April 4, 2019
As we approach adjournment this Monday at midnight, bills are moving quickly towards passage. The Senate has debated hundreds of bills this session, and I wanted to update you on some of the legislation that I have found particularly interesting.
Spotlight: Investing in Our Public Schools
After more than two years of diligent work by the Kirwan Commission, the Senate voted 43-1 to implement the first stage of the ” Blueprint for Maryland’s Future .” This bill will provide grants to schools with at least 80% of students eligible for free or reduced-price meals; fund school-based health coordinators; and offer incentives to increase teacher salaries. It also created an Inspector General who would ensure that taxpayer funds are used responsibly. This year’s legislation is the start of a multi-year enhanced commitment to creating a top-notch public education system in Maryland.
Authorizing DACA Youth to Earn Senatorial Scholarships
HB118, which I am managing on the Senate floor, would allow Senators to include Maryland residents who are not yet citizens to apply for our scholarship funds. Senators can already craft our own criteria and process to allocate awards to our deserving constituents. For me personally, I appreciate the flexibility this bill would allow in my diverse district.
NOTE : Scholarship applications for Fall semester are available on my website. Please spread the word and encourage college or graduate students you know to apply!
Notifying Residents of Pesticide Spraying
HB1353 provides matching funds to local governments for pesticides to control nuisance insects. During the hearing, I objected to the lack of specific requirements to notify residents when pesticide spraying was to occur. Working with the Departments of Natural Resources and Agriculture as well as other advocates, I drafted and proposed an amendment, which was accepted on the Senate floor.
Removing Lead From Our Public Schools
We have made great strides in removing lead from paint and gasoline. But too often, it can still be found in the water at our schools. Testing required under a 2017 state law revealed that roughly 3,000 schools had at least one water fixture with dangerous levels of lead . Sen. Cory McCray and Montgomery County Del. Jared Solomon have sponsored a bill to remove this dangerous metal from all of Maryland’s schools. I am working with them to expeditiously address this danger to the health of our children within budget constraints.
As we prepare to wrap up here in Annapolis, watch your email inbox as well as my website for a wrap-up on the accomplishments of this year’s Maryland General Assembly. Thanks to everyone who has offered suggestions and opinions as I work hard to represent you in the Senate.
Enjoy the Spring weather!
Cheryl C. Kagan
State Senator, District 17
(Gaithersburg & Rockville)
P.S.: Approaching the end of session also means approaching the annual MS walk in Rockville. Would you consider walking with me or supporting my efforts to raise funds for Multiple Sclerosis?