Discrimination… & Scary Consequences (March 7, 2017)

March 7, 2017

Dear Friend:

While Washington is focused on Russian involvement in our elections; repeal of the much-needed Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare”); and unsubstantiated accusations against former President Obama, we here in Annapolis are getting things done!

Fighting Discrimination in the Use of Public Funds

With Dr. Catherine Hill, Michelle Siri of the Women’s Law Center of Maryland, Erin Prangely of the AAUW, and Kat Donnelly, my legislative aide

With SB849, I am seeking to strengthen discrimination protections for students and staff at private schools receiving State funds. Next up was SB971, which could diversify the boards of public companies who receive State procurement contracts. In 2016, only 20% of Fortune 500 board members were female, and less than 15% were people of color. I introduced this bill with Del. Karen Young (D-Frederick) because corporate boards set policy and oversee hiring of the CEO. Diverse boards create inclusive employment policies and are shown to increase returns on investment. Maryland made over $7 billion in contract awards in 2016; taxpayer funds should not support companies that discriminate.

Montgomery County Police Officer and Drug Recognition Expert Jamie Derbyshire joined me at the hearing

Detecting Drivers Under the Influence of Drugs (DUID)
Driving drugged is deadly and increasingly common. In 2013, 40% of fatally injured drivers had drugs in their blood– up from 28% in 2005. I sponsored SB972, which would create a pilot program to detect recent drug usage in a driver’s saliva. Geared toward data collection, the pilot would be voluntary, confidential, not admissible in court, and would be run at no cost to the State. If these devices are scientifically proven to be accurate, they could someday serve a role similar to the breathalyzer: identify impaired drivers and keep them off our roads!




Speaking Out Against Fracking
With Maryland’s two-year long moratorium on hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” expiring this fall, the General Assembly must act now to block this dangerous method of natural gas extraction. Other states have discovered the severe consequences of fracking, including increased earthquake activity and contaminated drinking water. That’s why I co-sponsored SB740 to permanently ban fracking. I was proud to speak to hundreds of Marylanders who rallied in Annapolis last week.

Hundreds of fracking ban supporters marched through Annapolis and rallied in Lawyer’s Mall

New Democratic Party Leader… from Montgomery County!

With outgoing Maryland Democratic Party Chair Bruce Poole and new Interim Chair Kathleen Matthews

Another Montgomery County Democrat is joining Party leadership (former Councilmember Tom Perez was just elected head of the DNC last week). Congratulations to Kathleen Matthews on her new role as Interim Chair of the Maryland Democratic Party! From her time as a anchor at WJLA; her work in public affairs at Marriott; and her campaign for Congress, Matthews is a strong communicator who knows how to run competitive races. With no women in Maryland’s congressional delegation or elected to statewide office, she brings an important perspective to the Party. She will seek a full four-year term as Chair in May.


Preventing Unpredictable Changes to the U.S. Constitution
One of the most important votes of the year was on Senate Joint Resolution 2, which passed 34-13 last night. It repeals Maryland’s decades-old calls for a federal Constitutional Convention. Only those in the room would have a voice in such a process, so that gathering could result in radical changes to our Constitution. Other states have taken similar action.

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. This President issued another divisive Executive Order on immigration, but in Maryland, we strive to make everyone feel welcome. I am a co-sponsor of the Law Enforcement and Governmental Trust Act, SB835, which would ensure that all Marylanders can call for police, fire, or other help without fear of being flagged for deportation.