“Marching” Forward Together (February 28, 2017)
February 28, 2017
With the unseasonably warm weather we’ve had recently, it’s hard to believe that we are still in the midst of winter! Legislative hearings and debates have continued as we passed the halfway point of the session. Read on for more information on some of what’s been keeping me busy.
Prohibiting Discrimination in Private Schools Taking Public Funds
Since 2001, Maryland has given $99.3 million in taxpayer funding to private schools. Governor Hogan is proposing to continue (and increase) these subsidies. Neither students nor staff at schools that receive these funds are protected from discrimination as they would be at a public school. Current law protects students during the admissions process, but there is no legal recourse for discriminatory actions regarding retention. My bill, SB849, would apply the public school standards to the private schools who accept public funds. The State Teachers, the ACLU, AFSCME, MD NOW, AFL-CIO, and others joined me in supporting my bill.
Keeping Tech Investment Dollars in Maryland
Maryland’s Technology Development Corporation (TEDCO) provides mentoring and funding for innovative start-ups, with over $110 million invested since 1998. TEDCO’s board members serve as advisors to entrepreneurs. My bill, SB973, would help retain board members and make it easier for them to invest in Maryland, rather than out-of-state, companies.
Providing Transparency While Protecting Crime Victims
With increased use of body cameras, local police departments are collecting more video records and, along with them, more public requests to view those records. SB970 would create standards for the public release of these videos. The bill balances the need for public and press access while protecting the privacy of victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, and other abuse. This legislation was supported by the MD Association of Counties, Associations of the Police Chiefs and Sheriffs, CASA de Maryland, and the MD/DE/DC Press Association.
Supporting Local Governments
Companies with public contracts must disclose past campaign donations. My bill, SB632, would streamline the compliance process. This bill was co-sponsored by the entire Montgomery County’s Senate delegation. Its companion bill has already passed the House.
Tomorrow Morning: Joint Senate Invocation with Rabbi Raskin & Imam Elgawhary
In light of the recent threats to Jewish Community Centers and schools; the horrible desecration of graveyards; and the ongoing hate crimes and federal Executive Orders targeting Muslims, I believe we must reach across traditional barriers. That’s why I have invited dynamic leaders from two different faiths to share their wisdom and inspiration. My Rabbi, Adam Raskin, along with Imam, Dr. Tarek Elgawhary, will be delivering tomorrow’s invocation to the Senate. If you would like to listen, the Senate streams live audio beginning at 10am. Click the microphone under ‘Senate Session Status.’
A Glimpse at My Committee’s Work
Every year, the Education, Health, & Environmental Affairs Committee considers more bills than any of the three other standing committees. The range of issues we cover include the statewide ban on hydraulic fracking; the “Less Testing, More Learning Act,” and a resolution that would repeal Maryland’s previous requests for Constitutional Convention.
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. Please 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. Congratulations to my friend and former Montgomery County Councilmember, Tom Perez, who was elected Chair of the Democratic National Committee on Saturday! He is thoughtful, strategic, and progressive, and I am thrilled that he will lead the DNC. Check out a snippet of his speech to the Maryland Democratic Party the day before our legislative session convened.