Budget, BOAST, & Behind the Scenes (March 16, 2016)


Advancing District 17 and All of Maryland
We are now in the final month before adjournment “Sine Die” on April 11th.  Things are busy!

Advocating for funding for Olde Towne Gaithersburg
(Photo credit: Sen. Bill Ferguson!)
On Saturday, my bond bills were presented: one for Olde Towne Park Plaza in Gaithersburg and another for the Rockville Swim and Fitness Center.  Additionally, my Driving Under the Influence of Drugs (DUID) and Gas Sign Clarity bills will have Senate hearings this week.
Of highest priority each year is the debate over our State Budget.  Many will be relieved to learn that Gov. Hogan’s supplemental budget includes funding for the Universities at Shady Grove. USG is an important institution that offers valuable educational opportunities for the entire region.  
Supporting Public Money Just for Public Schools
I am deeply concerned by the BOAST Bill, which would provide tax credits to large corporations for donations mostly to private schools.  I took my objections to the Senate floor.  You can hear the audio here.  I proposed two amendments: one to strengthen anti-discrimination protection and the other to require annual reports to ensure greater transparency and accountability. Unfortunately, the sponsor opposed all 7 proposed amendments (including mine).  Fundamentally, I believe that public money should be spent on public schools!
Starting the day with my invocation.
Combining Faith and Politics
Last Friday, I delivered the invocation for the Senate.  It was my honor to set the tone for our day’s work.  I concluded with a message of unity: “Whatever our party, ideology, gender, or geography, it is our faith and commitment to helping our State that should guide us.” You can hear the entire Senate floor session here.  My invocation begins at the 1 minute, 50 second mark. 
Defeated but Not Done!
8 months ago, I began working on legislation in honor of the late Carl Henn.  After Carl was struck by lightning in a Rockville park, his friends called 9-1-1 but received only busy signals. “Carl Henn’s Law” would have updated our 9-1-1 call centers and required analyses to be more frequent, standardized, and shared with relevant officials.  Another bill would have improved our 9-1-1 services by enabling existing funding to be spent on vital planning as technology changes. Although there was no opposition to either bill at the hearing, the committee voted to kill them both.  I am ready to continue this effort in the next legislative session.
Uniting Business and Government
Last week was Rockville Economic Development, Inc.’s (REDI) “Business Appreciation Week.”  It was a pleasure see how local government and businesses can work together and strengthen one another. 
Stay in touch with me through my Facebook page, my Twitter account, and my Instagram. For information on upcoming legislation and special events visit my website.  If you have any questions or comments, feel free to email me.
Cheryl C. Kagan
State Senator, District 17
Rockville & Gaithersburg

P.S.  After collecting donations at my most recent Folk ‘N Great Music concert, I delivered 118 pounds of food to Manna Food Center.  Please consider supporting our local nonprofit organizations, whose work makes such a huge difference!