We Have Adjourned!
April 9, 2019
Last night at midnight, the Senate adjourned its 439th session. It was a remarkably successful 90 days for me and for the General Assembly. I’ll share more when we finish our complete overview, but I wanted to highlight a few items for you now!
Spotlight: Honoring Speaker Busch’s Memory
The traditional excitement around adjournment was muted by tears and tributes to Speaker Mike Busch , who died on Sunday. Busch was the longest-serving House Speaker in Maryland’s history, with a legacy that includes public education, marriage equality, and environmental protection. Having served with him for eight years in the House, I will miss him in Annapolis.
On the Final Day…
After tributes to the Speaker, the Senate voted 29-16 to override Governor Hogan’s fourth veto. This bill was Speaker Busch’s final piece of legislation and creates five permanent oyster sanctuaries in the Bay. Other vetoes the legislature overrode authorized local school boards to determine their own start dates; raised the minimum wage to $15 for working families; and created the Alcohol and Tobacco Commission to prevent conflicts of interest.
From there, and for the next 14 hours, the Senate exchanged a flurry of bills with the House of Delegates. Among the pending issues we passed were:
- Creating clean energy jobs in Maryland;
- Funding lead abatement in our public school water fountains;
- Curbing the cost of prescription drugs;
- Addressing the University of Maryland Medical System Board’s ethical scandals; and,
- Expanding recycling laws to include large office buildings.
Updating Our 9-1-1 Emergency Systems
This session featured major advancement on many issues, including our 9-1-1 legislation. By gathering some of the most experienced and respected voices on public safety, we proposed a comprehensive plan to move forward . I’m thrilled to report that the General Assembly passed all three Senate bills with overwhelming majorities . It took thousands of hours over five years to reach this point. But ultimately, a bipartisan group came together to pass these bills in order to save lives.
Increasing Police Recruitment
Maryland is facing a shortage of police officers in our communities. Partnering with Police Chief Tom Manger, I sponsored SB853 to increase the pool of qualified applicants. This allows Legal Permanent Residents who have been honorably discharged from the military and applied for citizenship with the opportunity to become police officers. It passed the Senate 45-0 and the House 110-27. I am hopeful that the Governor will allow veterans to continue their service to our nation and to our communities by signing this into law.
Prohibiting Polystyrene in Maryland
The Senate and House both approved my bill to ban Expanded Polystyrene foam (or “Styrofoam”) food packaging statewide by veto-proof majorities. Whether or not Governor Hogan signs the bill, Maryland will become the first state in the nation to ban Styrofoam . I am proud of the work I’ve done with Del. Brooke Lierman over the past 3 years, as well as with advocacy organizations including Trash-Free Maryland, the Sierra Club, and the League of Conservation Voters.
Now that we have adjourned here in Annapolis, watch your email inbox as well as my website for a a more comprehensive overview on the accomplishments of this year’s Maryland General Assembly.You can also follow me on Facebook , Twitter , and Instagram for photos and posts. Please check my website for information about internships, Senatorial Scholarships, and more. And, you can always send questions or comments to me via email.
Cheryl C. Kagan
State Senator, District 17
(Gaithersburg & Rockville)
P.S.: The deadline for a Senatorial Scholarship (undergraduate or graduate work) is next week. Please learn more and spread the word about our application process!