Food, Flu Shots, & #FoamFreeMD! — October 7, 2020

October 7, 2020
Dear Friend:
This has been a crazy week; the President continues to disregard mask-wearing while spreading his Coronavirus to Senators, the press, and White House staff. The combination of the annual flu season and the Coronavirus will create a perfect storm of illness this time of year. Please get a flu shot to protect yourself and loved ones!

Support our Sitting Judges

I believe that our Circuit Court Judges should be independent and nonpartisan—rather than political candidates. Our “Sitting Judges” have been vetted carefully, and I endorse them. You can check out the rest of my voting recommendations on my website.

Outlining October 1st’s New Laws
Even in an abbreviated Legislative Session, many of my bills became law. In addition to my emergency Telehealth and 9-1-1 legislation, which became law several months ago, those that went into effect on October 1st include:
Banning Styrofoam
Expanded Polystyrene (“Styrofoam”) food and beverage products are now banned statewide. My first-in-the-nation law received coverage in the local news and was featured on national outlets including CNN and The Weather Channel. We should all be proud to live in #FoamFreeMD!
Saving Lives Through Next Generation 9-1-1
Formerly built around landline telephones, our emergency centers now accept text messages anywhere in the state! My comprehensive public safety law implements recommendations from the NG911 Commission I chair, including:
  • Investing in enhanced software to locate cell phone callers; 
  • Ensuring compliance when dialing 9-1-1 without a prefix from any location, including hotels and office buildings; 
  • Increasing investment in our “First First Responders” or 9-1-1 Specialists by providing direct access to health and wellness services for the cumulative impact of chronic exposure to traumatic events; and
  • Creating a statewide Telecommunicator Emergency Response Team specially trained to assist after disasters or crises.
Strengthening Our Ethics Laws
The “revolving door” between public service and lucrative private-sector employment erodes trust in our government. The one-year “cooling-off period” to prohibit lobbying that already applies to legislators and statewide elected officials will now cover appointees to the Executive Branch. This law also increases penalties for public officials who accept bribes. 
Easing the Burden on the Bereaved
A constituent had trouble transferring ownership of utility accounts following her husband’s passing. She was subjected to a credit check, a processing fee, and the general inconveniences that come with opening a new account. This was despite the fact that she and her husband had been responsible customers for decades! After a spouse passes away, this new law will allow consumers to send a copy of their marriage license, death certificate, or joint tax return in order to change the name on the account.
Increasing Access to our Government
Especially during the pandemic, our government must be transparent. Key government entities are now required to:
  • Post the meeting agenda at least 48 hours in advance;
  • Live video-stream the public portions of the meetings; and
  • Share meeting minutes on the website within two business days of approval.

Jackie DeCarlo, CEO of Manna Food Center, chatted with me during my second podcast episode of “Kibbitzing with Kagan.” Jackie has done a phenomenal job getting food to our neighbors in need. You can learn more about her work by watching on my website or YouTube channel.

Celebrating “Peacemaker of the Year”
The Conflict Resolution Center of Montgomery County (CRCMC) is hosting its annual gala virtually on Monday, October 12th at 6pm. With tension between neighbors, landlords, employers, and family members elevated during COVID, CRCMC continues to make peace in our community. I am flattered that this nonprofit is recognizing me as “Peacemaker of the Year” for my legislative leadership and community outreach. Please consider donating to this important organization and joining us for the event.
If you enjoy my weekly updates, please consider checking out my FacebookTwitterInstagramWebsite, and YouTube channel. If you have any questions or comments, send me an email!
Cheryl C. Kagan
State Senator, District 17
(Rockville & Gaithersburg)
PS: Don’t forget that the Vice Presidential Debate is tonight at 9pm. I am looking forward to watching Sen. Kamala Harris share her thoughts on how she and Vice President Biden will work to “build back better.”
PPS: Voting by mail but don’t want to return your ballot using the Post Office? Here is a list of drop-off boxes across Montgomery County. Video cameras monitor these sites to keep them secure.