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March 17, 2023

A few weeks ago, I raised the potential health risks posed by House Bill 283, which allows minors to access taxpayer-funded gender-affirming treatment, including gender reassignment surgery and puberty blockers. Following my pre-session legislative survey, constituents strongly agreed with age restrictions being implemented in relation to such treatments. Today, this bill has made it to the House Floor, with Delegate Mark Fisher proposing an amendment limiting access to such treatments for those aged 18 and over. This amendment will be voted on tomorrow. Please take the time to watch and understand what your legislators are voting on.
If you agree with limiting this to 18 years or older, I highly suggest contacting your legislator and telling them to vote for the amendment.
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March 10, 2023

All of us should be horrified by Annapolis Democrats' plan for Maryland. It cannot stand, and we must make sure our voices are heard against it.

Today there were several bills that passed the House I know you would disagree with. At the top of the list is HB 547, which allocates additional taxpayer money to the Earned Income Tax Credit with a sizable amount of money reserved for illegal aliens. This money could be better spent helping our citizens. This plan is an insult to all those who followed the proper process for immigrating to this country, and it's unfair to expect our taxpayers to foot the bill for people who have broken our immigration laws.

Up next is HB 705, a bill that seeks to solidify abortion in the Maryland Constitution. This has been an issue of contention since the overturning of Roe vs. Wade; it must be noted that Maryland already holds some of the most progressive and tolerant laws on abortion nationwide.

After that, HB 119 would push gender ideology onto children - a direct attack on parental rights. In addition, the bill can withhold up to 20% of funding from the state if the local school board disagrees with implementing the state education curriculum. 

And then there's HB 556, the cannabis legislation that looks like it was written by a DEI (Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion) intern with the only goal of equal outcomes and pushing pot shops into the rural areas of our state. Many people voted for the recreational cannabis referendum in the last election solely in the hopes of it bringing in additional educational revenue. The Department of Legislative Service estimates this legislation only brings in a pathic $19 million worth of revenue. To put that into perspective, the education budget in state dollars is over $11 billion. Over the years, Maryland politicians have promised to pay for education spending increases with gimmicks such as the lottery, slots, table gaming, additional Casinos, and sports betting. Now you can add recreational cannabis to the list of programs that were sold to voters as a fiscal solution but ended up falling short.

Finally, we come to HB 535, allowing the majority party to manipulate elections further by authenticating unsigned mail-in ballots via text messaging. Not only is this potentially vulnerable to fraud, but it also undermines the integrity of our democratic system. 

Annapolis Democrats like to say we are not like DC. Still, after Wednesday, when Republicans offered 17 common-sense amendments, not a single one was accepted, leaving many believing we may be headed in an even worse direction.

I urge everyone to stay aware of the issues that concern you and make your opinions known. Only through collective action can we have a say in the laws being passed in Maryland. Together, let's stand up for our rights and protect our state from these damaging policies! Thank you for taking the time to read this, and I hope you join me in speaking out against this insanity.

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March 08, 2023

I am giving you a legislative update on my legislation HB 606 which requires notification to the consumer when food products contain cricket flour.

HB 606- Public Health - Food Products Containing Insect Flour - Labeling

The push to include this ingredient is becoming an agenda item for the WEF, the World Economic Forum. In the effort to reduce greenhouse gasses, traditional farming and raising meat have come under fire. The favored alternative is turning to insects for food. Despite allergy data, the European Union Approved cricket powder as a component of flour-based foods.

Canada has funded $8.5 million to expand cricket flour manufacturing. Aspire, the cricket powder manufacturing plant in Ontario, will produce 9000 metric tons of crickets for human consumption, and about 2 billion insects will be headed to the food supply.

While there may be many positive benefits to the addition of cricket flour as a sustainable protein source, consumers must be informed about the ingredients in any food product. For those with allergies or dietary restrictions, this could pose a serious health risk if they unknowingly consume something with an insect-based ingredient.

