Ballots, Bands, and the Bay!

January 24, 2020
Dear Friend:
The 4th and final UnNaugural Concert was a terrific success. Each January since the Trump inauguration, I have featured five performers raising funds for five progressive causes. We have come together as a community to lift each other up in these bizarre and often depressing times. Through the UnNaugural concert series, we’ve helped 20 nonprofit and advocacy organizations whose missions have been among the most threatened by this Administration’s policies. From women’s reproductive choice to climate change, poverty, gun control, affordable housing, and suicide prevention, we have showcased groups that are making a difference in our community and our country. I’ll post videos soon on the website.
Spotlight: 2020– The Year of the Woman
It was just 100 years ago that women earned the right to vote. For the past few years, I have served on the Commission to Commemorate the 19th Amendment. Last month, the Governor proclaimed 2020 as the “Year of the Woman.” On Tuesday, I was honored to introduce the Commission on the Senate floor and highlight the our accomplishments to date. Stay tuned for more information on the Commission’s work and upcoming events!
Reforming Our Election Laws
This week, before the Education, Health, and Environmental Affairs Committee (“EHEA”), I testified on SB33, my bill that would make our absentee ballots postage-paid. Groups that joined me, endorsing my bill, were Common Cause, the ACLU, and the League of Women Voters.
Next week, my committee will hear 3 more election reform bills I’m sponsoring:
SB56 – Ensures that ballot questions and summaries are written at a sixth-grade level; 
SB89 – Creates a requirement that new voting machines accommodate potential alternative methods of voting, including Ranked Choice Voting (RCV); and 
SB91 – Requires inmates to be informed of their voting rights as they return to society. 
Please let me (or your legislators, if you don’t live in D/17) know your thoughts on these bills!
Overriding Hogan Vetoes
Last year, the General Assembly passed legislation strengthening gun background checks; safeguarding our oysters; increasing funding for bikeways; and expanding in-state tuition for “Dreamers.” Unfortunately, Governor Hogan vetoed these and other bills after we adjourned. Next week, I plan to join my Senate colleagues in overriding the Governor’s misguided vetoes.
Treasuring the Chesapeake
I was delighted to speak at the UMD Center for Environmental Science (UMCES) legislative reception. Their unbiased research on water quality is essential for legislators to make informed decisions about environmental policy. Their scientists briefed EHEA on the State of the Chesapeake Bay, a natural treasure that defines Maryland. My Committee will continue to hear legislative proposals to improve the health of the Bay. I’ll report again on this critical topic.
Please stay connected throughout the 2020 Legislative Session. You can 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
(Gaithersburg & Rockville)
P.S.: Maryland’s 2020 presidential primary election is coming soon. Keep an eye on my “Sen. Cheryl Kagan” Facebook page for an announcement regarding my 2020 presidential preference.