Bringing a ‘Taste of District 17’ to Annapolis (February 2, 2017)
February 2, 2017
Thanks to everyone who joined us for District 17 Night in Annapolis. Your Delegates and I were glad to host you on Monday evening. If you missed it, you can read a bit and try to join us next year for policy, politics, delicious food, and activism when it is most needed!
Friends & Neighbors Visit the Capitol!
It was great fun to welcome activists and elected officials from Rockville and Gaithersburg. We were honored to be joined by many of our House and Senate colleagues from across the state, as well as Prince George’s County Executive Rushern Baker.
Rockville’s own Dawson’s Market created a ‘Taste of District 17’ buffet that reflected the culinary and ethnic diversity of our district.
Following speeches that summarized our respective legislative agendas, we led our guests to the Senate and House chambers, where we could welcome everyone as they watched us in action.
We hope that even more of our constituents will join us next year!
Prohibiting Fracking in Maryland
After strategic conversations with several Senate leaders, I have signed on as a co-sponsor of the bill to ban fracking. As I told many constituents on Monday, my initial hesitation came from concerns that Governor Larry Hogan could be inclined to veto a ban. If the legislature doesn’t have enough votes to override the veto, fracking could begin in Western Maryland. I am now cautiously confident that leaders in the General Assembly will work hard to achieve a veto override if one is needed.
Banning Harmful Polystyrene Yesterday, I was joined by environmental activists from across the state as I presented SB186. Del. Brooke Lierman (D-Baltimore City) is sponsoring the bill in the House.
Styrene, the main chemical in polystyrene, has been shown to increase the risk of leukemia and lymphoma for workers who handle it in manufacturing and may cause miscarriages. It is neither biodegradable or compostable, so it collects forever in our landfills, on our streets, and in our waterways. In water, polystyrene breaks into small pieces that are eaten by fish, bringing harmful styrene into our food chain.
Montgomery County, Prince George’s County, DC, Gaithersburg, and 80 jurisdictions in 8 other states have already banned polystyrene/Styrofoam. As demand increases, the cost of more environmentally and health friendly packaging is likely to decrease. Already though, Montgomery County Public Schools’ food service staff negotiated an equal cost for ‘green’ lunch trays. Manufacturing polystyrene is big business, so I wasn’t surprised to see groups like the American Chemical Council (representing Dow, DuPont, and ExxonMobil) opposing my legislation.
Making Name Restoration Easier After a Divorce
Currently, to restore a maiden name following a divorce, one must file a motion with the court. The proposed change must be advertised in the local paper, where anyone (including ex-partners) can object and call for a hearing. In addition to being expensive, the process is time-consuming and could endanger domestic violence survivors hiding from past abusers. Name changes can also create barriers to voting when the name on one’s ID does not match the one on voter registration files. My bill, SB83, passed the full Senate unanimously this morning.
Follow me on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for photos and updates throughout the session, as well as fun and interesting events in District 17. Check my website to learn about Senatorial Scholarships, internship opportunities, and more! Any questions or comments can be directed to me via email.
PS: What will you be doing on Valentine’s Day? I will be presenting (with love!) both my 9-1-1 Bill and my Nonprofit Bridge Loan Bill before the Senate Finance Committee. Learn more and consider spreading the word! (The hashtag #MDGA17 helps increase the visibility of your social media.)
Sen. Kagan (D–17) returned to elected office in 2015, where her energy, dedication, and experience in all sectors– public, private, and nonprofit– have made her an effective advocate for the residents of Gaithersburg and Rockville.