A Blizzard of Bills! (Jan. 26, 2016)

What an memorable weekend it was as the “Great Blizzard of 2016” hit us hard.  I hope you are staying safe. 
Canceling District 17 Night in Annapolis
Unfortunately, due to the weather, we had to cancel our reception last night.  I regret that I wasn’t able to see constituents who were planning to visit Annapolis.  It is too challenging to reschedule the event for this year, but I hope you will consider coming to the State House another time during the 90-day legislative session.  Let’s hope for a less snowy night when we can welcome you in 2017!

Photo courtesy of  france24.com
Thanking Those Who Keep Us Safe
When a storm like this one occurs, dedicated men and women work tirelessly to keep us safe.  From public works to emergency services, we should never take for granted the time and effort that goes into keeping our streets clear and keeping us out of harm’s way.
Crafting Legislation
Last week, I had committee hearings for my first two bills.  Hearings are a vital step in the legislative process and offers an opportunity for experts, lawmakers, and the public to learn about and discuss specific bills. 
Providing Fertility Parity
A former Delegate and Marine, Judge Devlin testified on behalf of the veterans who  would benefit from SB 1.
Last week, I convened a panel of doctors, fertility advocates, and veterans to testify on behalf of   SB 1. W itnesses explained how this bill would guarantee reimbursement for needed treatment for infertile married couples; close a loophole in existing law, and care for our wounded veterans.  I will keep you updated as to the progress on this bill. 
Focusing on Fiscal Responsibility
Another important consideration when evaluating legislation is a bill’s Fiscal Note.  These reports offer non-partisan analysis of the function and cost of legislation. 
Improving Language Access
SB 28  mandates translation on State agency websites for any language spoken by at least 3% of Marylanders.  This bill passed the Senate 39-8 last year but did not get a vote in the House.  During the interim, I met with many Cabinet Secretaries and agency directors to encourage them to update their websites for all Maryland residents.  I always suggested the use of no-cost online applications, like Google Translate, and fortunately the Department of Information Technology agreed.  The Fiscal Note was released last week, and the estimated cost of SB 28 is  now ZERO!
The witnesses who endorsed SB 28, my “Language Access” bill, represent a wide variety of organizations. 

You can follow the legislative process and keep up-to-date with news from Annapolis and District 17 through my  Facebook page at  State Senator Cheryl C. Kagan , on Twitter at @CherylKagan , and on Instagram at  @CherylCKagan .  Also, be sure to check out my website at www.CherylKagan.org.  

Cheryl C. Kagan
State Senator, District 17
Rockville & Gaithersburg
P.S. I’m happy to report that the Senate voted to override five of Governor Hogan’s vetoes from last year.  The sixth and final veto override vote is scheduled for February 5th, when a vacancy will be filled and there will be a full complement of Senators.