End of Session Letter 2024

Dear Constituent,

Serving as your representative in the Maryland General Assembly is truly an honor and privilege. Last Monday marked the final day of the 2024 legislative session, known as Sine Die.

As is typical, the legislative session was a mix of triumphs and setbacks. Significant victories were achieved through my sponsored bill, HB676, the Right to Try for Individual Patients, alongside legislation I supported, such as HB137, Civil Immunity- Educator- Intervention, and the other 62 bills I co-sponsored that became law.  Additionally, we significantly amended and halted specific proposals in the final days of the session. Our bipartisan efforts to overhaul the fragmented Juvenile Justice system, as evidenced by HB814, mark essential steps toward meaningful reform and enhancement.

The losses were primarily centered around needless tax increases, housing, electric rates, and the majority party's forcing its agenda. Throughout this session, the House majority repeatedly imposed its will on the Senate and the minority party, promoting an agenda I believe many mainstream Maryland residents oppose.

This session, the General Assembly tackled an unprecedented 3,480 legislative initiatives.  Through it all, I assure you that my commitment to defending our shared values and beliefs remained steadfast. As your representative, I feel it is my duty to keep you well-informed and current. Below, I will discuss several bills that have the potential to significantly affect our quality of life, either for better or worse. For each one, I'll share my voting position and the potential consequences of its passage or failure.

Budget and Taxes

SB360 - Maryland Operating Budget  

Just a few years ago, Maryland boasted a $5 billion surplus. However, at the onset of the legislative session, the state adjusted its revenue projections downward three consecutive times, a reflection of economic fluctuations and shifts in tax revenue. This trend of downward adjustment persisted into early March, marking a fourth revision. Compounding these fiscal challenges, Maryland is grappling with budget shortfalls, significantly attributed to the costs associated with the multi-billion-dollar education reform initiative known as the Blueprint for Education or Kirwan Plan. By Fiscal Year 2028, the structural deficit is projected to surpass $3 billion, with state expenditures increasingly outstripping revenues by this substantial margin. For Fiscal Year 2025, the budget deficit was about $500 million. The Governor's budget addressed this by not contributing to the state's Rainy-Day Fund, moving money from other funds, and adjusting spending formulas. The Senate embraced this approach; unfortunately, the House of Delegates’ version of the budget included tax and fee hikes to balance the FY2025 budget. There were even more taxes in a separate bill, the Budget Reconciliation and Financing Act of 2024 (BRFA).

Excessive spending causes deficits, and numerous strategies exist for the Governor and the General Assembly to address them. I believe the optimal approach is to curb spending. Typically, Maryland's Legislature resolves deficits by raising taxes, fees, and occasionally tolls. This year was no different. I voted NO to the spending bill. The bill passed.

SB362 - Budget Reconciliation and Financing Act of 2024

The negotiation of the budget and BFRA is a complicated story. The budget and BRFA originated in the Senate, were balanced with no tax increases, and were submitted to the House by mid-March. The House Appropriations Committee responded by adding the most significant tax hike in Maryland's history, amounting to $1.3 billion. In the final days of the legislative session, the Senate and House reached a compromise on the budget package that reduced many of the new or increased taxes from the House version but still included $450 million in new taxes and fees. Other conservative colleagues and I sent a letter urging the Governor to veto any bills with new or higher taxes or fees. I voted NO to the tax increases. The bill passed. 

My Bills

HB676 - Right to Try for Individualized Patients 

This bill broadens the Right to Try law to include gene-specific personalized treatments that might not undergo standard clinical trials because of their individualized nature. It aims to give Marylanders with rare diseases and terminal illnesses access to customized treatments, providing some hope and options for those suffering from these terrible diseases- the large majority being children. Maryland was a leader in 2017, one of the first states to pass the original Right to Try legislation. I am happy to report that Maryland still paves the way for patients to access potentially life-saving medicines and therapies for themselves and their families. HB676 passed with unanimous support in both the House and Senate. 