The bill had its hearing on February 28th. I am amending the bill to make it pertain to food prepared on-site, such as protein smoothies, to require a menu notification. Package labeling will potentially have to be another bill that will address interstate commerce. As the popularity of cricket flour increases, it is vital that consumers are aware of what is included in their food.

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March 07, 2023

I wanted to give a quick update on two of my bills here in Annapolis:

HB699- State and Local Government- Proof of Vaccination for Employees and Applicants for Employment- Prohibition (Vaccination by Choice Act)

The bill hearing on HB 699 yesterday went incredibly well. One of my colleagues on the HGO committee said, it was the best and most informative bill hearing he has ever heard. 

This bill prohibits COVID vaccine passports for state employees, employees, staff, and by amendment, the student body of Maryland colleges and universities.

132 people signed up to testify in favor of the legislation, either in person, virtually, or by submitting written testimony to the committee. Because 50 people signed up to give oral testimony, the most a bill can have- HB699 was saved for last on the docket. Despite the long day and late start, everyone who came to testify in person or waited to testify virtually stayed for the opportunity to address the committee with their expertise, stories, and experiences. I am so grateful for their dedication to this critical issue. 

Many others took the time to write their support to the committee members, and I want to thank every person who reached out and advocated for this bill.

As I said in the hearing, I hope the committee members will come down on the side of the science, the data, and a genuine desire to get the health policy right and move this legislation. The bill does not stop anyone who wants to receive the vaccine. It simply puts the choice where it should be on the individual.

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February 14, 2023

First, I want to wish everyone a Happy Valentines Day. I hope everyone is spending it with their loved ones.

Furthermore, I'm sure everyone tuned in to Governor Sarah Huckabee Sanders' remarkable response to the State of the Union address. Her words provided a striking contrast with President Biden's incoherent speech. In particular, she referenced something I repeated countless times over the past election year: Disagreements are not about party lines but rather decisions between sanity and lunacy.

Nothing makes that more evident than my schedule today. Later, I will present a bill that many of my constituents agree with to the Ways and Means Committee. HB422 will decouple the Maryland Fuel Tax from CPI. Many of you probably already know that Maryland's Fuel Tax increases every July 1st as inflation increases. Last year Marylanders experienced a 7 cents per/gallon increase last year, and if my bill is not passed, we will experience roughly the same fuel tax increase this July 1st. This would make a nearly 15-cent per/gallon tax increase in just over a calendar year and make Maryland one of the highest fuel-taxed states in our country.

At roughly the same time, I am due in my Committee, Health and Government Operations (HGO) for the bill hearing on HB283 - Gender–Affirming Treatment. Despite the title, this proposed legislation does NOT affirm gender treatment for straight people but instead allows for taxpayer-funded transgender-confirming surgery and medications. It's outrageous that it may very well be passed into law by the General Assembly- a massive misappropriation of taxpayers' hard-earned money!

The Senate approved this bill last year until it reached a roadblock in the House due to Republican dissent. This opposition was all the more effective due to our proximity to the election.

While this type of bill is ripe for jokes, let us take a moment to contemplate the parity issues this legislation causes. Under current law, taxpayer-funded Medicaid would not cover those plastic surgery enhancements if a biological woman wanted to feel more womanly. Likewise, under current law, taxpayer-funded Medicaid would not pay for breast enhancement plastic surgery if a biological woman had breast cancer. Instead, the proposed bill would require taxpayers to cover the cost of gender transition surgery for individuals subsidized by Medicaid who want to transition from male to female or vice versa. This is an absurd misuse of taxpayer dollars that should be soundly rejected.

The scariest and most insane part of this bill is that the legislation has no age limit. Taxpayers would be forced to pay for this destabilizing surgery and medications on minor children. A minor child can decide to transition genders, and parents are likely powerless to do much about it. However, the question should be asked, even if medical and parental consent is required by regulations before such drastic decisions for minors are made, are those decisions consistent with our society and current laws?

Maryland currently prohibits minors from buying liquor, cigarettes, firearms, and tattoos even with parental consent; this proposed legislation will permit them to undergo procedures such as cutting off body parts or ingesting potentially dangerous puberty-blocking drugs. Such drastic measures could lead to permanent damage with long-term consequences - Something no young person should be allowed to participate in.

