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.

HB 521 - St. Mary’s County – Public Ethics – Prohibition on Campaign Contributions From IndividuaRegistered Lobbyists

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.

HB610 - Food Service Facilities - Food Containing Insect Flour - Labeling

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.

HB 1132 - Drugs, Biological Products, and Devices – Off–Label Use – Promotion

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.

HB955 - Motor Fuel Tax Rates – Consumer Price Index Adjustment – Repeal

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.

HB1025 - Transportation equity, fairness - Republican House Caucus Initiative

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.

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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:

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.

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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.

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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]

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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.

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.

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December 28, 2023

I want to wish everyone a Happy New Year! The 444th Legislative Session of Maryland is gearing up to reconvene on January 10th. It's our chance to share our ideas and solutions to make life better for those in St. Mary's County and those across Maryland. I'm stoked to unveil my creative legislative agenda for this year. Now, as someone who's been on the Health and Government Operations Committee since my first election, it's no surprise that many of my proposed bills are all about improving healthcare. In the coming weeks, I'll be dishing out concise write-ups for many of the bills I plan to introduce. These write-ups have been used for years to garner support and serve as written testimony during bill hearings. Surprisingly, I have just sent them out via email. I would greatly appreciate your thoughts on these initiatives.

The first idea is the Right to Try for Individual Patients. I've always loved the idea of kicking the government to the curb and letting the private sector take charge. After the Summer I've had, I have learned that you never know when a bill like this might actually apply to you.

"No Time for Waiting: The Life-Saving Power of the Right to Try Act for Individual Patients Act."

Ever imagined what it's like to be told that there's a potentially life-saving treatment out there for your life-threatening illness, but you can't access it because it's still awaiting a nod from the FDA? It sounds like a twisted plot from a dystopian novel. But this is the grim reality for many patients across our nation. Enter the hero of our story - The Right to Try for Individual Patients Act!  A bill I plan to introduce this legislative session.

A Glimmer of Hope

The Right to Try for Individual Patients Act could be a lifeline that emerges when all hope seems lost. It gives patients diagnosed with life-threatening or severely debilitating illnesses a chance to try investigational treatments. Imagine being at the end of your rope,-------> Click the READ MORE Link to read the rest of the email.

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December 08, 2023

I hope this email finds you well. It's your friendly neighborhood Delegate here. You know, the guy you voted for to represent you in this rollercoaster ride we call state government. Today, we will take a scenic drive through the not-so-pretty world of transportation budgets.

Here's the scoop: our FY2024-2029 Final Consolidated Transportation Program (CTP) looks like a buggy trying to compete in NASCAR. We've got a revenue gap wider than the Chesapeake Bay, and it's about time we put some traffic cones around it.

The Maryland Department of Transportation (MDOT) has recently announced a reduction of 8% in its budget for all modes of transportation. This decision, aimed at optimizing resources, will have an impact on various transportation initiatives and projects. But don't worry, they swear it's not just for the thrill of it. It's their attempt to keep this rickety old jalopy we call our transportation system (that pours money into mass transit) running on the fumes of fiscal responsibility.

However, here's the critical point: we're dealing with these budget cuts while having the fifth-highest gas tax in the entire nation. Yes, you heard it right, folks! We're spending more at the gas station than nearly everyone else, but our roads are beginning to resemble a badly stitched patchwork quilt.

Though it falls outside my district, one particular cut that deeply concerns me is the $15 million reduction in funding for the Route 5 and Great Mills Road project in St. Mary's County. A few years ago, this project was the top priority for the St. Mary's Board of County Commissioners, so much so that in their eyes, it surpassed the Thomas Johnson Bridge in importance.

I sincerely hope the representatives for that area, Senator Bailey and Delegate Crosby, with the help of the Commissioner's new lobbyist, can successfully advocate for the return of this funding.

In rural areas like ours with limited public transportation options, well-maintained roads are of utmost importance. These roads serve as lifelines, connecting individuals, families, and communities to vital services such as healthcare, education, shopping, and emergency assistance during critical times of need. That is why any reduction in funding for road maintenance and development should be a matter of great concern.

Thanks for your patience, understanding, and, most importantly, your voice. We're all in this together, and we can find a way to keep Maryland moving without raising tolls or having to trade our prized possessions for gas money.

Keep the wheels turning,

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Annapolis Office:
Delegate Matt Morgan
House of Delegates
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Annapolis, MD 21401
1-800-492-7122, ext. 3170

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PO Box 136
Charlotte Hall, MD 20622

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