VAX CHOICE
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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SANITY VS. LUNACY
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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YOUR VOTE DIMINISHED
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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NEW GOVERNOR IN TOWN
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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INTO THE BLUE!
January 09, 2023

Maryland's Legislative Session is set to begin this Wednesday, but yesterday's Capital newspaper headline says it all, "Into the Blue." After overwhelming election wins, Annapolis Democrats feel they have a mandate to push their dystopian ideas.

The sub-headlines should scare everyone. "It's the first time in eight years that Democrats control both legislative chambers and the chief executive's office, and the party's leaders are seeking to wield the increased power as the focus turns to recreational pot, paid leave, and gun control when the General Assembly meets for its fast-paced session beginning Wednesday." Add in woke ideas like banning natural gas in homes, taxpayer-funded transgender affirmation surgery, and spending away the $7 Billion Rainy Day surplus that the previous administration left. You get a well-rounded picture of what Annapolis Democrats have planned for the next 90 days.

The upcoming legislative session will require all of us to be bold and step up. We have lost our ability to hold the majority party accountable with recent Republican losses in Maryland, making citizen engagement more important than ever. I'm committed to keeping you informed of any developments - but it's going take an unprecedented level of involvement from citizens like you to prevent those in power from taking advantage!

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WE WERE MISLED?
October 17, 2022

Last week while watching "Tucker Carson Tonight," the story of Alex Berenson caught my attention. If you would like to watch the segment for yourself, here is a link: https://rumble.com/v1nw38k-alex-berenson-powerful-people-wanted-to-suppress-berenson-says-dr.-scott-go.html

Alex Berenson is a former New York Times Journalist who was censored and banned by Twitter for asking questions about the COVID vaccination. He recently sued Twitter and won. Now information from his lawsuit against Twitter is coming to light. 

During his interview with Tucker, he mentioned Dr. Scott Gottlieb. Dr. Scott Gottlieb, a high-up executive director at Pfizer, demanded that Twitter censor the journalist for spreading misinformation about the COVID vaccine. He even accused Mr. Berenson's reporting as to why Dr. Anthony Fauci needed a security detail.

I knew I had heard the name Dr. Scott Gottlieb before in some other context. I remembered Dr. Scott Gottlieb from Pfizer was on Maryland Governor Larry Hogan's COVID task force and served on the Governor's COVID Roadmap to Recovery panel. Governor Hogan even called him out in his 2021 "follow the science" State of the State speech I attended.  

Dr. Scott Gottlieb even went so far as to write a Wall Street Journal op-ed, pointing to states like Maryland as "laboratories for COVID control" that the incoming Biden administration can seek to emulate.

Now information has surfaced that indicates that in August of 2021, Dr. Scott Gottlieb demanded Twitter censor Alex Berenson to prevent him from releasing information about the mRNA vaccine's efficacy and failure to prevent transmission of COVID.   

This news comes on the heels of last week's bombshell when Pfizer Executive Janine Small, testifying in front of the European Parliament, said that the vaccines were never tested on transmission prevention.  

I believe this is a big story, with a Maryland angle, because it likely means our Top Adviser to Governor Hogan, Dr. Scott Gottlieb, knew he was misleading us from the beginning.    The logic behind "you take the shot to help others" was a lie. The entire basis for requiring a Vaccine Passport was centered on the ability of the COVID vaccine to prevent transmission, which turns out to be a lie.  

I am happy our local community college CSM finally agreed to drop its vaccine mandate in August. Unfortunately, the Vaccine Passport is still mandated at the University of Maryland and all University System of Maryland (USM) campuses. As of today, to attend a Maryland University, students are still required not only to be COVID vaccinated but also to have the updated required boosters. 

The current mandated COVID passport to attend Maryland Universities is senseless.    

Delegate Lauren Arikan and I are drafting a letter today to Chancellor Dr. Perman to request that the smart people at our Universities "follow the damn science" and drop the COVID passport requirement for students. 
Stay tuned!
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POLL INSIGHTS
October 03, 2022

I hope you made it through the weekend's storm safe and dry.

I wanted to take the time to share the results of a poll conducted by the Winston Group on issues driving Independent voters.  In this analysis, the data is broken down by party and the overall responses of how issues rank in importance on a scale of 1-10.  Any issues above seven are marked in Red.

I find this poll very informative for a couple of different reasons.  First, I firmly believe Republicans have a huge advantage, not only with Independents but all voters.  The first five most concerning issues: Food and grocery prices, Inflation, Economy/Jobs, Crime and Safety, and Gas Prices.

The facts are self-evident that Progressive policies have resulted in higher inflation, higher food and fuel cost, and the lack of labor and contributed to the overall malaise of our economy.  On the topic of crime, Maryland voters can quickly look at laws like Justice Reinvestment, No Cash Bail Bonds, Juvenile Justice Reform, and Police Reform, as well as an overall and unrelenting drive by the Left to defund the police.  All of the above have contributed to a rise in crime, making our citizens less safe.

Second, the purpose of the poll was to highlight important issues to Independents, but what I find fascinating are the two questions that polled highest among Democrats: question 12 - Voting rights and question 21 - Congressional Hearings into January 6th.  I think the high score of both of those issues among Democrats directly reflects media manipulation and is more of an indicator of what news you read and watch than the issues you can see with your own eyes.

I hope you find this data insightful and valuable!  Poll Insights below:

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