Opportunities…and Missed Opportunities! (February 9, 2017)
February 9, 2017
One-third done with the legislative session, I wanted to update you on the “State of the State,” key progressive initiatives, and the status of some of my own bills.
In his State of the State address last week, Governor Hogan laid out his legislative agenda. Despite our political differences on some issues, I have worked with him whenever possible so that Maryland will continue to flourish.
The Governor called for federal, state, and local governments to unite against the growing opioid epidemic. While I wholeheartedly agree with that, I was very disappointed that this was his only mention of our federal government. The dangerous and divisive policies of our new President are affecting the lives of all Maryland residents. I am most worried about those relying on the Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare”) for their health coverage and those recently targeted by the ‘travel ban’ Executive Order. Governor Hogan has yet to speak out against these irresponsible new federal actions.
Co-Sponsoring Progressive Priorities
I wanted to flag a few key pieces of legislation that I’m supporting as they are considered this year:
- The Maryland Healthy Working Families Act (SB230) would require businesses with 15 or more employees to provide earned sick leave.
- The Maryland Defense Act of 2017 (SB665) would give the Attorney General’s office resources to actively combat federal actions that could hurt Maryland.
- The Maryland Health Insurance Coverage Protection Act (SB571) would prepare the State and our residents if Congress & the President decide to repeal the ACA (“Obamacare”).
Overriding Hogan’s Veto of the Clean Energy Jobs Act of 2016
In a 32 to 13 vote, I joined my Senate colleagues in overriding Governor Hogan’s veto of the Clean Energy Jobs Act of 2016. This measure will boost our use of renewable energy to 25% by 2020– an upgrade from the current requirement of 20% by 2022. The House has already voted to override the veto, so the bill will go into effect, creating more green jobs and protecting our environment and public health.
Show some love for 2 of my bills on Valentine’s Day?
Bridging the Gap for Maryland’s Nonprofits
Nonprofits often face short-term cash-flow problems– even when they have already earned government grants or contracts. SB465 would solve this problem by creating a fund for nonprofits to borrow up to $25,000 interest-free. The loans must be repaid within 60 days of receiving their funding. The nonprofit sector serves our vulnerable communities and comprises 10% of Maryland’s economy. An impressive 44 of my Senate colleagues co-sponsored the bill, which will be heard in the Senate Finance committee on Tuesday at 1pm.
Making Critical 9-1-1 Reforms
After beloved Rockville leader Carl Henn was struck by lightning and died, many came to his aid by calling 9-1-1 for assistance. Our system was overloaded, and they got only busy signals. I have spent the past two years visiting 9-1-1 centers across the State and have sponsored SB466, a multi-faceted bill that will help move us into the “Next Generation” of emergency services. I am gratified that this public safety bill is co-sponsored by Finance Chairman Senator “Mac” Middleton, which will also be heard in his committee on Tuesday, February 14th.
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. 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. If you’re curious about my entire legislative agenda, you can view all of the bills I am sponsoring or co-sponsoring on the General Assembly’s website.