing and our state losing 100,000 jobs, it’s now the dawn of a new era in Maryland.
Governor Hogan and General Assembly Republicans successfully negotiated and passed four straight budgets without a tax increase. This is something that was never accomplished during the O’Malley years. Bringing fiscal responsibility back to the State House allowed us for the first time in Maryland state history to fully fund programs we all care about like the Chesapeake Bay Trust Fund, Program Open Space and record funding for the K-12 school system. The reduction of regulations and fees, so that business owners are not being raked over the coals, has given them the confidence and security to invest and hire, thereby giving more people throughout our state more opportunities to find jobs and become more financially secure.
In St. Mary’s County, our Republican State Delegates passed every bill that was asked of us by our Republican County Commissioners. 33 bills in total, which is 10 more than the previous Delegation, proving we maintain a good working relationship with our local colleagues. I feel I have had great success passing or amending legislation that benefits for my constituents. I am proud to say I put my district over the party and voted in my district’s best interest, not in some votes but every vote.
Absolutely one of my biggest accomplishments was stopping Maryland Democrats from making Maryland a sanctuary state for criminally convicted illegal aliens. I have also noticed that none of the state Democrat candidates in District 29 have come out against making Maryland a sanctuary state, harboring non-citizen, violent offenders. The public should demand an answer to that.
When you consider our legislative accomplishments, our great constituent services, plus the long-needed infrastructure projects we were able to secure for the people of St. Mary’s County, I think our opponents will have a very hard time justifying how they could do this job better.
We know there are still many problems to fix in Maryland, but we are undoubtedly the best team to handle that task. And as far as President Trump goes, he is not on the ballot this year in Maryland. I believe we have the bigger task of finding and implementing solutions to the issues we have that affect our daily lives here, locally, and I am committed to continuing to do just that.
Matt Morgan, State Delegate for District 29A, North St. Mary's County
March 16, 2018
As a member of the House Health and Government Operations committee, I have a “bird’s eye” view of the issues facing Marylander’s when it comes to health care. Obviously, a huge factor is rising cost of health insurance.
Barrack Obama said, “I believe people want health insurance and what is stopping them from having it is cost. It stands to reason if insurance was cheaper more people would buy it.” I agree with our former President, but unfortunately, cheaper prices are not what Obamacare has delivered. Health insurance for healthy working people especially in the individual market has skyrocketed.
I introduced HB 1509- MD Health Benefit Exchange - Individual Exchange - Copper Plans to Lower Rates. This bill proposes an additional health insurance option, mainly geared to healthy people who otherwise would opt to forgo health insurance due to the skyrocketing cost on the individual market.