Nancy Floreen's Montgomery in Focus, April edition

Council Passes Bill to Regulate E-cigarettes

electronic cigarette

The Council unanimously approved my bill to prohibit the use of electronic cigarettes in public places where traditional tobacco smoking is prohibited. The bill also requires child resistant packaging for liquid nicotine. The law takes effect June 12.

Perhaps swayed by the belief that electronic cigarettes are safe, or emboldened by the fact that e-cigs have little odor that parents could detect, teens who have never tried traditional cigarettes are using e-cigs, putting themselves at risk for nicotine addiction, nicotine poisoning or exposure to harmful chemicals. I am not willing to gamble with the health of our current generation of young people by waiting for federal regulations. The Council did the right thing by putting these protections in place.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration does not currently regulate e-cigarettes. However, the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act gives the FDA the authority to regulate the manufacturing, marketing and sale of tobacco products. The FDA has proposed a “deeming regulation” that would subject electronic cigarettes to FDA’s regulatory authority. It is unclear when (or whether) the FDA will issue a final rule and what the substance of that final rule will look like.

While at least 30 states have comprehensive clean indoor air laws restricting the use of lighted tobacco products in indoor public places such as bars, restaurants and office buildings, only a few have extended these provisions to include the use of electronic cigarettes. Among those states, New Jersey, North Dakota and Utah have specifically amended their clean indoor air laws to prohibit the use of electronic cigarettes in public places and workplaces.

Montgomery Women's Shining Star Award

Natali Fani_Gonzalez, Chris Van Hollen, Nancy Floreen and Tedi Osias

I was extremely honored to receive Montgomery Women's 2015 Shining Star award. Montgomery Women is a non-partisan leadership organization and political action committee started in 2001 by a diverse group of experienced and emerging leaders who recognized the need to provide a forum for women's voices in Montgomery County. I'm proud to have been a founding member of this important organization. I also want to congratulate Planning Board member Natali Fani-Gonzalelez, who received the Rising Star award.

"You've come a long way, baby." Remember that? Since the Virginia Slims slogan debuted in 1968, the number of women serving in state legislatures has more than quintupled. That's the good news. The bad news is that the proportion of women in state legislatures in 2015 is only 24 percent. Maryland is slightly ahead of the average at 31 percent. So yes, we've come a long way, but we haven't come nearly far enough. That's why I am such a fan of Montgomery Women and its mission to support women's efforts to serve in elected and appointed office as well as other leadership positions.

Council Gets Recommended Budget

The County Executive released his Recommended Operating Budget on March 16, and now it is up to the County Council to consider his proposals and approve a final budget at the end of May. We will hold our public hearings on the budget on: 

  • April 14 at 7 p.m.
  • April 15 at 1:30 p.m. and 7 p.m.
  • April 16 at 1:30 p.m. and 7 p.m.

To sign up to speak call 240-777-7803. If you can't make the hearings, you can also let us know your views by e-mailing Also, check the Council's Web site for regular budget updates.

Aspen Hill Minor Master Plan Amendment

After months of technical analysis and considerable community input, the Council approved the Aspen Hill Minor Master Plan Amendment which will provide opportunities for re-use of the former Vitro/BAE property in a way that focuses on design and encourages pedestrian use.

The plan creates mixed-use options for redevelopment of a long-empty office building and neighboring properties. Based on neighborhood concerns, we restricted the "big box" potential for the Vitro/BAE site while providing flexibility for future retail and possible residential use.

The area being addressed covers about 14 acres west of Connecticut Avenue near Aspen Hill Road. The vacant Vitro/BAE property encompasses ten of those acres. At the time the Council reviewed the 1994 Aspen Hill Master Plan Amendment, the Vitro/BAE office building was occupied and the Master Plan supported the continued office focus.

We are grateful to the Aspen Hill community for its tireless commitment to its neighborhood's future. We listened long and hard to the concerns of residents in crafting a sustainable solution for this challenging site. The passage of this plan paves the way for much-needed and long-anticipated redevelopment in the area.

Equal Pay Day

Nancy Floreen, Jeannette Feldner, Holly Joseph and Nancy Navarro all wearing red

April 14 is Equal Pay Day. It symbolizes how far into 2015 women must work to earn what men earned in 2014. 

Even though the Equal Pay Act and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act passed more than five decades ago, women continue to suffer the consequences of inequitable pay differentials. In fact, year-round, full-time working women earn only 78 cents for every dollar earned by men. In Maryland, we're doing a little bit better at 85 cents for every dollar. Women earn less in every occupational classification for which enough data is available, including occupations dominated by women. Over a working lifetime, this wage disparity costs the average American woman and her family an estimated $700,000 to $2 million in lost wages, impacting Social Security benefits and pensions. 

On April 14, we will wear red to symbolize that women are still in the red when it comes to pay equity and to emphasize that fair pay strengthens the security of families today and eases future retirement costs, while enhancing the American economy.

Green Tip of the Month

What does climate change mean to WSSC, a water/wastewater utility in the Mid-Atlantic Region, over the next 25 years?

WSSC is asking the region’s future engineers to answer this question to earn the Commissioners’ Engineering Scholarship. The essays of up to 1,500 words comprise a major component of the application to win a $1,000 college scholarship and priority consideration in WSSC’s paid summer internship program.

Advocates, environmental and energy groups, and government agencies agree that climate change will continue to significantly impact the world’s natural resources. The next generation of engineers will need to develop a plan to address specific challenges to the most precious resource, our drinking water supply. Learn more.

Fast Fact

The InvestMaryland Challenge is an annual business competition hosted by the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development and Inc. Magazine. The competition awards a $100,000 grant in each of four categories:  Defense and Security, IT, Life Sciences and Sustainability and Exploration.

This year 214 companies entered the competition from which 46 semi-finalists were chosen.  Of those 46, eleven are located in Montgomery County.  Congrats to our local semi-finalists: A1 Logic, AcceleRadio, Admit.Me, Altenera Technology, Captiva, Energy Dynamics, Mercaris, Mindoula Health Inc., Results Scorecard, and SpeakAgent. Good luck in the next round.

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.

April 2015

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