Consumers, Community, & Crossover! (March 15, 2017)
March 15, 2017
I hope you stayed warm & dry during this week’s storm! With the end of session approaching, there are no snow days in Annapolis– the General Assembly has been hard at work this week.
The Senate continues to debate SB230, the Maryland Healthy Working Families Act, which would allow workers at companies with 15 or more employees to earn paid sick leave. The House has already approved their version of the bill, and I plan to support it when the Senate votes.
The ban on hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”), SB740, has passed the House with a veto-proof majority but is still awaiting a vote from the Senate Education, Health, and Environmental Affairs (EHEA) Committee. As a co-sponsor of this bill, I plan to support it in my committee and hope I will have the opportunity to vote for it in the full Senate soon.
Protecting Consumers from ‘Bait & Switch’ Gas Pricing
It has happened to many people I’ve spoken to about SB847: they’ve pulled into a gas station advertising a great price– but once they’re at the pump they find out the great deal was cash-only. With 75% of Americans buying gas with credit or debit (and that number increases when prices increase), advertising lower, cash-only prices is deceptive. SB847 would ensure that consumers know what price they’ll pay by requiring stations to post both the cash and credit prices clearly, or list the higher price (credit or debit). If new signs are needed, they would be paid for by gasoline suppliers, rather than local station owners. I was glad to have support from the Attorney General’s Office of Consumer Protection, which regularly receives complaints from Marylanders about this problem. I made a strong case to the Senate Finance Committee for this consumer protection bill despite expected opposition from the oil and gas industry.
Improving Primary Care Access
Along with the Montgomery County Primary Care Coalition, which provides safety-net care to many of our low-income and uninsured neighbors, I argued for allowing physician assistants (PA’s) to dispense medications. As primary care providers, PA’s treat chronic health problems like diabetes and hypertension, which can’t be addressed simply with the starter packs and samples they can currently dispense. SB848 would allow PA’s to hand out the same medications that they can already prescribe, getting preventative care into their patients’ hands immediately. PA’s could only practice under the direction of a doctor, and they would only dispense drugs approved by their supervising physician.
|Crossover Is Around the Corner!
To become a law, every bill must pass identically in both the Senate and House before being sent to the Governor for his consideration and signature or veto. For a bill to be considered in the opposite chamber, it ideally should pass by ‘Crossover Day’– next Monday. The future of many bills, including several I’ve sponsored, will be decided this week.
You can follow me on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for photos and updates throughout the session, as well as fun and interesting events in District 17. Please check my website to learn about Senatorial Scholarships, internship opportunities, and more! Any questions or comments can be directed to me via email.
Cheryl C. Kagan
State Senator, District 17
Rockville & Gaithersburg
P.S. We adjourn in less than a month. If you would like to come visit me in Annapolis, please let me know soon!