March 6, 2020
As we prepare to “Spring Forward” this Sunday for Daylight Savings Time, I hope you enjoy this email reflecting on our week here in Annapolis.
Banning Toxic Chlorpyrifos
The pesticide Chlorpyrifos has been proven to cause brain damage in children, harm our environment, and kill wildlife. Despite this evidence and the recommendations of respected scientists, the Trump Administrationhas allowed the continued use of this harmful substance on crops, buildings, and even golf courses.
I’ve co-sponsoredSB300, which bans the widespread use of this dangerous chemical. The Senate voted 31-14 to pass this bill, and we are waiting on action in the House. Three states have already banned this product; I am hopeful that Maryland will act swiftly to protect the health and well-being of our residents, visitors, and ecosystem.
Three Montgomery County residents have been diagnosed with Coronavirus. The General Assembly and the Governor are working with local officials to give the attention and funding needed to ensure that Marylanders are protected. Please be sure that you are practicing careful hygiene, washing your hands thoroughly and regularly and always coughing or sneezing into your elbow– not your hands.
Kudos to the brilliantall-female team of scientists at Gaithersburg’s own Novavax Lab, who are working overtime on a Coronavirus vaccine. Obviously, this is an enormously important endeavor, as our nation faces a significant health threat from the virus. I’m proud to represent these women, who are doing such vitally important work.
Enhancing Public Safety
As the Chair of the Next Generation 9-1-1 Commission, I’m sponsoring six bills to implement our 25 recommendations. The Judicial Proceedings Committee heardSB837, which would increase penalties for “swatting,” the dangerous and costly abuse of emergency systems. Just last summer, Leonard Pitts was at his Bowie home when police showed up, ordered him to his knees, and handcuffed him. It was later explained that a caller had reported a murder at his address. We need harsher penalties for those who intentionally and maliciously misuse 9-1-1 dispatch and police resources.
SB838, our Omnibus bill, encompasses several important advancements from the NG911 Commission. One of the key updates requires additional training and mental health support for our “First First Responders,” the 9-1-1 Specialists. These heroic public safety personnel need to be prepared for the addition of text and video messages, which are challenging new components of Next Generation 9-1-1.
“Bringing Home the Bacon”
As your State Senator, I work hard to provide funding for worthy projects in my district. I am delighted to sponsor a bill on behalf ofVisArts, a nonprofit that has enriched and connected our community for over 30 years. We are seeking funds for much-needed repairs to their facility. (As you may recall, their “VisAbility” program was one of my five UnNaugural beneficiaries.)
Gaithersburg won a $1,000,000 State grant for an urgently needed new police station near City Hall last year. At a hearing tomorrow, we’ll be working to secure an additional $1,000,000 from the Fiscal Year 2021 Capital Budget.
Every Friday afternoon during session, I air a Facebook Live report from Annapolis. You can watch previous videos here. 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.: As you may recall, I announced my endorsement of Mike Bloomberg in January. When he bowed out of the campaign and endorsed former Vice President Joe Biden, I did the same. I’m hoping that we can all work together to elect an experienced, inclusive, and thoughtful President in November!