Did you see me in the Washington Post and Bethesda Magazine yesterday? It was a VERY busy day, and the culmination of a hectic several months working for the families and businesses in District 16.
Breaking News on Family and Medical Leave Insurance Fund!
This Bethesda Magazine article shares the big news that Montgomery County received a Federal grant to study establishing a Paid Family and Medical Leave program in Maryland.
Since the Hogan Administration was not interested in figuring out how to make this happen, I partnered with the Montgomery County Council and Councilmember Hans Riemer to apply for this funding, which will pay for research needed to pass my legislation The Family and Medical Leave Insurance Program- HB 985. The grant will put state and national experts to work figuring out how we can best implement a Paid Family and Medical Leave system in Maryland. These programs already exist in California, Rhode Island, and New Jersey. With the help of this study, Maryland can be next!
I can't wait to tell the good news to Angela, an esthetician in Bethesda who recently told me that she is struggling because she had to sell her car in order to afford to pay rent during her recent unpaid two month maternity leave.
If you are a business person in Montgomery County and you would like information about how paid family and medical leave programs are structured to benefit the business community as well as individuals, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I can share with you the latest research I received at my recent meeting with the White House on this topic.
Autism Treatment for State Employees
My legislative aide Holly Vandegrift and I worked with Pathfinders for Autism to further expand insurance coverage for autism treatment. After hearing the stories of Maryland state employees who were still being denied necessary treatment for autism, the state health plan determined they will begin covering these services. If you are a state employee who is still having trouble getting insurance coverage for autism treatment, please contact Holly at email@example.com.
Playing Politics with Lawton Early Vote Location
Do you early vote at the Jane Lawton Community Center in Chevy Chase? Well, if the Board of Elections has their way, that option will be off the table. They have decided to move the Bethesda-Chevy Chase early vote location to the Potomac Recreation and Community Center. This concerns me because Potomac is a much less densely populated area, with fewer businesses. It's not a great location for getting daytime voting traffic. I have heard from many constituents concerned about this change (for a wonderful analysis of the voter suppression this decision could lead to, read Adam Pagnucco's blog post on Seventh State. If this interests you, there is a petition you can sign urging the Governor to return early vote to the Jane Lawton Community Center cick here to sign.
Is Craft Beer and Fine Wine Coming to Montgomery County Restaurants?
As Chair of Montgomery County's Economic Development Committee, I oversee all proposed alcohol legislation. As you may have heard, this summer the Montgomery County Council unanimously approved a resolution that asks the state to partially reform the County’s Department of Liquor Control.
The resolution requests a legal change to allow private distributors to sell “special order” beer and wine products directly to bars, restaurants and independent beer and wine stores in the county. The “special order” products are typically fine wines and craft beers that aren’t mass produced. My committee must approve this proposal for it to move forward. We also have the opportunity to amend it if need be. To read the resolution click here, and to tell us what you think of this idea (does it go far enough? too far? or is it just right?) and alcohol laws in Montgomery county in general, please email me firstname.lastname@example.org.
Organizing My Colleagues to Stand With Planned Parenthood
As the Washington Post reported yesterday, my colleague Delegate Shelly Hettleman and I sent a forceful letter to Governor Hogan urging him not to play partisan politics with women's health. Several of our Republican colleagues have suggested blocking critical state funding for Planned Parenthood- but in Maryland we are better than these games, and we know Maryland's women and families depend on the services Planned Parenthood provides. 72 of our legislative colleagues agree, and signed on to our letter in support of Planned Parenthood.
I was also honored to receive the 2015 Choice Advocate Award from NARAL Pro-Choice Maryland in recognition of multiple new laws to advance women's health and economic security. In my acceptance speech I laid out the pro-choice case for supporting economic rights for women. The Wage Gap, lack of paid leave programs, employment discrimination, and the feminization of poverty (especially for senior women) is all related to our reproductive lives. You can read my whole speech here on my website.
Delegate Kelly Accepting the Choice Advocate Award
My office is incredibly busy with these projects, as well as getting geared up for the next legislative session. We are always looking for interns, so if you or someone you know is interested, please contact us! email@example.com
Our Summer Intern Jenna Williams just finished her research project for my office on Women in Maryland politics, which was presented to the Women Legislators of Maryland. The culmination of months of research, Jenna was able to dig into the state of women in Maryland politics, and offer suggestions for how we can improve our standing. Yes, while just ten years ago Maryland had more women elected than any other state in the country- we have been falling quickly! This while other states are making gains. We are now in the bottom half of the country for women in leadership positions and elected to statewide office. But thanks to Jenna's hard and smart work, we are beginning a campaign to turn this around. Thanks Jenna!
As always, please feel free to contact me with any local issues or concerns.