Justice Has Returned!

January 22, 2021
Dear Friend:
What an eventful week!
  • Remembering Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy;
  • Braving the first full week of the Legislative Session;
  • Saying goodbye (FINALLY!!) to twice-impeached President Trump;
  • Inaugurating President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris;
  • Testifying on three of my bills; and
  • Honoring our colleague, Senate President Emeritus Thomas V. “Mike” Miller, Jr.
Martin Luther King Jr. Day was a timely reminder to continue pursuing peace, justice, and unity in the midst of conflict and uncertainty. President Joe Biden echoed these sentiments when he took the oath of office. Americans can breathe a sigh of relief after four tumultuous years.
In the midst of the Inaugural excitement, I presented my first three bills on the topics of 9-1-1, telehealth, and recycling. Read on for more details.
Increasing Penalties for Misusing 9-1-1
Crashing 9-1-1 Centers or reporting a phony emergency can result in tragic injury or death. False reports that lead to the dispatch of a SWAT team are one of the incredibly dangerous tactics used to target individuals– too often based on race. Melina AbdullahIjeoma Oluo, and Leonard Pitts have each been targeted and swatted. Current Maryland law provides insufficient deterrence for these crimes. My bill, endorsed by the NG911 Commission I chair, would establish harsher penalties.
Making Telehealth More Accessible
Last year, I sponsored emergency bill SB402/HB448 (now law), which authorized the use of telehealth. We have since learned that the MD State Department of Education (MSDE) placed additional restrictions on School-Based Health Centers (SBHCs), preventing the centers from offering telehealth. This week, I presented emergency legislation to my committee, which would eliminate the restrictions, allowing SBHCs to provide telehealth.
Expanding Maryland’s Recycling Market
A few years ago, China banned the import of U.S. recyclables, leaving unsold materials piled up in warehouses. The cost is high– in Montgomery County, bales of recycled mixed paper used to bring in $155 per ton; they now yield only $10 per ton. Between 2015 and 2018, Carroll County went from earning $15 per ton for recyclables to paying $20 per ton. In Prince George’s County, revenue from recovered paper, cans, bottles, and plastics was approximately $750,000 in 2017. By late 2018, the County had lost nearly $2.7 million in sales and processing costs. My legislation would require the Department of the Environment to promote the development of markets for recycling, creating jobs!

Remembering Senate President Emeritus Miller
Sen. Mike Miller, the longest-serving Senate President in the nation’s history, passed away last Friday after a long and painful battle with cancer. Today, my Senate colleagues and I honored him. President Miller’s dedication to Democratic politics, higher education (Go Terps!), and working families are just a small part of his legacy.
Building Back Better!
Congratulations to our newly sworn-in President Biden and Vice President Harris! Though COVID prevented the general public from attending, a beautiful flag tribute was placed on the National Mall to represent every American in spirit. The evening program, “Celebrating America,” featured Gaithersburg resident and my buddy, 8-year-old Cavanaugh Bell!
I am thrilled to see President Joe Biden welcomed back to DC. I look on with hope for what his new Administration has already started to bring to our deeply divided country.
A photo of me with then-Senator Joe Biden as we celebrated (at the White House) the passage of the Brady Bill’s reasonable life-saving handgun waiting period!

Confusion Surrounding Vaccinations Continue…
There is a lot of misinformation about the eligibility and availability of COVID vaccines. Please see the message below regarding the process in Montgomery County. Additional details can be found on the MoCo Vaccine webpage.

For more information on my legislative agenda and updates on my efforts, you can follow me on FacebookTwitterInstagram, and YouTube. And, you can always send questions or comments to me via email.

Cheryl C. Kagan
State Senator, District 17
(Gaithersburg & Rockville)
PS: If you missed my tweet: “What a thrill to finally have Justice Thurgood Marshall back on Lawyer’s Mall in front of our State House! It’s the perfect location for press conferences, protests, and other gatherings so fundamental to our democracy.”