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HB193 - Maryland Metro Funding Act of 2024

This bill authorized $223.7 million for METRO. The need to raise taxes was blamed on the Transportation Trust Fund's money shortage. This is no less than a self-induced shortage caused by excess spending on mass transit. In 2018, the General Assembly changed the percentage of money each rider pays for the operating cause of mass transit. In the fiscal analysis of my bill, HB1025, the latest MTA report revealed that in fiscal 2022, the farebox recovery rates for MTA's bus, light rail, heavy rail (subway), and commuter rail services covered only 7%, 6%, 8%, and 8% of their operating costs, respectively. This means taxpayers subsidize a staggering 92% of the operating cost of every trip riders make on METRO. How much does the state government subsidize your commute to work? All told, there is $639 million in funds for METRO operating aid ($150M of general funds + $489M from TTF). More money went to METRO in the budget ($639M) than state dollars spent on roads and bridges ($599M). Mass transit is bankrupting the Transportation Trust Fund. I voted NO. The bill passed. 

HB1524 - Racing Facility Ownership and Construction

This bill authorizes an increase in the debt by $400 million so that the Maryland Stadium Authority can take over horse racing at Pimlico. This is an example of central planning at its worst. Another government takeover of a former business and nationalizes horse racing in the state. For Annapolis, horse racing is "too big to fail."  I voted NO. The bill passed. 

My Bills

HB676 - Right to Try for Individualized Patients 

This bill broadens the Right to Try law to include gene-specific personalized treatments that might not undergo standard clinical trials because of their individualized nature. It aims to give Marylanders with rare diseases and terminal illnesses access to customized treatments, providing some hope and options for those suffering from these terrible diseases- the large majority being children. Maryland was a leader in 2017, one of the first states to pass the original Right to Try legislation. I am happy to report that Maryland still paves the way for patients to access potentially life-saving medicines and therapies for themselves and their families. HB676 passed with unanimous support in both the House and Senate. 

HB519 - St. Mary's County Board of Education Civil Rights and Transparency Reporting

I introduced this transparency bill to make critical school information available to parents. The bill required the St. Mary's County Board of Education to collect and update the data as necessary for the federal civil rights data collection survey each year. This data includes information such as arrests, violence, or sexual offenses. My bill also added drug use and Narcan use on school grounds as well as on school buses. Having this information posted prominently on the school board website would help St. Mary's County parents make informed decisions regarding their children's school experience. The Ways and Means Committee did not move the bill, and it failed.

HB1025 & HB955 - Gas Tax and Transportation Equity Act

The Transportation Equity, Fairness, and Privacy Act (HB1025) would have increased revenue for the Transportation Trust Fund by $15.2 million in FY25 and $65.2 million in FY29. The ruling party in Annapolis failed to move this bill, instead choosing to increase vehicle registration fees. I also reintroduced the Motor Fuel Tax Rates – Consumer Price Index Adjustment – Repeal (HB955) bill to prevent the gas tax from rising annually with inflation, a measure that Annapolis Democrats once again declined to advance.

Education Bills

HB615 - Education - Prohibited Behavior on School Grounds and Property - Application

Considering the recent concern on the issue of juvenile crime, this bill was notably disconnected and tone-deaf, marking it as one of the most concerning pieces of legislation I have encountered in years. It explicitly bars the punishment of students for disruptive or threatening conduct in both K-12 schools and colleges. Expecting a certain level of behavior in school goes a long way to preparing students for adulthood. I opposed this bill on the House Floor. I introduced an amendment mandating a one-year ban on participating in or attending extracurricular activities for any student with violent or disruptive behavior. The amendment aligned with the stance advocated by MABE (Maryland Association of Boards of Education) regarding the bill. Unfortunately, the ruling party rejected the amendment. I voted NO. The bill passed the House but was defeated in the Senate.

