Council President's Update: Nov. 4, 2019

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Temporary Protected Status update

Last week I shared my thoughts about the Trump administration’s decision to extend the period of validity of work permits and protection from deportation for Salvadorean beneficiaries of Temporary Protected Status (TPS). On Friday, the Department of Homeland Security announced that TPS will be extended to Jan. 2021 for people from the following countries as well: Haiti, Nicaragua, Honduras, Nepal and Sudan. This is only a temporary extension while TPS and Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) are being fought in the court system. This is a minor victory, but the fight is not over. The Council stands in solidarity with our immigrant community, regardless of the policies being implemented in Washington.

Tomorrow's Council meeting

Tomorrow at 10:20 a.m. the Council is scheduled to vote on a resolution to support Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments’ (MWCOG) regional housing targets for Montgomery County. I am the lead sponsor and all other Councilmembers are cosponsors. In 2019, MWCOG analyzed and reviewed cooperative employment and housing forecasts in the region. Employment growth is currently outpacing housing. The new housing target is 75,000 more units than the current regional forecast and allocates 10,000 of these additional units to Montgomery County (including a portion in the City of Gaithersburg and the City of Rockville). The Council staff report can be viewed here.

Tomorrow at 10:30 a.m. the Council is scheduled to interview Acting Police Chief Marcus Jones for the permanent position of Montgomery County’s chief of police.  Jones, who has been serving as the acting chief of police since June, was officially nominated by County Executive Marc Elrich for the post on Oct. 21.  With more than 34 years of experience, Jones has worked his way through the ranks of our police department, serving as the assistant chief of the Investigative Services Bureau, commander of the 3rd District, director of Major Crimes, and commander of the Drug Enforcement Unit.  You can watch the interview live here.  A Council vote on the nomination is currently scheduled for the afternoon at approximately 1:40 p.m.

The Council is scheduled to vote on the following bills tomorrow:

Bill 12-19, Human Rights and Civil Liberties - Building Maintenance Worker - Minimum Work Week       

Councilmember Hans Riemer is the lead sponsor of Bill 12-19, which would increase the availability of full-time work with health insurance for building maintenance workers. I am a cosponsor along with Councilmembers Will Jawando, Tom Hucker and Craig Rice. The Health and Human Services (HHS) Committee recommends enactment with amendments. You can read more about it here.

Bill 30-19, Human Rights and Civil Liberties - Race Discrimination - Protective Hairstyles (CROWN Act) 

The CROWN Act would ensure that individuals who are discriminated against because of the appearance of their natural hair can seek a civil penalty of up to $5,000 through the County’s Office of Human Rights. Montgomery County is the first local jurisdiction to introduce such legislation. The goal of this legislation is to prevent workplace and other forms of discrimination against people who wear such hairstyles including braids, locks, afros, curls and twists. Councilmember Will Jawando and I are the lead sponsors. The HHS Committee recommends enactment with amendments, which can be found on page 2 of the Council staff report. Read more here.

Public Hearings

The Council also is scheduled to hold public hearings on multiple legislation measures to regulate the distribution of electronic cigarettes, including a zoning text amendment (ZTA) and three bills which aim to address the vaping and nicotine epidemic occurring among young people at a national level by taking measures at a local level to protect students in our schools and place restrictions on the sales of e-cigarettes and vaping products. You can read more about these related legislative proposals here, and sign up to testify at tomorrow’s public hearings here. The deadline to sign up to testify for the 1:30 p.m. hearings is 5 p.m. today, and is 10 a.m. tomorrow for the 7:30 p.m. public hearings.

Youth Town Hall

Last week was an exciting week for me to think about and engage with the young people who represent the future of our County. My fellow Councilmembers and I held a Youth Town Hall at Clarksburg High School. I was thrilled with the high turnout and with students’ thoughtful, civic-minded questions. We need to continue working with our young people and help them overcome challenges like bullying, mental health struggles and navigating the path toward higher education and the careers of tomorrow. We will hold another Youth Town Hall from 6 to 8:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 13 at Wheaton High School. Save the date and RSVP here!

Early Childhood Education

Also last week I was honored to join Board of Education President Shebra Evans, Montgomery County Public Schools Superintendent Jack Smith, parents, administrators, teachers and students to mark the opening of the second fully inclusive preschool site in MCPS: the Upcounty Early Childhood Center. Quality early care and education has been a priority for me for decades. This is the first concrete step of many more to come as we embark as a County on the Early Childhood Initiative which I have spearheaded. See video of the opening here.


As always, you can view the Council’s and Committees’ agendas and stream Council and Committee meetings live and after the fact here. You can read our Council Coming Attractions for an overview of everything that’s coming up.