January 10, 2020
Wednesday marked the beginning of Maryland’s 441st Legislative Session. This is an especially historic year as President Mike Miller stepped down from his leadership post after 33 years of service. I’m grateful to have had the opportunity to learn from him, and I look forward to his continued Senate service as President Emeritus. I’m delighted to work with newly elected President Bill Ferguson. He is a thoughtful, passionate, and collaborative legislator whose leadership will guide us in these challenging times.
Spotlight: Shifting into a New Leadership Role
As you may have heard, President Ferguson recently named me Vice-Chair of the Education, Health, & Environmental Affairs Committee (EHEA). I have served on EHEA for the past 5 years and look forward to continuing to work with my chair, Senator Paul Pinsky, on education funding, climate change, election reform, procurement, alcohol bills, and much more. Our Committee will have primary responsibility for the education policies recommended by the respected Kirwan Commission. With the new position comes a new office… and lots of moving boxes!
I have already filed 8 bills which will:
- Continue to improve Maryland’s 9-1-1 systems by authorizing the Comptroller to audit 9-1-1 fees and extend the work of the NG911 Commission;
- Strengthen consumer privacy by restricting ID swiping;
- Boost voter participation through prepaid absentee ballot postage; providing inmates with voter registration information at the time of their release; and simplifying ballot language.
I will also be sponsoring bills on banking, gender-neutral bathrooms, paycheck fairness, and drugged driving, among others. In addition to chairing the Maryland 9-1-1 Commission and starting as Vice-Chair, this will surely be my busiest legislative session. If you would like to know more about my bills or track their progress, you can go to the “Senator Cheryl Kagan legislation” tab on the Maryland General Assembly website.
Connecting with Residents of Rockville & Gaithersburg
Along with your District 17 Delegates (Barve, Gilchrist, and Palakovich Carr), I am co-hosting a Community Meeting with District 17 Legislators this Sunday from 2-3:30 pm on the 2nd floor of the Gaithersburg Library. This is the perfect opportunity to learn what we will be working on in Annapolis and give us your feedback. You can also watch my presentations to the Rockville(beginning at 40:25) and Gaithersburg (beginning at 24:20) Mayor and Council meetings.
Advocating for the Nonprofit Sector
Throughout my career, I have worked closely with the nonprofit sector. Each year, I have enacted legislation to benefit this vital sector. This year, I am proposing a “common application” for use across agencies, simplifying the process and saving the State money. I also believe that we should increase the capacity of the Nonprofit Interest-free Micro Bridge Loan (NIMBL) to the funding originally committed.
Staying Up-To-Date on the Latest News from Annapolis
Access to reliable information can be difficult, but staying informed on state and local issues is crucial to democracy. In addition to the Washington Post, Baltimore Sun, and your local television stations, I encourage you to check out Maryland Matters, Bethesda Beat, and State Circle.
This is the first of my weekly legislative updates; I am committed to keeping you informed throughout the 2020 Session. You can also follow me on Facebook, Twitter, 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.
Cheryl C. Kagan
State Senator, District 17
(Gaithersburg & Rockville)
P.S.: Have you gotten your tickets for the 4th and FINAL UnNaugural Concert yet? Next Saturday, January 18th in Rockville, I’ll be hosting five performers (featuring Tom Chapin!) raising funds for five organizations. This year’s beneficiaries focus on literacy, conflict resolution, death with dignity, arts for people with disabilities, and separation of church and State.