Dear Friends:

Spring is here, and the 2014 legislative session wrapped up on April 8th, and like John Denver sang: "Hey, it's good to be back home again."

It was wonderful to see so many friends and neighbors from back home come up to visit with us and watch the Assembly this year. Your thoughts and ideas are a crucial tool to help me effectively be your voice in Annapolis. The legislature was honored to host and give proclamations to the three Teachers of the Year from Somerset, Wicomico, and Worcester County. We also held our annual "Taste of the Eastern Shore" dinner during the session so we could show off our great local cuisine to the rest of Maryland.

Overall, we had a successful session for the Eastern Shore. I am happy to let you know that several the bills I sponsored this year were passed by the General Assembly and are waiting to be signed by Governor O'Malley. On the morning of April 8th, the Governor signed SB 641, the Kathleen A. Mathias Oral Chemotherapy Improvement Act of 2014 into law. The bill will give patients peace-of-mind because insurance companies will now have to provide the same level of coverage to oral chemotherapy that they provide to other forms of chemotherapy.

By working together, we were able to pass SB 440, which will allow Somerset County to create a service award program for members of volunteer fire departments, ambulance companies, and rescue squads. These brave men and women selflessly volunteer their time and abilities to keep our communities safe and it is important that we give back to them any way we can.

I was able to work with my Senate and House of Delegates colleagues to get an amendment added to the state budget requiring that before the phosphorous management tool can be implemented, an economic impact study will be conducted so that state lawmakers can fully understand the impact that the PMT will have on our farmers.

You can see the status of all the legislation I sponsored or co-sponsored by clicking here.

This year's state budget included $45 million for construction of a new library at Salisbury University, $60.75 million of the new Aviation and Science Building at UMES, $3 million for renovations to the shock trauma center in Baltimore, $7.6 million for oyster restoration programs, $7.65 million for construction of the new Bennett Middle School, and $1.55 million for the new Crisfield library. While there were items in the budget that I do not agree with, these are just some of the many positive items for our community and our state in the bill, which made me feel comfortable about voting for the budget. These items allow us to see our tax dollars at work directly in our community.

Because of the limited time frame and the volume of legislation that the assembly sees during the 90-day session, it can take more than one session to get a bill passed. I will continue to work next session to pass my bill to enhance intersection safety across the state, to create incentives for farmers that use chicken litter as a renewable energy source, and to have our state honor our veterans who haven't come home yet by flying the POW/MIA flag at state buildings.

As you know this is an election year, and I ask you for your continued support and vote. I remain energized and dedicated to the future of our families and communities. By continuing to work together, we will achieve great things for the Lower Shore. I need your help; sign up today and join us as a member of Team Mathias by clicking here. Your help assures our success together in this campaign and a brighter future on the Shore.

Working for you in the Maryland State Senate is the privilege of a lifetime. Please continue to share your thoughts and ideas with me, and know that I am always available to be of assistance; you can reach our Annapolis office at 800-492-7122 (ex. 3645) or 410-841-3645, our district office at 410-352-3096, or by email at james.mathias@senate.state.md.us.

Always working for you, and together getting the job done,
Jim




 
 
   
 

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