What is the State of our State? (January 30, 2018)

January 30, 2018
Dear Friend:

Committees are busy as we hold hearings on the hundreds of bills that have already been filed. Two of my proposals are being heard this week.

Spotlight: Gov. Hogan’s “State of the State”
Tomorrow at noon, Gov. Hogan will present his annual State of the State address. I hope you can watch it on MPT, either live or at your convenience online. I will also be tweeting @CherylKagan.
I am interested in hearing what the Governor has to say on a variety of issues that affect us in Rockville and Gaithersburg. Specifically, I am concerned about improving our public schools; dedicating much-needed funding for our Metro system; protecting the Chesapeake Bay; and how he proposes to insulate Marylanders from potentially huge costs as a result of the Trump Administration’s recent tax package. What are you interested in hearing from the Governor?


A Two-Pronged Approach to Sexual Harassment Policy
In the wake of the #MeToo movement, the General Assembly’s Women’s Caucus is considering overdue reforms to the culture in Annapolis. I have been part of weekly workgroup sessions, preparing recommendations to update our sexual harassment policies and practices.
Last week, the Workforce Harassment Commission was created with experts from business, government, and law. The Women’s Caucus plans to work in partnership with the Commission to bring systemic change to the Maryland legislature.
 I am honored to be the lead sponsor of one the Maryland Municipal League‘s top legislative priorities. As the Senator who represents all of Gaithersburg & all of Rockville, I am especially attuned to the issues of concern to Maryland’s 157 cities and towns. Ultimately, I persuaded all 47 Senators to co-sponsor my bill, which would protect residents’ personal email addresses when we connect with our governments for emergency alerts. This was a first for their lobbyist of 18 years! The hearing will be on February 14th.
Ending Rapists’ Parental Rights in Maryland
I am thrilled that the Rape Survivor Family Protection Act unanimously passed in the Senate today! It is incredible to me that it has taken ten years to protect rape survivors from needing to negotiate with their rapists regarding adoption or visitation. While the process is not yet complete, I am optimistic that this will be the year we get this important law enacted.
Improving Election Security Before 2018
Today, the Education, Health, and Environmental Affairs Committee heard my bill to create an official approval process for international election observers. Under SB190 (endorsed by Common Cause & the League of Women Voters), the State Board of Elections would serve as the liaison to the U.S. State Department to conduct observers’ background checks. With interference in the 2016 Presidential election in the news every day, I believe that local control should be balanced with increased security of our election process.
Please keep a lookout for my weekly legislative updates; I am committed to keeping you informed throughout the 2018 Session. You can also follow me on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram for photos and posts. 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
(Rockville & Gaithersburg)
P.S. Have you heard? Rockville was named the best place to live in Maryland, according to Time/Money magazine’s most recent analysis. The article cited the low rates of unemployment and crime, as well Wootton High School’s ranking as the second-best high school in the entire State. I am proud to serve Rockville as its Senator!