Standing Up for Ukraine, Climate, Nonprofits, & More

Mar 5, 2022

Dear Friend:
An inspiring aspect of this week was watching (nearly) all Americans unite in support of Ukraine. The bipartisan spirit continued at a vigil for Ukraine, when Democrats and Republicans joined to say “Slava Ukraini”– “Glory to Ukraine.” We are all conscious of the suffering and destruction resulting from Vladimir Putin’s cruel and unprovoked attack and are taking action to condemn and boycott the Putin regime.
Last night, after about 15 (or more?!) hours of hearings, debates, and amendments, SB528, the groundbreaking Climate Solutions Now Act of 2022 was approved in my Committee. Sponsored by my Chair, Sen. Paul Pinsky, it (unfortunately) passed along party lines with a vote of 7-4. There are likely to be many more hours of work on this legislation before it is sent to the Governor’s desk. I’ll share more next week.
Highlighting this Week’s Hearings
  • SB684: Driving Under the Influence of Drugs (DUID) threatens lives. While we accustomed to DUI (Driving Under the Influence of alcohol,) my bipartisan bill would use oral fluid technology to keep our roads safe. Twenty-six other states have already enacted similar legislation.
  • SB683: Many Maryland nonprofits want to reduce their energy bills and their carbon footprint but do not have the cash flow to fund solar or geothermal installation. My bill would create the “Renewable Energy for Nonprofit Organizations (RENO)” revolving loan fund that would give nonprofits access to zero-interest loans with a modest co-pay.
I had a stellar witness panel for the Renewable Energy for Nonprofit Organizations Loan Fund!
More Bills Approved in the Senate
Three more of my bills were OK’d by the Senate this week and are now in the House for their consideration. Another will be debated in the full Senate Monday night.
  • SB269: Increasing government transparency by expanding to cover more agencies
  • SB083: Safeguarding our 9-1-1 Centers from malicious attacks
  • SB158: Election Reforms
Echoing Federal Priorities in Maryland
I found President Biden’s first State of the Union to be wide-ranging and powerful. He covered a number of issues that are in my legislative portfolio this session:
  • Climate Crisis– I have sponsored four environmental bills that would: prohibit dangerous sealantsenable nonprofits to access renewable energyrequire “Smart Salt” certification; and monitor the use of toxic synthetic turf.
  • Workforce Shortages– My bill, in partnership with Delegate Peña-Melnyk (SB523/HB533), will address our crisis-level labor shortages in health care and other fields.
  • Gas Price Inflation– The costs of food and gas are skyrocketing. Consumers should not be vulnerable to “bait & switch” tactics at the gas pump. My Gas Price Gouging Act (SB322) would mandate truthful gas stations signs.
  • Protecting LGBTQ+ Residents– Trans and nonbinary people experience harassment and even violence in gender-specific public restrooms. SB486 will make single-stall bathrooms gender-neutral, increasing access and comfort for all.
SNEAK PEEK: Next Week’s Hearings
Tuesday will be 9-1-1 Day in the Senate with hearings on three of my bills:
  • SB374: Providing Workers’ Compensation for 9-1-1 Specialists with PTSD
  • SB633: NG911 Commission’s Omnibus Legislation
  • SB749: Establishing a Statewide 3-1-1 System
On Wednesday, another one of my Consumer Protection bills will be heard:
  • SB639: Removing “Mother’s Maiden Name” as a Security Question
Nominating a new Supreme Court Justice!
President Biden has nominated the eminently qualified Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to the Supreme Court. She has excellent credentials as a Federal judge and public defender. This Women’s History Month, I urge the U.S. Senate to act quickly to confirm Judge Brown Jackson.
Please follow me on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram for photos and posts. Check out my completely redesigned website to learn more about legislation, internships, Senatorial Scholarships, 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)
P.S.: Since I’m such a grammar geek, I have to point out that yesterday was National Grammar Day! You can check out some fun grammar-themed activities.