February 17, 2017
I hope you had a happy Valentine’s Day. I “celebrated” with the Senate Finance Committee by presenting two of my major legislative initiatives on Tuesday.
Key Legislation in the Senate Finance Committee!
I was grateful to be surrounded by dedicated advocates who ‘showed some Valentine’s Day love’ for my nonprofit and 9-1-1 legislation. Our witnesses, both in person and in writing, made compelling cases for both bills.
Saving Lives With 9-1-1 Reform
Maryland was the first state to create a
9-1-1 call system, but since then we’ve fallen behind on technology updates. With the “Next Generation” of emergency services, call centers will be able to more accurately track caller locations and accept calls, texts, photos, video, and audio recordings. SB466 is a multi-faceted bill that would modernize our 9-1-1 services. We expect Finance Chairman Middleton, my co-sponsor, to create a work group to build consensus on the details of the bill.
Supporting Our Nonprofits
Many nonprofits, even those that have earned government grants and contracts, face short-term cash-flow problems. SB465 would address this problem by creating the Nonprofit, Interest-free, Micro Bridge Loan (NIMBL) program for them to borrow up to $25,000 to help pay staff; put on critical programs; and provide services to those in need. For over 40 years, New York City has had a similar program with the impressively low default rate of 1/4 of 1%. I am delighted to report that SB465 was approved unanimously by the Finance Committee and now has all 47 Senators as co-sponsors. It will be voted on by the full Senate next week.
Protecting Federal Funding for Metro
The General Assembly learned of an alarming move by the federal government to deny Maryland almost $5 million in funding for Metro and other mass transit. With leadership from neighboring Senator Brian Feldman, the Senate took swift and decisive action to get our funding back “on track.”
Empowering Our Attorney General
After lengthy debate, the Senate passed the Maryland Defense Act of 2017, which authorizes our Attorney General to challenge federal measures that put the health or welfare of Marylanders at risk. You may have read that Republican Senators requested extra time to consider the bill before voting. Although it was a generally partisan procedural vote, I supported giving my colleagues more time and then enthusiastically supported the bill. The Senate moved ahead and passed the bill (with all Republicans in opposition), putting our Brian Frosh on equal footing with Attorneys General from the 41 other states who already have the ability to file suit without approval from their legislative body or Governor.
Working to Bring Millions in Tourism Revenue to Maryland
After a week full of legislative hearings, I will be spending the weekend as a panelist, mentor, concert presenter, and fan at the Folk Alliance International (FAI) Conference in Kansas City. The annual event draws thousands from around the country, as well as from Canada and parts of Europe. I have been working with the Maryland Department of Commerce, Office of Tourism, the State Arts Council, and other agencies to lure FAI to Maryland for the fun, prestige, convenience… and roughly $4.5 million per year in economic impact!
You can follow me on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for photos and updates throughout the session, as well as fun and interesting events in District 17. Check my website to learn about Senatorial Scholarships, internship opportunities, and more! Any questions or comments can be directed to me via email.
Cheryl C. Kagan
State Senator, District 17
Rockville & Gaithersburg
P.S. Congratulations to Gaithersburg’s newest Councilmember, Yvette Monroe! I look forward to working with her, along with rest of the Gaithersburg’s and Rockville’s elected officials.