As I complete my eighth year in the House of Delegates, I am grateful for the privilege of serving the citizens of District 11. Throughout the years I have come to rely on the advice and guidance of constituents like you, who understand the importance of taking the time to share concerns, comments, and suggestions with me and my colleagues. Let me share some highlights and tell you about some of the issues I focused on this year.
This legislative session has been fraught with challenges and difficult decisions. The tragic events of September 11th have affected the way we look at many things. It changed the economic climate of the nation and caused state legislatures to reconsider and prioritize expenditures and confront new issues of security and public safety.
During the time that I have served as a delegate, this year's budget has been the most challenging to pass. Everyone who has contacted me had legitimate and justified positions, and I have tried my best to incorporate the views of District 11 constituents.
In these uncertain economic times, I feel that it is incumbent to try to find creative methods to increase efficiencies at all levels. That is why I am so pleased to let you know that my bill HB 492 -School Buying Consortium has passed the Legislature. It will enable schools across Maryland, both public and private, to join together voluntarily to receive better prices on supplies through volume purchasing. Savings are estimated to be over $20 million per year Statewide and about $2 million to Baltimore County. Regardless of the economic climate, providing quality educational opportunities to all is vitally important.
Healthcare issues continue to be of great importance. There are too many people who struggle with every aspect of the system. The proposed conversion of CareFirst/Blue Cross-Blue Shield to for-profit status has full public attention. I am not convinced that this change would benefit Marylanders. Instead a group of already highly paid executives (75 are slated to split over $35 million in bonuses) stands to realize personal profits while those insured by the "Blues" will most likely see higher premiums and reduced benefits. HB 141 would probihit any personal profiteering by executives of the company, and there are numerous other bills addressing this subject.
In response to a 16 year old constituent who wanted to give blood after the September11 terrorist attacks and was told that he was too young, I introduced HB 210 - a bill that would lower the age to donate blood from 17 to16 years of age with parental consent. This bill has passed the House and Senate and was supported by medical groups and Maryland Association of Student Councils.
Just as important as personal health is environmental health. HB 301 will preserve and protect the Atlantic Coastal Bays by extending to these critical areas many of the protections Maryland gives to the Chesapeake Bay. HB 659 continues efforts to reduce sewage spills into streams, rivers and the Bay, and HB 617 will protect forever thousands of acres of forest wildlands.
I am happy to report that Baltimore County has made a formal request to the State of Maryland to reserve a tract of land at the Rosewood site for possible use as a middle school for the growing Owings Mills area. Improvements to the Reisterstown Road interchange of I-695 continue on schedule, and plans to alleviate congestion on Owings Mills Boulevard are being finalized.
On all these issues, I am pleased to work with my 11th District colleagues, Senator Paula Hollinger, and Delegates Robert Zirkin and Michael Finifter.
I will be returning to my job as an Emergency Medicine physician at Sinai and University of Maryland. Again, I want to thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts with me. I am grateful that you have put your faith and trust in me. Please feel free to contact me any time either at 410.581.8712 or via my website www.drdanmorhaim.com.
Dan K. Morhaim, M.D.
Delegate, District 11
P.S. On April 21st at 8 PM Maryland Public Television (MPT) will broadcast my wife Shelley's movie, The Next Industrial Revolution. I hope you'll be able to watch this interesting and important film.