HB558 - K-12 Education - Comprehensive Health Education Framework

As amended, this bill proposes establishing gender ideology as a distinct curriculum, removing it from the "Family Life and Human Sexual Orientation" curriculum. Additionally, it prevents parents from opting their children out of this instruction. I voted NO. The bill passed the House Floor with a vote of 97-36, with one Republican aligning with the Democrats. Fortunately, the Senate agreed with us, and the bill was defeated.

HB137 - Civil Immunity - Educator Intervention

This legislation safeguards teachers against lawsuits for injuries or property damage incurred while intervening in student conflicts, provided their actions are reasonable and not negligent or intentionally harmful. One of the most frequent complaints I hear from teachers is the lack of control over ever-increasing chaotic classrooms. This is a step in the right direction, protecting teachers who must intervene to stop disruptions and fights between students. I voted YES, and the bill passed.

HB785 - Freedom to Read Act

This bill's only purpose is to keep certain social engineering materials with very explicit and obscene content in school libraries. My colleagues, Delegates Kathy Szeliga and Lauren Arikan, and I stood on the House floor against this bill. We presented examples of obscene reading material found in school libraries as proof that these books are available to children. Delegate Mangione introduced an amendment that would ban obscene materials from school libraries. The majority party voted the amendment down. I voted yes to the amendment and NO to the bill. The bill passed.

Property Rights and Housing

HB693 - Renters' Rights and Stabilization Act of 2024

This bill out of the House raised the court filing fee on landlords trying to evict a nonpaying tenant from $8 to $93, made legal fees and court costs unrecoverable, and gave the tenant the first right of refusal when an owner sold their property. Going into this session, housing affordability was a topic of concern. Regardless of whether it is resales or rentals, many economic factors can determine the cost of housing in an area. Still, the most prevalent factor falls into supply and demand. Laws like this make it much harder for our mom-and-pop landlords, who make up much of the rental market in rural areas like Southern Maryland. Many parts of this bill need to be clarified. We had a lengthy floor fight, and I offered several amendments on the House Floor. While my amendments were voted down, we poked significant holes into this legislation. This helped the Senate heavily amend this bill. It was amended to cut the fee to $43, reduce the notification requirement, and reduce the time a tenant must reply to the owner to purchase the unit. Still, the bill subverts property rights, making little economic sense. I voted NO. The bill passed.

HB538 - Affordable Housing – Zoning Housing Expansion and Affordability Act

This bill prohibits local jurisdictions from limiting manufactured homes (trailer parks) in certain areas. There are many reasons superseding local authority will be problematic, including population density, school district overcrowding, and local infrastructure issues. Additionally, the bill requires 25% of multi-dwelling units to be price-restricted by deed capping them at 60% of the area's average median income. This is a ridiculous requirement for several reasons. Firstly, the state is stealing the potential equity from property owners by disallowing properties to be sold for market value. Because of this, property owners have zero motivation ever to improve their property. Finally, this would be a problem when calculating the ever-increasing property taxes. I offered an amendment on the Floor to remove this portion from the bill, but it was voted down. I voted NO. The bill passed.

HB181 - Failure to Pay Rent Proceedings - Shielding of Court Records 

This legislation permits tenants sued for non-payment of rent to conceal their court records. It restricts property owners from accessing comprehensive information while evaluating potential tenants. Again, this puts mom-and-pop landlords at financial risk, which leads to them exiting the rental market. This, in turn, hurts the supply of rental houses, thus increasing the cost of housing. This bill turned into another big floor fight in the House. I voted NO. I am happy to report that the bill was defeated in the Senate.

HB477 - Landlord and Tenant - Residential Leases - Good Cause Termination Provisions

This legislation undermines the rights of private property owners by allowing counties to pass regulations that prevent residential landlords from refusing to renew or ending a lease without a "good cause." Consequently, this may permit tenants to remain in properties indefinitely, contrary to the property owner's wishes. This is another bill that erodes property rights and increases the cost of housing. I voted NO. I am happy to report that the bill was defeated in the Senate.

