Nancy Floreen's Montgomery in Focus,

Bill to Regulate Electronic Cigarettes

Nancy Floreen at Council dais.

Last week I introduced a bill that would prohibit the use of electronic cigarettes in public spaces where traditional cigarette use is prohibited, including public buildings and restaurants.

The bill also would prohibit use of electronic cigarettes by minors (ages 18 and under) and would require child-resistant packaging for electronic cigarettes. 

The use of electronic cigarettes, commonly called “vaping,” has grown dramatically since the product’s introduction in 2007. The practice has become so commonplace that the Oxford Dictionary selected the word “vape” as its 2014 “Word of the Year.” Although electronic cigarettes do not produce tobacco smoke, they do contain nicotine and other potentially harmful chemicals. Children and teens are particularly susceptible to nicotine addiction.

As elected officials, we at the County Council are stewards for public health. We know that teens who have never tried traditional cigarettes are using e-cigs, putting themselves at risk for nicotine addiction and nicotine poisoning, as well as potentially graduating to harmful tobacco products. It is our responsibility to put some protections in place.

Twenty-four states, including Maryland, prohibit the sale of electronic cigarettes to minors. Municipalities including New York City, Los Angeles, Boston and Chicago also have enacted restrictions. While the Food and Drug Administration is currently considering regulations to address electronic cigarettes, it is not clear when those regulations would be finalized or take effect.

A public hearing on the bill is tentatively scheduled for 7:30 p.m. on January 22. To sign up to testify, call 240-777-7803. You can also send you testimony to

Appropriation to Stimulate Entrepreneurship

Last week the Council unanimously approved my proposal for a special appropriation for economic development. This additional funding will substantially increase the number of challenge grants and prizes available for entrepreneurs and innovators through the Department of Economic Development. It will also allow additional spending on marketing and business develpment programs generally and require the Department to submit a report in January outlining how the money will be spent.

We need this $150,000 increase because the regional economy is lagging. In fact, after years of strong performance relative to the nation, the metro area economy is lacking relative to other regions. According to the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, the Washington, D.C.metropolitan area ranked 330th out of all U.S. metropolitan areas in terms of percentage change in real gross domestic product in 2013. In the second quarter of 2014, Maryland ranked 47th in terms of percentage change in personal income from the previous quarter. With this special appropriation, we are stimulating the local economy by encouraging entrepreneurship and job creation, and that's a good investment.

Council Grants: Important Dates

Nancy Floreen talking with staff at A Wider Circle.

Nonprofit organizations: get ready to apply for this year's council grants. Here is the Council President's message, including key dates:

Dear Community Partner:

The Montgomery County Council believes that a strong partnership with nonprofit organizations is critical to meeting the needs of our residents.  As in previous years, the Council will have a formal application process for nonprofit organizations that wish to request Fiscal Year 2016 grant funding. As part of this process, the County Council will appoint a volunteer community Grants Advisory Group to review and evaluate applications.

The Council will accept applications for programs and projects that advance the County’s services, goals, and objectives in areas such as health and human services, economic development, education, and recreation. As in recent years, the Council is particularly interested in proposals that provide emergency and other assistance to the neediest members of our community.

Our nonprofits know all too well that Montgomery County was not spared from the recent deep recession, and that as a direct result there continues to be more poverty, hunger, and homelessness in our county. While the County Council is committed to supporting the many valuable services your organizations provide to our residents, our local government also continues to face significant fiscal challenges. In this coming year, we will again face rising needs with limited revenues.

With regard to the actual grants process, we are pleased to announce that this year, the county implemented a new online One-Stop Grants Portal to manage the submission and review of both County Council and County Executive Grants. As a result, you must now submit applications for both grants programs through the new online process. Please note that for FY 2016, the Council and County Executive will be accepting applications only through its new online grants portal, which you can access at: For future reference, you may access the application portal by clicking the Grants icon located at the bottom of the Council Home Page.

Important dates to remember:

December 4, 2014 -- Grants Workshops

1:30 at the East County Regional Services Center 3300 Briggs Chaney Road, Silver Spring,  or 7:00 p.m. in the 3rd floor Council Hearing Room of the Council Office Building 100 Maryland Ave., Rockville

We strongly encourage you to send a representative to one of the workshops.

