The 444th Legislative Session has drawn to a close. This year has brought substantive results for Cecil County. We were able to reduce taxes, deliver funding for several local capital initiatives, and “Re-Fund the Police” through Governor Hogan’s budget. There is still much more work to do in the future, and I look forward to the challenge over the next four years. As an 8-year member of the Ways & Means Committee working on tax policy, I was proud to deliver relief for retirees after several years of advocacy. We passed a $1.86 billion tax relief deal for Maryland retirees, public safety employees, small businesses, and low-income families. Combined with the recent gas tax suspension, we delivered nearly $2 billion in tax relief over the next five years. This is a good start, but we need bolder action from General Assembly leadership to make Maryland a tax-friendlier state. I offered an amendment to extend the gas tax holiday to 90 days, but it was rejected. While this was a welcomed first step of relief for motorists, it is akin to pouring a water bottle on a structure fire. I am disappointed HB-144, which I proudly cosponsored, was never brought up for a vote. This would have repealed the automatic tax increase on gas when the CPI goes up. If I had my way, I would repeal the gas tax altogether since it is one of the most regressive taxes in existence, and unfairly affects folks in rural areas. Our office was able to pass several bills dealing with both local and State policy. HB-658/SB679 will ensure the Fair Hill horseracing facility will receive proper funding so we can continue to host world-class events such as the Maryland Five Star. HB-644/SB-900 was introduced and passed at the request of local watermen to repeal outdated netting restrictions in Cecil County. Our first responders are facing several challenges in the field, including appropriate funding to confront modern emergencies. HB-44/SB-295 will provide a long overdue increase in EMS transport reimbursements, now including calls for service where a patient is not transported to a hospital. I have been working with EMS and volunteer fire advocates on this issue for over four years, and am happy to report that for the first time since 1999 that this reimbursement rate will be increased. HB-1285/SB-604 will benefit blue-collar workers by further streamlining the landmark electrician licensing reform we were able to pass last year. This brings the apprentice, journeyman, and master licensing structure for electricians in-line with other trades, and allows for easier cross-jurisdictional work. HB-582/SB-59 enacts several reforms in response to the ongoing EZ Pass problem including broader payment flexibility, a streamlined reimbursement process, and more remediable collection practices. Some of our bills unfortunately did not pass this year, but we hope to revisit many of those next session. There is still more work to do for our farmers, businesses, police, first-responders, and working families. Cecil County Budget Highlights Port Deposit VFW Post 8185 Capital Improvements - $92,000 Historic Turkey Point Lighthouse Renovations - $100,000 New Police Shooting Range - $1,000,000 NorthBay Education Center - $2,300,000 Elk Neck State Park Water Treatment Plant - $3,394,000 Community Parks & Playgrounds - $1,500,000 Bainbridge Site Capital Redevelopment - $7,500,000 Additional School Improvement Fund - $96,024 Cecil County Health Department Capital Improvement - $300,000 Additionally, this year’s budget includes money for local schools, police, EMS, and other essential services that will benefit our citizens. Cecil County will receive $154.7 million in direct aid from the State, reflecting a 2.1% increase from last year. This year’s budget also supports public safety and victims of crime through the Governor’s “Re-Fund the Police” initiative; expands Medicaid dental coverage for adults, in-home medical care, and autism services; helps families by expanding access to child care; provides bonuses for public school staff; increases student aid at higher education institutions; spurs local economies and job opportunities through capital funds for school construction, affordable rental housing, state facility maintenance, and local transportation infrastructure; and includes defense investments against the growing threat of cyber-attacks. I am pleased to announce that a new State Park will be coming to Cecil County through SB-541, the Great Maryland Outdoors Act. The Port of Deposit State Park will encompass the Historic Tome School campus and the Snow Hill Archeological site along with the adjacent conservation wooded area. It is important that we preserve this parcel as a State Park to maintain open space, local history, and Cecil County’s natural beauty. By the end of the year, the Bainbridge Development Corporation will transfer the property to DNR for all of our citizens to enjoy. After twenty years under lock and key, we can finally enjoy this outdoor treasure. I opposed several bad bills which will regretfully be passing into law. SB-528, the Maryland Green New Deal, will put numerous undue burdens on the private sector to go carbon neutral by an arbitrary deadline. The bill also picks winners and losers in the energy and transportation industries. HB-937 drastically expands abortion access in Maryland, and mandates that abortion services be covered cost-free by health insurers, while other medical operations such as cancer treatment, critical surgeries, and even childbirth are not covered. I am pro-life, and believe this bill is abhorrent. HB-425/SB-387 is an anti-2A “ghost gun” bill that will criminalize several firearm parts, ultimately hurting gunsmiths, enthusiasts, and law-abiding gun owners. I strongly voted NO. I originally ran for office to stand up for Second Amendment rights, and will continue to do so going forward. Period. While work in Annapolis is both exciting and important, I have found resolving the issues brought forward by our constituents to be the most meaningful. Our office has been able to assist numerous citizens with pressing problems, including with the unemployment disaster and the ongoing problem with EZ-Pass charges. We are here to serve you should there ever be a problem with government that you can’t solve. The District 35 Team consists of Delegate Mike Griffith, Delegate Teresa Reilly, Senator Jason Gallion, and myself. Please do not hesitate to reach out to any of our offices in the future should you need to do so. It has been a privilege to serve as your delegate again this session. Thank you.