We have adjourned! (April 12, 2018)

April 12, 2018
Dear Friend:
After a long, stressful, and sometimes divided 90-day legislative session, the General Assembly has now adjourned. I am grateful for the honor of representing Gaithersburg, Rockville, and independent-minded progressives around the state. I especially want to thank those who took time to tweet, email, call, or visit me about issues that are important to you. Your feedback helps me represent District 17. Next week, I will share more detailed thoughts about our accomplishments, but I wanted to update you on some of our last minute actions.
Providing Benefits for 9-1-1 Call Takers… Less Than an Hour Before Adjournment!
Literally in the final hour before adjournment, the Senate and House unanimously approved SB1053. Part of my 9-1-1 package of bills, it will allow counties the option of extending benefits to our emergency call-takers so as to address our recruitment and retention problems.
Spotlight: Overriding the Governor’s Veto on School Funding
Following Governor Hogan’s veto of the 21st Century School Facilities Act, the General Assembly reemphasized our commitment to changing the allocation process by overriding his veto. For decades, decisions have been made by the Board of Public Works at demeaning “beg-a-thons.” Instead, this bill creates a panel of education experts to make these decisions.
Protecting Vulnerable Renters
A few weeks ago, I told you about a Senate bill that would have made it easier and faster for landlords to evict tenants they consider “dangerous.” Because there was no clear definition or guidelines, many of us feared that vulnerable populations could have been targeted. Working with the Public Justice Center, Jews United for Justice, The Montgomery County Renters’ Alliance, the NAACP, and the Office of the Attorney General, we were able to amend the bill in the Senate and eventually kill it for the year. Perhaps a more balanced bill will be proposed next year.
Hosting Visitors in Annapolis!
In the midst of the craziness of session, it’s always fun to welcome constituents, activists, and friends to the Senate!
Rev. Lukata Mjumbe is a friend and former teen intern of mine! He accepted my invitation to deliver the invocation to the Senate. Haley Skarupa visited after she won the Olympic gold medal as a member of the U.S. Women’s Hockey Team. Fatema Dariani volunteered on my first House campaign eons ago. She came to ‘shadow’ me for a day.
Thanks to My Team!
Our 90-day sessions are frenetic and demanding. I depend on my dedicated team of staff and volunteers to get things done. Pictured are Chief of Staff Katherine (“Kat”) Donnelly, Legislative Aide Ron Zucker, intern Owoade Ayorinde, and Legacy Fellow Sheldon Fishman. Not pictured, but no less valuable, are Justin Fiore, my former Chief of Staff; and legislative fellows Howard Diamond and Frank McLaughlin.
Attorney General Brian Frosh Joins Census Lawsuit
Maryland’s Attorney General Brian Frosh has announced that he intends to join 17 other states in filing a lawsuit to block the federal government from including a question about citizenship status on the 2020 census. In the current political climate, I worry that non-citizens will be intimidated from participating. Because important programs, from funding for social programs to redistricting, are linked to census results, an “under-count” could be costly for our state! This is especially concerning in diverse mid-Montgomery County. As this innovative map shows, 20% of District 17 is comprised of foreign-born, non-citizens– compared to about 7.5% statewide.
Look out for my end-of-session letter, describing our work since January, in your mailbox and/or inbox next week! You can also follow me on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram for photos and posts. Please check my website for information about internships, Senatorial Scholarships, and more. And, you can always send questions or comments to me via email.
Cheryl C. Kagan
State Senator, District 17
(Rockville & Gaithersburg)
P.S.: Do you live in Gaithersburg or Rockville and support my work? Please request a lawn sign here!