People who disagree with legislation like this bill are often met with name-calling from proponents and advocates. They will loudly proclaim you a bigot, transphobic, or worse. In Virginia, parents who disagreed with these gender policies were labeled domestic terrorists. These bullying tactics are often used to silence critics, but these claims are ridiculous, and I refuse to accept them. Instead, we need to focus on what is sane and reasonable regarding these irreversible medical procedures, especially regarding our most vulnerable citizens, the children.

The devastating truth is that the transgender community is nine times more likely to take their own lives than those outside it. It's a tragedy that could be avoided with a greater understanding of this topic – especially for minors who can be most vulnerable. To effectively learn about the consequences of pushing this lifestyle on young people, I highly recommend reading an article by a whistleblower from St. Louis Children's Hospital gender clinic – these firsthand accounts are chilling.

This is about more than just taxes; this affects our collective well-being and the mental health of those who may be too young to understand the gravity of these decisions. We must protect these children from adults placing their own agendas ahead of their health and needs. Our responsibility lies in ensuring that they are safeguarded at all times.

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February 08, 2023

The right to vote is the defining characteristic of our democracy, so I must inform the people of St. Mary's about HB447, introduced by Delegate Crosby. This bill, if passed, would have a significant impact on how local commissioners are elected.

Unity is at the heart of St. Mary's county, and it is in all our best interests that the entire county prospers. That's why each person who resides here votes to select all five Commissioners that govern our county. By casting a vote for all five commissioners, we will ensure that each region of the county is considered when determining how to allocate our resources and tax money. 

Unfortunately, Delegate Crosby's bill will significantly diminish your voting power in St. Mary's County local elections by decreasing the number of commissioners you can select. You currently have the right to vote for all commissioner candidates on your ballot. However, suppose this new bill becomes law; that freedom will be limited to only voting for two commissioner candidates. 

Backers of this bill will tout its value in providing direct representation; however, in my opinion, this is just a smokescreen for the local Democratic Party to get the election outcome they want. Instead of recruiting better candidates that support policies that align with your values, the local Democratic Party has chosen to game the next election by forcing a change from Annapolis without consulting you.

As you can imagine, I have to disagree with this. The current system is fair and equitable and has served St. Mary's County well for over 180 years. However, it is unfair and almost unconscionable to take away citizens' voting power without allowing them first to share their opinions at the ballot box.

As a result, I have proposed a bill for the St. Mary's Delegation to bring this matter up for a public vote in the 2024 General Election. Instead of having our voting rights decided by politicians in Annapolis, I firmly believe that the citizens of St. Mary's County should be given a chance to resolve this issue for themselves.

Thank you for your attention to this critical matter. Together, we can make sure everyone continues to have a voice in their local government.

Link to the proposed legislation. https://mgaleg.maryland.gov/mgawebsite/Legislation/Details/hb0597 Legislative language was based on a ballot question in Queen Anne's County from 2016. That ballot question resulted in Queen Anne's County keeping its current election form similar to St. Mary's County. 

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January 19, 2023

As the 2023 legislative session begins, I am proud to represent you and our shared interests again. This session marks a new administration and starts with many new faces in both the House and Senate Chambers.

This past Wednesday, Maryland welcomed a new Governor, Wes Moore, whose inaugural speech set the tone for his administration's intentions. His speech was interesting. Governor Moore has kept a lot of ideas close to the vest, and let's face it; the media could have done a better job of vetting the Governor during the campaign. Here is a link to his speech, and I encourage everyone to watch it. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B-J1_on5OeA

On Thursday, Governor Moore's first official press conference outlined his priorities. Governor Moore devoted $69 million of the State's surplus to support priorities such as climate policies, cannabis reform, paid leave, and abortion tourism.

Many citizens are dealing with real economic problems, and I am concerned that the majority party and the new administration's priorities are not aligned with citizens' concerns. 

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