Election Bills

HB627 - Election Law - Automatic Voter Registration - State Correctional Facilities

This bill makes correctional facilities automatic voter registration facilities to register inmates to vote upon release. I support expanded voter registration, so I offered an amendment on the Floor that would do the same for the Department of Natural Resources, offering automatic voter registration to anyone purchasing a hunting or fishing license. The ruling party voted down my amendment and, though I voted NO, passed the bill. Fortunately, the bill was defeated in the Senate.

HB1022 - Election Law - Incarcerated Individuals - Voting Eligibility and Access 

The bill proposed allowing incarcerated individuals to cast ballots in elections. Fortunately, it did not move out of committee. Otherwise, I would have voted no.

HB333 - Election Disinformation and Improper Influence Related to Voting 

As introduced, this bill would have created an Orwellian "Ministry of Truth." This bill raises First Amendment concerns, as the state will determine what is allowable on social media regarding elections. We have seen the evidence of Twitter and other social media platforms working with the FBI and federal authorities to limit speech selectively, especially targeting conservative views and narratives differing from mainstream opinions, for example, the reports concerning Hunter Biden's laptop. We were able to amend this bill significantly. Now, as passed, it will allow the Board of Elections to post misinformation about polling and election times on their website, similar to what is currently done under their rumor section. Though amending this bill was a big win for free speech advocates, it is still a step in the wrong direction. I voted NO. The bill passed.

Firearm Rights

SB784 - Comprehensive Community Safety Funding Act 

This proposed legislation would raise taxes on firearms, firearm accessories, and ammunition to 11%. It is a punitive measure against gun owners. It would have been challenged as unconstitutional since it imposes an extra tax burden on exercising a fundamental right. The bill passed the Senate but failed in the House without coming to the Floor for a vote. I would have voted NO.

SB488 - Civil Actions - Public Nuisances - Firearm Accountability Act of 2024 

This legislation will open firearms manufacturers and dealers to potential frivolous lawsuits. The legislation will result in inflated costs to the consumer on firearms and related products and possibly bankrupt or chase out firearms industry members. I voted NO. Fortunately, it failed to pass the House. 


SB123 - Criminal Procedure - Petition to Reduce Sentence

This legislation passed the Senate and made it to the House on the last day of the session. The bill would enable individuals convicted of crimes committed during their minority to petition for a reduction in their sentences after serving 20 years. This bill would allow the release of criminals who have committed heinous crimes. A group of conservative members of the House of Delegates and I organized a floor fight with a series of amendments meant to punch holes in the legislation. As a result, the bill was never brought to a Floor vote and was defeated.

HB814 - Juvenile Law - Reform

Juvenile law reform was one of the prominent topics in this session, as reports of juvenile crime dominated the nightly news on television. HB814 introduces more robust accountability measures for juveniles involved in criminal acts. This approach emphasizes holding young offenders responsible while supporting them in preventing future crimes as they grow. The legislation addresses critical issues, aiming to ensure that juvenile sex offenders, particularly those guilty of severe crimes like assaulting young children, are not placed in schools with other kids. I believe this is a start, and I hope the conversation continues how to help troubled youth best and protect our communities. I voted YES, and the bill passed.

Economy and Business

SB1 - Electricity and Gas - Retail Supply - Regulation and Consumer Protection

Many Maryland businesses opposed this bill because it removed their ability to shop for better energy rates. Although that portion was amended, the bill still removed residential ratepayers' right of choice. As introduced, the bill would dismantle the retail energy market, resulting in a monopoly where only utility companies provide energy. The bill is like Obamacare for energy. I voted NO. Unfortunately, the bill passed.

HB449- Comprehensive Flood Management Grant Program - Funding for Underserved and Overburdened Communities

This bill establishes a $20 million comprehensive flood management grant program for projects located in or directly benefiting underserved or overburdened communities. The legislation utilizes race to determine where grant money is spent; in the bill's fiscal analysis, an underserved community is defined as a community where at least 50% of the residents identify as nonwhite. I voted NO. The bill passed.


