March 15, 2019
It’s an exciting time in Annapolis as we are quickly approaching Monday’s “Crossover” deadline and budget negotiations. By then, Senate bills need to be passed and moved to the House and House bills need to be moving into the Senate. Bills missing this deadline face additional hurdles. In the meantime, the Senate is debating and passing a number of controversial issues.
HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE SENATE FLOOR
- SB280 “Fight for $15“: Maryland workers deserve a fair wage. With this law, Maryland would gradually increase the minimum wage to $15 by 2025 (or by 2028 for small businesses.)
- SB371 Dentists v. Dental Service Organizations: This bill restricts DSO businesses so that dentists can focus on practicing dentistry in order to best serve their patients.
- SB471 Dairy Farms and Antibacterial Medications: This limits the application of antimicrobial drugs to cattle, swine, or poultry unless prescribed by a licensed veterinarian. Overuse of these drugs in animals we may eat makes us more vulnerable when we get sick!
- SB895 Restrict Tobacco Purchases to 21: The legal age to purchase tobacco products would rise from 18 to 21. Cigarettes, cigars, and electronic smoking devices would be covered.
Protecting Consumers in Maryland
When making certain transactions, such as returning merchandise, many businesses require the swiping of customers’ driver’s licenses. The swiping of an ID captures all personal information, whether related to the purchase or not. As a result, businesses obtain and store the information.
Prominent companies like Equifax, Target, Yahoo, and countless others have been in the headlines for having their databases hacked. According to a report from Javelin Strategy & Research,fraud losses totaled $16 billion; an estimated 15.4 million consumers were hit with some form of ID theft in 2016.
SB490 would prohibit businesses from swiping ID cards except when:
- Verifying a customer’s age or identity;
- Authenticating a drivers license; and,
- Collecting information that is required by law.
This bill was approved unanimously by the Finance Committee to the full Senate, where it should come to a final vote soon.
Spotlight: Marching for Our Schools
Fewer than 40% of high school graduates are considered to be college- and career-ready. About half of the state’s teachers in their second year don’t return for a third year.
On Monday, thousands of educators, parents, and students came to Annapolis to “March for Our Schools” to advocate for support for our public schools.
Through the Kirwan Commission legislation, free full-day pre-kindergarten for 3 and 4-year olds will be provided to low-income families. It will also encourage our dedicated educators to stay in our classrooms by increasing their salaries. Every jurisdiction will get increased funding. These measures will improve the college and career readiness of Maryland’s high school graduates.
Advocating for Rockville and Gaithersburg
Earlier this week, the Senate Capital Budget Subcommittee heard my three bond initiatives. Manna Food Center , a non-profit organization fighting hunger in Montgomery County, is asking for $150,000 to renovate their current warehouse and install a new custom walk-in freezer. Sunflower Bakeryhas asked for $150,000 to build-out an employment training center to provide skilled job training for adults with learning differences. The third bill, from the City of Rockville, requested $200,000 to construct a new shelter, provide ADA-compliant bathrooms, and create a covered picnic area in Isreal Park . Each of these projects would help improve our community.
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Cheryl C. Kagan
State Senator, District 17
(Gaithersburg & Rockville)
P.S.: Last week the “Society of Senates Past,” held its annual dinner where current and former State Senators honored Senate President Thomas (“Mike”) Miller. It was a memorable evening with heartfelt tributes to the longest-serving Senate President in the nation’s history.
We were shocked when former President Bill Clinton walked in as a surprise guest!