What You’ll Want to Know for the Final Week (April 6, 2016)


Dear Friends:
This is the final week before the session ends Monday at midnight.  We had almost 3,000 bills introduced in the General Assembly this year.  Despite long days, the jam-packed 90-day session is satisfying when thoughtful legislation is drafted, debated, and enacted. 
Turning Bills into Laws
When legislation goes to the Governor’s desk, he can either sign it into law, not sign (and let it become law), or veto the bill.  This week he signed three and vetoed one.  Among those he signed was the “Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reduction Act,” of which I am proud to be a co-sponsor.  This new law will reduce emissions from 2006 levels by 25% by 2020 and 40% by 2030.
Achieving Transparency
Unfortunately, Governor Hogan vetoed the “Open Transportation Investment Decision Act.”  This bill would improve transparency in Maryland’s transportation funding process.  It establishes objective evaluation criteria to prioritize projects around the State.  I expect that we will be voting to override the veto before adjournment.   
Supporting Maryland Students
To enable Maryland residents, especially low-income residents, to invest in college education, the Senate passed the “College Affordability Act.”  It creates a refundable tax credit of up to $5,000 for student debt.  This will help provide Marylanders with the necessary resources to get an undergraduate education.  (And don’t forget that the deadline is approaching for my Senatorial Scholarship.  If you are a resident of District 17, apply today!)
Still Pending in these Final Days    
Here are a few issues you might want to monitor:
  • Ensuring paid sick leave.  Employees should not be penalized when they fall ill or need to care for sick relatives.  Not only is this beneficial to employees, but it’s not in the public interest for sick people to infect their colleagues and customers.
  • Reaching a compromise between the Senate and House versions of the “Justice Reinvestment Act.”  This bill would save many millions of taxpayer dollars while starting to address disparities in the sentencing of non-violent drug offenders.
  • Considering the issue of fantasy sports gaming.  What kind of oversight is needed?  Should the issue be presented to voters as a referendum?
  • Expanding voter registration to include those doing business with State agencies while getting health benefits, a hunting license, or registering for college classes.
  • Confronting the heroin crisis.  Finding the best way to prevent cases of abuse and overdose, possibly through new hospital procedures.  
On the Senate floor with 
my Senate colleagues
When session ends, I look forward to spending time back in my district.  I appreciate the opportunity to speak at schools; tour local businesses; and visit non-profits.  If you are involved with an organization that is doing good in our community, be sure to let me know! 
To stay connected through social media, please check out my FacebookTwitter, or Instagram pages. You can get details on Senatorial Scholarships, District 17 issues, and events in Annapolis on my website. Any questions or comments can be directed to my legislative email.
Cheryl C. Kagan
State Senator, District 17
Rockville & Gaithersburg
P.S.  Later this month, I will be participating in a Multiple Sclerosis Walk-a-Thon. Would you consider supporting my efforts with a donation of any size?  Many thanks!