January 13, 2015 -- Application Deadline

Please note that no applications will be accepted after that date.

February/March -- the Grants Advisory Group will review and evaluate applications.

April 24, 2015 -- the Grants Advisory Group is scheduled to issue its report.

Mid-Late May -- the County Council will make funding decisions as part of the FY2016 Operating Budget. Proposals that are selected for funding will be effective after July 1, 2015.

Funds will become available approximately 60-120 days after July 1, 2015, after execution of a required contract with the Montgomery County Government that includes reporting and other requirements. The grant application provides further details.

If you have questions, please contact Joan Schaffer, Council Grants Manager, at or 240-777-7935.  For your information, the Council web site has a section on Council Grant Information at:

Thank you for the contributions you and others in the nonprofit community make to a better future for all our residents.


Craig Rice

Inauguration for Council and Executive

County Executive Ike Leggett and nine Councilmembers–two of them newly-elected–will take the oath of office for four-year terms at a ceremony at Richard Montgomery High School in Rockville on Monday, December 1. The event will begin at 11:15 a.m. and is free and open to the public. It will be videostreamed live via and broadcast live on County Cable Montgomery (Channel 6 for Comcast and RCN customers, Channel 30 for Verizon subscribers).

The swearing-in will be preceded by an Inaugural Inter-Faith Prayer Service at 8:45 a.m. on Monday at the Rockville United Church, 355 Linthicum Avenue in Rockville. The service is also free and open to the public. Learn more.

Transition of Two Council Seats

County Council members

In the final session of the 17th Council we said farewell to the shortest-term and longest-term members of the County Council--Cherri Branson and Phil Andrews, each of whom did not seek re-election to their seats.


We are extremely grateful to Cherri Branson for her willilngness to serve District 5 when the need arose. Although her term lasted only one year, she made a huge contribution to the County and represented her constituents admirably.


Phil Andrews, who represents District 3 and concluded his 16th year on the Council, has been a strong and thoughtful leader respected by all. He is been best knows for his unflappable style and his ability to listen carefully to all viewpoints. He has been a stong advocate for fiscal responsibility, and Montgomery County has been lucky to have him in public service for four terms.


Newly elected Councilmembers Tom Hucker and Sidney Katz will join us right after their inauguration on December 1. Both have extensive experience in elected office, and I look forward to working with them.

Green Tip of the Month

Capital Crescent Trail covered in snow

Montgomery Parks is launching a pilot snow removal program this winter for the Montgomery Parks portion of the Capital Crescent Trail in Bethesda. Park staff will clear snow on three and a half miles of the trail starting at the Bethesda Avenue entrance point to the Washington D.C. line, as well as along 12 feeder trails. Parks staff will begin clearing the trail within 24 hours from when snow stops falling.

Regular updates on the status of snow removal along the trail will be posted on Montgomery Parks’ website during and after snow events. You can contribute your updates on the conditions of the trail via Twitter using #CCTSnow.

The snow removal program does not include salting of the trail or ice removal. People are encouraged to stay off the trail until snow is cleared and to use caution when accessing the trail following snow removal.

Fast Fact

As we celebrate the holidays, we are reminded that hunger remains a problem for many of our residents. Here are some startling facts about hunger right here in Montgomery County:

  • 51,842 children in Montgomery County live in food insecure households, uncertain where their next meal is coming from.
  • More than one in three Montgomery County Public School students qualify for Free and Reduced Meals. That totals more students than there are enrolled in the DC Public Schools system.
  • 8,060 County seniors live below the poverty line--up 29.5 percent from 2009--and that number is expected to continue to increase.

Learn more about hunger in Montgomery County and how you can help.

Let's Talk

Is your community organization hosting a public meeting? Please let me know how I can help. I am happy to assist residents in understanding pending bills or in finding ways to get involved in the political process. Even more important, I want to hear about what matters to you. Send your meeting notices to or call 240-777-7959 if you would like me to address a particular topic with your group.

December 2014

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