Climate, Choice, Guns & the Gov…

April 1, 2022

Dear Friend:
I always “aim” to vote favorably on legislation that will benefit the residents of Gaithersburg and Rockville. This is because you are very “deer” to me. Whether discussing “bucks” in the budget to provide “doe” to District 17, or making sure that key bills get “out of the woods,” I am proud to represent the Deer Hunters of Montgomery County. (Happy April Fool’s Day!)
Today is “Presentment,” when bills that Gov. Hogan might veto are formally given to him. The legislature would have time to debate and override his vetoes before adjourning in this final year of our four-year term. I have highlighted a number of those bills below.
Defending Abortion Rights
Maryland codified reproductive choice in 1991, when a ballot measure was approved with 62% of the vote. Thirty-one years later– especially with a pending Supreme Court ruling– it was time to update our health care laws in order to provide equitable access for all women.
The Abortion Care Access Act passed the Senate 30-14. It allows nurse-practitioners, nurse-midwives, and physician assistants to provide abortion services. It provides $3.5 million to train these health care professionals. I was proud to cast my vote in favor of this legislation.
Compromising on Climate?
Following a long debate in the House of Delegates, the Climate Solutions Now Act of 2022 returned to the Senate with a plethora of weakening amendments. This is still groundbreaking legislation that will ultimately reduce Maryland’s greenhouse gas emissions 60% by 2031; transition the State’s fleet to electric vehicles by 2036; allocate resources for low- to moderate-income communities; and provide economic and health benefits. The Senate agreed to move forward with the bill as amended. It will be presented to the Governor today; I am hopeful that he will sign (and not veto) this important initiative.
Outlawing Dangerous Firearms
SB387, which would ban “ghost guns,” passed both chambers. This requires any firearm made after October 22, 1968 to have a serial number and bans the sale of untraceable “kit guns.” After March 1, 2023, these violations can be penalized with a fine of up to $10,000 and/or two years in prison. I fervently hope that Gov. Hogan will sign this bill into law to protect Marylanders from further gun violence.
Addressing the Health Care Staffing Crisis
There are extreme shortages in our health care workforce, exacerbated by COVID. My bill (SB523) that would allow qualified immigrants to obtain licensure in their health care field passed out of the Senate today! In these final days before adjournment, we hope to move it quickly through the House of Delegates.
Honoring Our Muslim Neighbors
Sending best wishes for a blessed Ramadan and an easy fast to those observing this holiday. I was proud to co-sponsor The Inclusive Athletic Attire Act, which allows a student-athlete to modify a team uniform for modesty or religious guidelines. We should respect and promote inclusivity in our schools.
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Cheryl C. Kagan
State Senator, District 17
(Gaithersburg & Rockville)
PS: Gaithersburg native Jared Bush won an Oscar last weekend for co-directing and writing the Disney movie, Encanto!