February 21, 2018
The Senate began the week with a Presidents’ Day address in the historic Senate Chamber. Over the last week, I have been standing up for election security in the State Senate. My bill, SB190, would streamline background checks of the international election observers that the U.S. State Department has been bringing to Maryland for decades. Letting our visitors learn from our elections is one of the ways we have helped to spread democracy around the world! Unfortunately, this became an ugly partisan battle with echoes from our national politics. Ultimately, our State Board of Elections sent a letter to assure the legislature that they will vet all international observers.
Banning Toxic Foam Containers
Montgomery and Prince George’s Counties, D.C., and 134 other jurisdictions around the country have already banned polystyrene foam, or Styrofoam, which harms both our health and environment. Del. Brooke Lierman (D-Baltimore City) and I have reintroduced a bill to ban polystyrene statewide. SB651 is a top priority for environmental advocates. Passionate high school students came to Annapolis to show their support as the Baltimore City Council is moving toward a ban too!
Legislative Spotlight: Repealing Our Offensive State Song
Did you know that “Maryland, My Maryland” refers to President Lincoln as a ‘tyrant’ and a ‘despot?’ While we have cheered as Confederate flags and statues have been removed around the country, Maryland has inexplicably retained this outdated remnant of our past. Even the University of Maryland’s marching band won’t play the song now! I have sponsoredSB790 to repeal the State song and host a contest to replace it. An expert panel would evaluate the entries and allow the public to vote for their favorite. The Senate will hear the bill tomorrow.
Working to Bring An International Conference to Maryland!
As you may recall, I have hosted house concerts in Rockville for 16 years. My Folk ‘N Great Music series has showcased singer/songwriters from around the country. For a few years, I have been working to lure Folk Alliance International to Maryland. With an economic development impact of roughly $5 million per year, it would be prestigious and exciting to bring almost 3,000 performers, venues, DJ’s, agents, and fans to our diverse and artistic state. There’s no word yet, but keep watching this space…
Another Tragic School Shooting
In the early 1990’s, I was part of the national lobbying team at Handgun Control Inc. (now called the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence). We enacted a waiting period for handgun purchases (“The Brady Bill“) and passed a 10-year moratorium on some semi-automatic rifles. Since then, and despite the tragic commonplace nature of massacres using these guns, there has been no national action on the issue. Here in Maryland, we have strong and effective gun laws that restrict the purchase of assault-style weapons; limit the magazine capacity; and more. This session, I have co-sponsored a ban on the kind of “bump stock” device used in last year’s massacre in Las Vegas.
Four More Years Representing District 17?
This afternoon, I went to the State Board of Elections and filed my candidacy for another four years as the Senator for District 17. I am proud of my record of accomplishment on issues including 9-1-1 and public safety; consumer protection and privacy; our precious environment; our State’s valuable nonprofit organizations; and issues directly affecting Gaithersburg and Rockville residents. With enormous turnover expected in the State Senate this year, we need continuity, insights, and relationships that can be effective for our District, for Montgomery County, and for our entire State. I hope I have earned your support and your vote in the all-important June 26th Democratic Primary Election as well as the November 6th General Election.
Please stay in touch with me throughout the 2018 Session! You can follow me on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for photos and posts. Check my website for information about internships, Senatorial Scholarships, and more. And, you can always send questions or comments to me via email.
Cheryl C. Kagan
State Senator, District 17
(Gaithersburg & Rockville)
P.S. Even as we mourn for the latest Florida murders, we have had several bomb threats in Montgomery County. I am grateful for the dedication of our teachers, staff, and public safety officials to prevent tragedies in our own County.