Thursday, December 29, 2016

What's In and What's Out for 2017

In -- Education:  We committed ourselves to the core goals of closing the educational opportunity gap; reducing class sizes across the board; and making decisions that are both achievable in the short term and sustainable over time. That's why we passed an "education first" budget.

In -- Marriott:  Marriott is the gold standard for corporate excellence, and their decision to continue growing their business right here in Montgomery County is great news.

Out -- Hate:   After some incidents of inflammatory speech, vandalism and harassment, the Council passed a resolution reaffirming this County's tradition of respect for all residents.

In -- Economic Development:  We launched the privatized Montgomery County Economic Development Corporation to give economic development a real shot in the arm, and we have welcomed its first executive director.

Out -- Job Insecurity:  Our sick and safe leave law, which requires employers to provide paid sick leave, took effect in October. New legislation expanded the law to include parental leave.

In -- Renters:  Under the new landlord-tenant law, renters can look forward to greater transparency about their rights and obligations under a lease as well as an enhanced focus on inspections and enforcement with regard to health and safety issues.

In - Clean Energy:  The Council Office Building's new solar panels are a part of a larger, and very successful, County initiative to generate clean solar energy on-site.

Out -- Electronic Cigarettes:  In 2015 the Council approved my bill to ban the use of electronic cigarettes wherever traditional tobacco smoking is prohibited and to require child-resistant packaging for liquid nicotine. Now the federal government is following our lead and taking aggressive steps to keep e-cigs out of the hands of minors.

In -- Gold:  Montgomery County's four Olympians brought home seven medals from the Games in Rio.

In -- New Leadership:  Congratulations to Roger Berliner and Hans Riemer who have been elected president and vice president of the Council. As the outgoing president, I had the opportunity to reflect on the Council's business over the past year.

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