SB975- Maryland Department of Health - Reproductive Health Care Clinic Security Grant Program - Establishment (Supporting Reproductive Health Care Clinics Act)

This grant, funded by taxpayers, allocates $500,000 exclusively to abortion clinics for security upgrades and improvements, neglecting to offer any financial support to Pregnancy Centers across the state. Advocates of the bill argue that women seeking services at abortion facilities are exposed to threats and possible violence. While it is paramount to prevent violence against anyone, data indicates that Pregnancy Centers, not abortion clinics, are the more frequent targets of such violence. Because the grants are taxpayer-funded and not shared equitably, I voted NO. The bill passed.

SB119 - Legally Protected - Gender-Affirming Treatment

This bill shields providers of gender-affirming treatments from any legal repercussions. The United States and Maryland are becoming outliers on this issue. There is mounting evidence of the severe adverse effects of these interventions, with countries such as the UK prohibiting the use of puberty blockers and closing gender assignment facilities. I am concerned that this legislation will significantly hinder individuals who have undergone these irreversible and transformative treatments from pursuing compensation from healthcare providers or those who authorized these procedures. Another concerning effect that this bill will have is to advance what is being called "transgender tourism," encouraging children to come from states that do not allow these surgeries. I voted NO. The bill passed.

SB705/HB 728 - Health Insurance - Qualified Resident Enrollment Program

The proposed legislation to extend health insurance access to undocumented immigrants raises significant concerns about access to care. This legislation has the potential of adding hundreds of thousands of undocumented immigrants to our insurance rolls without adding a single doctor to provide care. We achieved a modest victory compared to last year's proposal, with the current bill not offering direct subsidies to undocumented immigrants. However, a significant portion of the exchange market remains subsidized. It is unfair to require Maryland's residents, many of whom already need help in affording their health insurance, to support the health insurance and healthcare costs of non-citizens financially.  I voted NO. The bill passed.

HB865 - Health Insurance - Coverage for Prostheses (So Every Body Can Move Act)

The legislation allows Medicaid and private insurance to cover prosthesis care/repair or replacement in certain situations. The bill received support from both parties and will significantly benefit those needing prosthetic care. I co-sponsored this bill, and I voted YES. The bill passed.

HB576 - Mental Health - Assisted Outpatient Treatment Programs

The legislation enables each county to create an assisted outpatient treatment program. It requires the Maryland Department of Health to establish one in counties that do not. The bill allows a psychiatric nurse practitioner to assess an individual for potential involuntary admission in emergencies. It also mandates the Office of the Public Defender to offer legal representation during assisted outpatient treatment proceedings. This bill is a good step in getting help to people who are not in a position to recognize that they need it. I co-sponsored this bill and voted YES. The bill passed.

FY 2024 Capital – St. Mary’s Capital Budget Summary by Legislative District

District 29A - $11,741,651, District 29B - $13,431,000, District 29C - $14,418,543            


As the 2024 session wraps up, I highlight upcoming challenges and underscore the importance of your civic engagement. Your role as constituents is crucial in shaping Maryland's future. In the spirit of Jerry McGuire's iconic phrase, "Help me, help you," I acknowledge the boundaries of what can be achieved within bureaucratic constraints. In the near future, your public support will become even more crucial. I want to keep this dialog open for the rest of the year and into the 2025 convening of the General Assembly. Thank you for all your comments and thoughts. We will be successful if we remain united in our resolve to make Maryland a better place for all its citizens. Let us embrace the opportunities and challenges ahead with courage and determination.

If you have a concern, legislative idea, or constituent issue 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]. I appreciate your interest in Maryland's critical issues today.

Additionally, I invite you to follow my updates on Facebook and Twitter for the latest information. As we welcome the summer season, I look forward to crossing paths at one of St. Mary's County's renowned community events. Should you see me, I encourage you to say hi. 



Matt Morgan

Maryland House of Delegates

I hope you find supporting our campaign a worthwhile investment.  I can assure you any dollar donated will be spent prudently.  I appreciate your support. ~ Matt