July 9, 2020
Despite the beautiful weather and slow return to a new normal, please remember that the threat of the Coronavirus is still present. It is important to continue covering your face in public and practice social distancing to keep yourself and others safe!
Expecting a Disastrous November Election
Marylanders should expect yet another method of voting in November’s crucial election. Governor Hogan’s ill-advised Executive Order placed party politics over the health and safety of poll workers and voters. Under his order, not only could we have an expensive, complicated, and confusing election, but Maryland could also have a spike in COVID cases as a result. In response, I wrote a piece in Maryland Matters that outlines my grave concerns. It is deeply disappointing that Hogan ignored the wisdom of our local election experts and voting rights organizations like Common Cause and the League of Women Voters.
Turning Point for Unemployment Insurance
As you know, nightmarish delays occurred while the Department of Labor tried to process the avalanche of COVID-related unemployment claims. My staff and I worked diligently to address every constituent complaint. A new computer vendor and inadequately trained staff caused delays of a month or more. For most folks, this meant urgent challenges in meeting financial commitments.
Last week, there was finally some good news. Labor Secretary Robinson announced that 96% of the total filed claims had been processed. She also reported that the Department paid out over $3.6 billion to those who have filed for benefits. Most of the Gaithersburg and Rockville residents who contacted my office have now been sent the money they are owed.
Meeting Virtually to Save Lives
Yesterday, I convened the Next Generation 9-1-1 Commission I chair for the third year of our work. We have a long agenda as we seek to continue improving Maryland’s emergency response system. You can watch the meeting on my YouTube page and find the materials on my website.
Legislating During a Pandemic
The Maryland Association of Counties (MACo) recently interviewed me on its Conduit Street Podcast. We touched on a wide range of hot topics ranging from my work on Next Generation 9-1-1, Unemployment Insurance, telehealth, our upcoming elections, and much more. I was honored to be the FIRST legislator to be featured on the podcast! Check it out if you can.
Supporting Nonprofits During the Pandemic
Another victim of the Coronavirus is often overlooked: nonprofit organizations. As I feared when the initial shutdown began, this sector has already seen a reduction in donations by 6%. If this trend continues, the industry could be facing a loss of over $25 billion by the end of 2020. Earlier this year, I sent a letter to Gov. Hogan requesting that he reconsider Unemployment Insurance fees for nonprofits and local governments. It is important that these organizations are supported during this time of crisis. I encourage you to make a donation to a local cause whose mission motivates you!
Cheryl C. Kagan
State Senator, District 17
(Gaithersburg & Rockville)
PS: I’d like to remind you that the deadline to get health insurance through Maryland Health Connection is Wednesday, July 15th. It is imperative that during this crisis everyone is covered!