Reforming Police & Election Laws

March 5, 2021

Dear Friend:

I don’t know about you, but I love a good milkshake. My staff stopped by Chick & Ruth’s Deli to pick up a ‘Senator Kagan Milkshake’ for me after a particularly long day of bill hearings!
There’s a lot to share this week (as always), as we’re in the second half of our 90-day legislative session.
Masking Up and Heading Back to School
Some students returned to the classroom on March 1st in Montgomery County. Schools will use a hybrid format, with many students remaining virtual. Starting on March 15th, free COVID testing will be available to all students and staff. In addition, Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) has spent more than $15 million on Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and HVAC improvements. These funds came from the Recovery Now amendment (added by the State Senate) to the R.E.L.I.E.F. Act. I am hopeful that these measures will keep students and staff safe and healthy!
Want to learn more about MCPS and back-to-school plans? Check out my new episode of “Kibbitzing with Kagan” featuring our Superintendent, Dr. Jack Smith.
Improving our Elections
Two of my election bills were heard in my committee this week:
In collaboration with the Maryland Association of Counties, SB747 would modify the membership of the State Board of Elections; require greater fiscal oversight by the Board; clarify the cost-sharing between the state and county Boards of Elections; prohibit fake ballot drop boxes; and enhance voter registration list maintenance. 
My Election Reform Act of 2021 addresses 17 issues that I encountered during the 2020 election cycle. I collaborated with the League of Women Voters, Common Cause, MD Public Interest Research Group, the Maryland Association of Counties, and other advocates and experts to improve our voting policies and systems.
Reforming Police Practices
The Senate passed nine bills in the Maryland Police Accountability Package of 2021, which will reform current practices to enforce more oversight:
  • SB071 – Holds law enforcement officers accountable if they knowingly and willfully fail to activate a body-worn camera. The legislation also requires Anne Arundel, Howard, and Harford Counties to start using body cameras by 2023. 
  • SB178 – Expands access to law enforcement misconduct records, making them subject to public disclosure.
  • SB600 – Requires law enforcement agencies to notify the State Attorney of any incident resulting in death caused by a police officer.
  • SB627 – Replaces the current Law Enforcement Officer’s Bill of Rights.

Please consider following me on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram for photos and posts. My website has information about local Coronavirus efforts, internships, and more. Subscribe to my YouTube Channel to be notified of new episodes of “Kibbitzing with Kagan.” And, you can always send questions or comments to me via email.

Cheryl C. Kagan
State Senator, District 17
(Gaithersburg & Rockville)
PS: March is Women’s History Month! Check out this article that details the history and importance of this celebration.