I hope you have been able to stay warm and safe with all the recent snow and frigid temperatures.
First, I’d like to remind you to come to our District 17 Night in Annapolis TOMORROW (Monday, February 23rd) at 5:30 pm. To learn more and RSVP, please click here.
As promised last week, I am writing to report on some of my legislative initiatives.
Some Bills I’ve Introduced
I am the primary sponsor of several pieces of common-sense legislation and have co-sponsored dozens more that will benefit the residents of District 17 and the State of Maryland.
Organ Donation: Did you know that Maryland ranks 27th among states in the percentage of residents who have committed to be organ donors? We can do better, and SB415 will address that issue and help to save lives. This bill will allow residents to register at places other than the Motor Vehicle Administration (MVA). It seems logical to sign people up at big moments in their lives– such as when they are getting a marriage license or registering their wills. The bill will also make the heart insignia printed on Maryland driver’s licenses optional, which may be a disincentive to some Marylanders. The hearing on this bill is March 10th; please let me know if you would like to testify or weigh in to help its passage.
Access to State Government for All: Very few of our state agency websites are accessible to people who don’t speak English as their primary language. My bill, SB758 would mandate that any language spoken by at least 3% of our residents must be included on official websites. Translating hundreds of pages into other languages (currently just Spanish, according to the most recent Census) sounds like a lot of work, doesn’t it? But it is really quite simple. There are free widgets that can be added to any site, and the pages are instantly translated. (You can use my website as an example; it took less than 5 minutes to update!) I think that government should work for all people, and language accessibility is a key component.
Health Care Parity: Now that Maryland has enacted marriage equality for same-sex couples, I am seeking to align our insurance laws. SB416 would allow married female insurance customers to receive equivalent fertility benefits as those mandated for married heterosexual couples. We are working with insurance providers to craft this bill as narrowly as possible so as to provide equal protection and avoid costly litigation.
Supporting Local Projects: I have sponsored three bills that would provide funding for worthy local community initiatives. Gaithersburg is thoughtfully renovating Bohrer Park and is almost ready to begin construction. Rockville’s F. Scott Fitzgerald Theatre needs state support for its much-needed repairs. And, all Montgomery County Senators joined me in a bill to win funds to rehabilitate group homes for residents with physical and intellectual limitations to be ADA-compliant.
Don’t forget… My excellent staff is ready to hear your opinions on pending legislation or resolve any issues you may have with a state agency. You can call toll-free at 301/858-3134 or email me at Cheryl.Kagan@senate.state.
md.us. In addition, I am active on social media and can be found on Facebook at State Senator Cheryl C. Kagan, on Twitter at @CherylKagan, and on Instagram at @CherylCKagan. Just remember– Spring is just a few weeks away…
Cheryl C. Kagan
State Senator, District 17
Rockville & Gaithersburg
PS: I hope you will join us for our “District 17 Night in Annapolis” tomorrow at 5:30 pm!