Nancy Floreen's Montgomery in Focus, February edition

Student Newspaper Covers E-cigarette Bill

electronic cigarette

Kudos to the countywide student newspaper, MoCo Student, for the great article on my bill to regulate the use of electronic cigarettes. Since the bill focuses largely on the use of e-cigarettes by minors, I'm glad to see student reporter, Isabelle Zhou, giving the subject this coverage. Ms. Zhou does a great job not only of getting the facts straight but also of including a youth perspective, noting "because e-cigarettes release vapor instead of smoke and leave no smell, it is easier for kids to conceal their use of these products from parents or guardians."

Your Thoughts Wanted on Pesticide Bill

white dog

Let us know what you think of Bill 52-14, which would ban the use of cosmetic pesticides that have been linked to a wide range of diseases. The bill is intended to protect residents, especially children, from potentially hazardous exposure to known toxins and carcinogens.

The bill would ban the use of “non-essential” pesticides on lawns, certain athletic playing fields, and County-owned public grass areas. It also would require property owners to post a notice when they apply pesticides and would require the County to adopt an integrated pest management program for certain County-owned property.

The bill contains exemptions for agriculture, control of noxious weeds and invasive species, maintenance of golf courses, the protection of human health and the prevention of significant economic damage. If you would like to weigh in, send your written testimony to

Apply for the Public Election Fund Committee

The Montgomery County Council is seeking applicants for positions on the recently established Committee to Recommend Funding for the Public Election Fund. Get your letter of interest in by February 4.

The Council recently enacted Bill 16-14 that established a voluntary public campaign financing system for candidates for County Council and County Executive. Beginning with the 2018 election, a candidate for Council or Executive may seek matching funds for small dollar contributions of $150 or less from a Public Election Fund. The Council must appropriate funds for the Public Election Fund as part of the annual County government operating budget.

The legislation created the Committee to Recommend Funding for the Public Election Fund to estimate the funds necessary to implement the public campaign finance system and recommend an annual appropriation by the Council to the Public Election Fund. Learn more.

Local Leader a Washingtonian of the Year

Nancy Floreen talking with staff at A Wider Circle.

Less than a year after being named a CNN Hero, A Wider Circle founder Mark Bergel has been named a Washingtonian of the Year by Washingtonian magazine—one of nine leaders selected for their good works and generous contributions to the Washington area. Founded in 2001, A Wider Circle aims to end poverty one individual and one family at a time through the provision of furniture and household items, job preparedness training, life skills workshops, and long-term support. The Silver Spring-based non-profit provides beds and other furniture for the homes of more than 4,000 families a year with the average income of those families being $12,000 per year, including all forms of assistance. You may remember Mark and A Wider Circle from the award-winning documentary The Unseen Montgomery, which highlighted the hidden poverty in Montgomery County.

Apply for Board of Investment Trustees

Apply by February 18 to serve as the County Council's representative on the Board of Investment Trustees for the Montgomery County Employee Retirement Plans and the Board of Trustees for the Consolidated Retiree Health Benefits Trust. The boards set investment policy, hire investment managers and monitor investment performance for the Trust Funds.

Trustees serve three-year terms without compensation. The boards meet six times a year from 8:30 a.m. until approximately 1 p.m., usually on Fridays in January, March, May, July, September and November.

The Council is seeking a person who is knowledgeable in pensions, investments or financial matters. Learn more.

Green Tip of the Month

Montgomery County’s Bikeshare program celebrated its first year of operation in fall 2014 and exceeded participation projections with 35,000 trips taken. The Department of Transportation launched its Capital Bikeshare network in October 2013 with 14 stations. Over the following months, the program ramped up to install a total of 51 stations in three geographic areas: Bethesda/Friendship Heights along the east leg of the Metrorail Red Line; Silver Spring/Takoma Park along the west leg of the Metrorail Red Line; and Rockville/Shady Grove/Life Sciences Center.

Peak Bikeshare ridership occurred during the morning and evening weekday rush hours. The Bikeshare stations at or near Metrorail stations were the most popular.

Fast Fact

We'll see what the groundhog has to say, but for now we still have to prepare for winter weather. Remember, you can automatically receive email, text and pager alerts about emergencies, weather conditions, program and school closures, traffic and more by signing up for Alert Montgomery. You also can check the status of snow removal in your neighborhood on the interactive snow plow map.

Property owners are required by law to clear sidewalks in front of, and alongside, their properties within 24 hours of the end of a snowstorm. Help keep our communities and neighbors safe by doing your part. If your neighbor is elderly or disabled, you can assist them by clearing their sidewalks and checking on them during storms.

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.

February 2015

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