COVID-19 UPDATE, NOVEMBER 2020
November 23, 2020
On the topic of COVID, keeping people informed has been a challenge. Since March, the situation has been incredibly fluid and has changed quickly, it has been very political, and many times any statement is met with resistance. My email last week was strictly factual; as I stated in the first paragraph, I would leave my commentary to another time. I wanted to inform subscribers of the increased restrictions imposed by the Governor. The responses that the email generated ranged from, "thank you so much for keeping us informed," to I was "intentionally downplaying the virus and wanted people to get sick." The latter comment is ridiculous and couldn't be further from the truth. I want to give subscribers my perspective and show them some of the information I have come across to help them make informed decisions for themselves.
COVID-19 UPDATE, NOVEMBER 19, 2020
November 19, 2020
This email is meant to inform you of the most recent changes from Governor Hogan’s executive order. I will save personal commentary and analysis for another time. I believe that citizens need to have the best and most precise information as possible, and my goal here is to provide information as I am able so that you can make informed decisions for yourself, your business, and your families. With the recent rise of COVID-19 cases nationwide, Maryland State Government has once again decided to implement additional lockdown measures.
COUNTY TAX RATE COMPARISON FOR SOUTHERN MARYLAND 2020
October 05, 2020
I have been asked numerous times how much St. Mary's County residents pay in taxes compared to other Southern Maryland Counties. Click here for that breakdown.
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.