Report from Maryland Legislature
State Senator Cheryl Kagan just provided her report about what’s happening in Annapolis just as the 2016 legislative session started (the Maryland Senate and Assembly meet nearly non-stop for a couple months in winter, then recover the rest of the year). Here’s an excerpt from her report:
The First Bills of the Session
Because I wrote and submitted two of my bills so far in advance, they are already starting their way through the legislative process.
Closing a Loophole for Married Couples
The first bill to be heard is appropriately numbered SB 1. It will be in the Senate Finance Committee tomorrow, January 20th at 1:00pm. SB 1 would fix a loophole in current law by guaranteeing that heterosexual married couples with both an infertile husband and wife will receive insurance coverage for In Vitro Fertilization treatments. This gap was created after enactment of my “Fertility Parity” bill for married lesbian couples last year.
Providing Language Access to State Government
The following day, Thursday, January 21st, my second bill will have its hearing in the Education, Health and Environmental Affairs Committee. SB 28 insures that Maryland State agency websites offer translation options for languages that are spoken by at least 3 percent of the State’s population. Providing translation options can now be done at little to no cost given the accuracy and efficiency of online translators. Material on state websites is so often critically important. Those who do not speak or read English as a first language, if at all, deserve access to these sites too. As you may recall, this bill easily passed the Senate (39-8) and got held up in the House. By starting earlier and working with various agencies and departments, we hope to finish the job this session!
Standing Up for What is Right
Also this week, the General Assembly will consider whether to override several bills vetoed by the Governor last year. From legalization of marijuana paraphernalia to restrictions on police seizing of assets to voting rights for felons who have served their sentences, these are issues that I (and most of my Senate colleagues) are willing to defend against Governor Hogan’s vetoes.
She’s also co-hosting a District 17 Night in Annapolis
on Monday, January 25th
. Rockville and Gaithersburg residents can enjoy a light buffet, meet your Delegates (and favorite Senator!), and attend a General Assembly session. It’s a great opportunity to see how Annapolis works. To reserve your spot and ensure there’s enough food for everyone, RSVP by Thursday the 21st at noon