The Final Countdown
Overriding the Governor’s Vetoes
I was disappointed that Governor Hogan vetoed a reasonable plan to phase in a reasonable $15 minimum wage. Growing up in Montgomery County, my earliest jobs paid minimum wage. I worked at the Sears in Montgomery Mall and the former Rockville Pike movie theatre. Fortunately for me, I was able to get a good education; learn from internships and volunteer experiences; and begin my career in policy, politics, and the nonprofit sector.
Not everyone is that lucky. Several of my Republican colleagues persisted in calling the minimum wage a “starter wage” for teens working in fast food restaurants. According to one study, half of minimum wage workers are older than 30, and a third are older than 40. With a party-line 32-15 vote, this new law is a bold step to support Maryland’s working families.
The Senate also voted to override the Governor’s veto and return decision-making authority for county schools’ calendars to our duly-elected school boards. Local control is vital for start and end dates; Spring Break; and emergency closures due to inclement weather. You may see this issue on the ballot next year.
Slowing Down the I-270/495 Expansion
Strong budget language will force the Maryland Department of Transportation (MDOT) to more carefully evaluate the options for addressing the traffic challenges on I-270/495. It requires MDOT to wait until the Final Environmental Impact Statement is completed before analyzing possible solutions. In addition, any Public-Private Partnership (P3) contracts that could implement tolls must receive a unanimous vote by the three-member Board of Public Works. We have real transportation challenges in Montgomery County. The solutions we choose must work for commuters, the health of our residents, and the well-being of our neighborhoods.
With so few days left before adjournment, be sure to check my weekly Facebook Live videos to get an insider’s perspective. 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.: Two of our local heroes were honored today. Tomorrow, Senator Will Smith will be deployed to Afghanistan until the fall. I’m so proud of the many ways that my Montgomery County colleague serves our community and our country. After 15 years as Montgomery County’s Police Chief, Tom Manger was feted as he prepares to retire next month. He has been a thoughtful and effective leader as well as a partner on legislative priorities. We are indebted to them both.