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2010 Legislative Summary Letter

 

 Health and Government Operations Committee
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Chair
Government Operations Subcommittee
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House Chair
Joint Committee on Health Care Delivery and Financing
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Joint Committee on Administrative, Executive, and Legislative Review
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Minority Health Disparities Subcommittee

 

Dan K. Morhaim, M.D.
Deputy  Majority Leader

  

 11th Legislative District
Baltimore County
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AnnapolisOffice
The Maryland House of Delegates
6 Bladen Street , room 362
Annapolis , Maryland 21401
410-841-3054
 1-800-492-7122 Ext.3054
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District Office
8 Park Center Court #100
Owings Mills , Maryland 2117-5609
410-581-8712
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Email dan.morhaim@house.state.md.us
 

 

April 16, 2010

 

 

Dear Friends,

Thank you for giving me the opportunity to represent you in the House of Delegates for the past sixteen years. I am honored to serve the 11th District of northwest Baltimore County with my teammates Bobby Zirkin, Jon Cardin, and Dana Stein. I would also like to express my gratitude to those of you who contacted me during this legislative session. Your opinions shape my perspective and votes, and I truly appreciate your involvement. 

This was a difficult year for many members of our community. The blizzard left most of us stranded in our homes, many without access to power, food, and other necessities. Then the water main break left thousands without clean water for days. During both events, schools and businesses were closed. Despite these difficulties, our community rose to the challenge. We saw neighbors helping one another and reaching out to total strangers as well. Let's build on the positives and make it a routine part of what we do on a daily basis.

There has been a great deal of discussion and concern regarding the fate of the Rosewood property. Working together, we have determined that Rosewood will become part of Stevenson University. Stevenson brings academics, sports, theater, movies, fine arts, as well as more economic activity to our community. This will be accomplished with the highest environmental standards. Having a vibrant four-year university in Owings Mills is a wonderful and defining asset that will distinguish northwest Baltimore County for decades to come.

In addition to addressing important community issues, the District 11 team won financial support for projects at the Hopewell Community Center, Owings Mills High School Stadium, Stevenson University, and Baltimore County Humane Society. These provide support for cancer victims, students, and animals while building and strengthening our community in general. Further, these are shovel-ready construction projects that bring jobs and business growth.

In the House of Delegates, I have two major roles. As Deputy Majority Leader and Chair of the Government Operations Subcommittee, I am responsible for evaluating hundreds of bills, as well as being the House floor manager for many of these. This involves coordinating and communicating with constituents, advocacy groups, and other legislators. It is a challenging, complex, and important job that I take most seriously.

I also introduced important legislation that passed with bi-partisan support. Information is available at http://mlis.state.md.us/. 

(KEY: HB=House Bill, SB=Senate Bill)
HB 147/SB 314 streamlines billing procedures for physicians and hospitals.
HB 224 promotes “greywater” recycling systems.
HB 250/SB 130 and HB 251/SB 131 help grow minority and women-owned businesses.
HB 292 facilitates the development of electronic medical records.
HB 323/SB 308 helps physician assistants and their role on the health care team.

Legislation I introduced regarding the medical use of marijuana (
HB 712/SB 627) got a great deal of attention. With these bills, I hoped to ensure that those with serious debilitating medical conditions not relieved by other treatments would have access to medical marijuana in a safe, responsible, and supervised way without increasing illegal use or compromising law enforcement. Working with others, we wrote a narrow bill that received overwhelming bi-partisan sponsorship from across the political spectrum. Additionally, the Department of Health, Board of Pharmacy, Maryland Nurses Association, Maryland Pharmacist’s Association, EPIC Pharmacies, United Seniors of Maryland, and the Baltimore Jewish Council supported this legislation, and supportive editorials appeared in the Baltimore Sun, Frederick Post, WBAL radio, and the Jewish Times. The bill passed the Senate 35-12, but stalled in the House and did not pass. 

Several other important pieces of legislation were passed by the General Assembly and will affect our community. 

Health 

HB 319/SB 484 clarifies and supports the role of nurse practitioners.
HB 1034/SB 633 gives a small but long overdue pay raise to those who care for the developmentally disabled.
HB 929/SB 855 takes important steps to establish patient centered medical homes.
HB 933/SB 328 protects people from “medical” bankruptcy in paying hospital bills.
HB 1564/SB 1125 positions the state to stabilize and grow its high-risk insurance program.
HB 1353/SB 1033 helps military health care personnel transition into civilian health care fields.

Public Safety

Highway SafetyHB 461/SB 51 helps protect bicyclists from accidents involving automobiles. 
SB 321 outlaws the use of hand-held cell phones while driving.

GangsHB 756/SB 517 increases the penalty for crimes committed by gang members.

Sex Offenders: HB 60/SB 618, HB 254/SB 622, HB 289/SB 620, HB 473/SB 280, HB 599, HB 811, HB 931/SB 856, HB 936/SB 854, HB 1046, HB 1053, and SB 559 are a package of bills to protect the public from sexual predators. These bills strengthen the registration requirements for sex offenders, require lifetime supervision of serious and repeat sex offenders, eliminate sentence-shortening “diminution credits” for certain categories of sex offenders, strengthen prohibitions against possessing or promoting child pornography, and reconstitute the Sex Offender Advisory Board. 


HB 1322/SB 542 and HB 283/ SB 261 start the long process of eliminating human trafficking and sex slavery.

Theft: HB 1174/SB 99 requires better record keeping by junk dealers and scrap metal processors to help stop theft of catalytic converters, copper pipes, gutters, etc.

Education

HB 243/SB 590 establishes a neutral public school labor relations board to resolve labor disputes.
HB 467/SB 275 provides for keeping longitudinal data on individual student performance.
HB 1160 is the Safe Schools Act that increases schools’ knowledge of juvenile offenders in their schools.
HB 1263/SB 899 is the Education Reform Act that will make Maryland more effective in competing for Race to the Top funds and also begin the third wave of education reform.

Environment

EnergyHB 464/SB 287 extends a tax credit for clean energy. 
HB 471/SB 277 improves solar energy standards and encourages the use of solar energy.

Project Funding: HB 474/SB 278 establishes the Maryland Sustainable Growth Commission. 
HB 943/SB 311 creates the Chesapeake Conservation Corps to fund projects that preserve, protect, and conserve the environment.

Hunting: A controversial bill that would allow deer hunting on certain Sundays in Baltimore County failed this year. After hearing that many of you were against Sunday hunting, I voted against this bill.

The Budget This is always one of the defining actions of every legislative session, as balancing pressing needs with available funds is a difficult process. Given the ongoing economic crisis, this year’s budget saw many reductions. We were able to maintain the necessary funding for spending on vital issues such as health, education, and public safety.
I continue to focus on identifying efficiencies and streamlining government, which saves money without raising taxes/fees or cutting important programs. 

This is an election year. I urge you to register and to vote. For more information, please contact the Baltimore County Board of Elections at 410-887-5700 and the State Board of Elections at 1-800-222-8683.

My full-time, part-time, and volunteer staff did an outstanding job. Mary Lou Cole, Jessica Stevens, Keshia Pollack, Clarence Lam, Shannon Frattaroli, Eliza Little, and Fang Fang Yin all worked hard to meet constituents’ needs.

Please stay in touch on any issue of concern to you.

Sincerely,

Delegate Dan Morhaim