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Public Health, Police Reform, & Passing the Senate!
February 27, 2021
With false-positive COVID tests and moving my important emergency telehealth legislation, we finally hit the halfway point in our 90-day session!
Moving Forward with Telehealth
My emergency legislation SB278 to provide telehealth for School-Based Health Centers (SBHCs) finally passed the full Senate. I was perplexed by my Republican colleagues’ repeated tactics to delay the vote, especially since many have these centers in their districts! Low-income and rural students who have gone without health care since last March and rely on SBHCs for primary, behavioral, and dental care.
COVID Scare in the Senate
Since we convened, Senators have been COVID-tested twice a week before we can participate in Floor Sessions. It was widely reported that several of my colleagues tested positive for COVID. Fortunately, we later learned that the rapid results were inaccurate. We continue to get tested and vaccinated so that we can safely do the people’s work.
Establishing Statewide 3-1-1
One of my favorite bills this year, SB631, was heard in the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee. Montgomery County and five other jurisdictions currently have a 3-1-1 service, which offers easy information to non-emergency questions like where to get COVID tests and vaccines; when is trash pickup; who will fill my potholes; and how do I call animal control? It also reduces the load on our 9-1-1 Centers. Many of my colleagues expressed their support and asked good questions; they understand the value of 3-1-1 for residents, visitors, and 9-1-1 Centers! I’m thrilled by the idea of taking this vital service statewide and am looking forward to working with MD’s Emergency Management Agency and other key agencies to make this a reality.
I had three other bill hearings this week to address consumer protection, public health, and transparency issues. I am hopeful that my colleagues will support these important measures.
Reforming Police Practices
Our criminal justice system doesn’t work for everyone. Nine police reform bills were brought to the Senate Floor and will be debated next week. Look for more information soon.
Learning More About Vaccines!
I recently “kibbitzed” with Brian Rosen— Senior VP of NOVAVAX in Gaithersburg. As you likely know, this laboratory is close to gaining approval for its own COVID-19 vaccine. This is an episode of “Kibbitzing with Kagan” that you won’t want to miss!
Cheryl C. Kagan
State Senator, District 17
(Gaithersburg & Rockville)
PS: This week on The Kojo Nnamdi Show, there was a discussion about the dramatic decline in non-COVID-related health care due to fears of catching Coronavirus. I have sponsored legislation that would require touchless paper towel dispensers and doors in hospital and clinic bathrooms. These simple changes would help to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 and other diseases.