History, Hearings, and Health

February 28, 2020
Dear Friend:
February is Black History month, which is a time to celebrate and honor the important contributions that African-Americans have made to our nation. I joined my colleagues in singing Lift Every Voice on the Senate floor as a tribute to those who have advocated for equality.
Senator Van Hollen back in the Senate Chamber, chatting with Sen. Nancy King and me.
Hearing from Van Hollen 
We began this week witha visit from U.S. Senator Chris Van Hollen. During his address to the Senate, he emphasized the importance of passing the Kirwan education bill. I’m grateful for the vital work he’s doing on Capitol Hill and was delighted to catch up with a respected former colleague.
Protecting our Environment 
Last Fall, the League of Conservation Voters named me the”Legislator of the Year for my leadership on our statewide Styrofoam ban. With this new law, Maryland became the first State in the nation to go Foam-Free! 
This session, I am sponsoring a bill to protect Submerged Aquatic Vegetation (SAV). These grasses are essential to the health of the Chesapeake Bay. Our economy and culture rely on this treasured ecosystem.SB629 would help Maryland reach the goal of 185,000 acres of Bay vegetation as established in the 2014 Chesapeake Bay Agreement.
Conversing with Constituents 
I love welcoming constituents to Annapolis to share their thoughts on a diverse set of issues. In recent days, I’ve met with advocates representing Death with Dignity, the Sierra Club, Strong Schools Maryland, League of Women Voters, and articulate student government leaders– to name just a few. Thank you for making your voices heard!
Staying Late in EHEA
Chair Paul Pinsky and me in Committee.
The Education, Health, and Environmental Affairs Committee (EHEA), where I am now the Vice Chair, hears significantly more bills than any other in the entire General Assembly! With just 38 days left, we now hear close to 20 bills each day and deliberate late into the evening. Earlier this week, we worked for more than 9 hours, hearing from more than 200 witnesses on 18 bills. In addition to all of these bills, EHEA is responsible for the policy portion of the Kirwan Commission. If you would like to learn more, our hearings are live-streamed on the General Assembly’s website!
Fighting the Flu
I am relieved to report that there have been no cases of Coronavirus in Maryland to date. Nevertheless, learning about the potential risks is crucial. This letter from the Montgomery County Public Schools includes some helpful tips on staying healthy. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that we all get a flu shot and engage in everyday, preventative measures to stop the spread of germs. Always remember to wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water and sneeze into your elbow— not your hands! Don’t believe that this will make a difference? One funny and educational episode of Mythbusters conducted an experiment that shows we spread our germs up to 17 feetwhen we don’t cover our coughs and sneezes!
Fighting for Death with Dignity
How each of us deals with end-of-life options could not be more personal or more difficult. SB701 would allow terminally ill patients to choose “Death with Dignity.” After an emotional debate, the bill failed on a deadlock vote of 23-23-1 last year. I believe that each of us should be able to make these most painful decisions ourselves. I am proud to co-sponsor this legislation again this year and hope that Maryland will join the nine other states and D.C. in offering this compassionate choice.
Every Friday afternoon during session, I air a Facebook Live report from Annapolis. You can watch previous videos here. You can also follow me on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram for photos and posts. Please check my website for information about internships, Senatorial Scholarships, and more. And, you can always send questions or comments to me via email.
My 2019 Senatorial Scholarship Selection Committee.
Cheryl C. Kagan
State Senator, District 17
(Gaithersburg & Rockville)
P.S.: The 2020 Senatorial Scholarship application is now available! In order to be eligible, you MUST first complete your FAFSA — deadline is this Sunday, March 1.