January 17, 2020
The Senate just completed its first full week. Here are some highlights.
Honoring Past Senate Leaders
We began the second week of Session with a beautiful tribute. Portraits of late State Senator Verda Welcome and former Senate President Mike Miller were hung in the Senate chamber and revealed Monday night. Senator Welcome was elected to the Maryland State Senate in 1963– the very first African-American woman in the country elected to serve in that position. President Emeritus Miller, who holds the record for being the longest-serving Senate President in the country, had dozens of family members on hand for the surprise. I was deeply moved by the ceremony and am honored to be serving at such a historic time.
Spotlight: Strengthening Our Public Schools
The Education, Health and Environmental Affairs Committee (“EHEA”) was briefed on the recommendations from the Maryland Commission on Innovation and Excellence in Education (known as the Kirwan Commission). Their report recommends significant investments in Maryland’s public school system in order to dramatically improve our public schools. Our goal is to return our education system to the top in the nation. EHEA will be holding hearings on the proposed legislation and diving deeply into the details of the legislation. The Kirwan Commission will be a defining issue of the 2020 session, and I will update you regularly in these weekly missives.
Briefings to Prepare for Bill Hearings
Also this week in EHEA, members were briefed on a variety of interesting topics including:
- Environmental Justice and Sustainable Communities;
- The job-creating Port of Baltimore, 9th in the nation in cargo volume;
- Sunset evaluations for both the State Board of Professional Counselors and Therapists and the State Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners; and
- An update on the status of the Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reduction Act.
Accounting for our 9-1-1 Revenues
On Wednesday, I testified on SB61, my emergency legislation regarding NG911 Fee Audits. Phone service providers collect 9-1-1 fees. But there has been a troubling lack of oversight on the collection and remittance. My bill (endorsed by the 9-1-1 Commission I chair) would authorize the Comptroller to audit telephone companies in order to ensure that Maryland’s emergency systems receive essential funding. This is just the first of the six 9-1-1 bills I’m sponsoring this session based on our 2019 NG 9-1-1 Commission Report.
Looking For Something Fun To Do
Tomorrow Night for 5 Worthy Causes?
The 4th and final UnNaugural Concert is tomorrow night! Once again, I’ll be hosting five performers (featuring Tom Chapin raising funds for five organizations. This year’s beneficiaries work on literacy, conflict resolution, death with dignity, arts for people with disabilities, and separation of church and State.
Stay connected with all my work in Annapolis through social media! You can also follow me on Facebook, Twitter, 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
(Gaithersburg & Rockville)
P.S.: From education activists to firefighters, I love welcoming constituents from MoCo to Annapolis. Let me know if you’d like to visit?