ROCKVILLE, Md., July 15, 2015—Councilmember Nancy Navarro, who represents District 4, which includes Wheaton, released the following statement about the fatal shooting at the Wheaton Metro Garage that occurred last night:
My heart goes out to the family of the victim of last night’s homicide in Wheaton. Montgomery County Police Department (MCPD) did a tremendous job responding to this incident and quickly bringing the suspects into custody. MCPD continues to investigate the circumstances that precipitated this incident.
Montgomery County is making a tremendous infrastructure investment over the next few years in Wheaton, which on the whole, continues to be an extremely safe place to live, work and raise a family. With Wheaton redevelopment kicking off in just a few short months, it is more important than ever that our residents are safe and secure in their community. I have tremendous confidence that our outstanding police force, working in partnership with the Metro Transit Police Department, will redouble their efforts to keep Wheaton safe. We will not let one violent incident deter us from making Wheaton—and all of mid- and east-Montgomery County the best it can be.
# # # #
When County Executive Isiah Leggett released his recommended Fiscal Year 2016 (FY16) Operating Budget in March, he suggested that next year’s budget would be difficult. He said, “it’s almost unavoidable down the line that we’ll have a tax increase.” The FY16 Budget that he proposed was essentially a “same services budget,” with one of the few changes being salary increases for County employees.
In May, the Council approved a responsible and responsive budget that reflects Montgomery County’s progressive values. Throughout the budget process, we heard from our constituents about your priorities, and the budget we passed included many of those items:
- The Council funded recently-passed legislation to support child care and health insurance assistance for low-income workers.
- We included housing support for homeless veterans.
- We provided additional money for workers who serve the developmentally disabled.
On July 8, County Executive Leggett transmitted an FY16 Savings Plan to the Council that would eliminate these priorities. After the negative U.S. Supreme Court decision in the Wynne case and lower than expected income tax revenue distribution, budget reductions are certainly necessary; however, that doesn’t mean we should be cutting — and in some cases, gutting — programs that serve our most vulnerable residents.
Budgets are moral documents — and so are budget savings plans.
Council committees began reviewing the County Executive’s proposed savings plan on Monday and will continue to make recommendations through next week. On July 28, the full Council is scheduled to discuss and vote on the committee recommendations.
The Council has set up a special website to solicit your feedback on the proposed budget savings plan. You can share your views using the Council Budget Savings Plan Web Portal, or you can e-mail County.Council@MontgomeryCountyMD.gov to send a message to the entire Council. To keep up-to-date with the latest news about the budget savings plan and other issues, be sure to follow me on Twitter and “like” my Facebook page.
As we move through this challenging budget process, I will continue fighting for our shared values and priorities.
Last week, the County Council voted 7 to 2 in favor of a resolution approving a Declaration of No Further Need (DNFN) for Site II in White Oak. Site II is a 115 acre property that was formerly a Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission (WSSC) waste composting facility. The County has partnered with a private developer to create a “vibrant, mixed-use, transit-oriented” life science village that is envisioned in the recently adopted White Oak Science Gateway Master Plan.
Under Bill 11-12, County Property Disposition, the Council is responsible for deciding when surplus County-owned property is no longer needed. In this case, the Site II property in White Oak was purchased by the County for the express purpose of partnering with a private developer to redevelop the site into a hub for the jobs, housing and high-quality amenities that are desperately needed in the East County.
When I was elected to the Council in 2009, one of my top priorities was accelerating the White Oak Science Gateway Master Plan so this project could move forward. The County’s policy of keeping the East County in a development moratorium for decades before my election was and continues to be one of the policies I have sought to reverse since joining the Council. The Council’s vote last week was an important step towards revitalizing the East County by bringing the jobs and amenities that residents in our part of the county deserve.
You can watch a clip of my remarks before the Council’s action here:
Legislation Will Enable Workers to Earn Up to 7 Days Paid Leave Per Year for Reasons of Health, Domestic Abuse
ROCKVILLE, Md., June 23, 2015—The Montgomery County Council today unanimously approved Bill 60-14 that will require most employers doing business in the County to provide earned sick and safe leave to employees for work performed in the County. Enactment of the bill makes Montgomery County one of the few local jurisdictions in the nation to have some form of required sick and safe leave requirements for employees.
Earned sick and safe leave is paid leave that can be used for the injury or illness of the employee or the employee’s immediate family. It also can be used for time off needed due to domestic violence suffered by the employee or a member of the employee’s immediate family.
Under Bill 60-14, an employer could provide any type of paid time off that can be used by the employee for each of the purposes outlined in the bill to satisfy the earned sick and safe leave requirement. The bill applies to an employee, but not an independent contractor. The bill also excludes an employee who works less than eight hours a week.
The bill will take effect on Oct. 1, 2016, for most employees it covers.
Council President George Leventhal and Nancy Navarro were the lead sponsors of Bill 60-14. Councilmembers Marc Elrich, Tom Hucker, Hans Riemer and former Councilmember Cherri Branson were co-sponsors. Councilmembers Roger Berliner, Nancy Floreen, Sidney Katz and Craig Rice also voted to enact the bill.
“This policy will improve the lives of working families in our County where more than 100,000 workers currently lack even one paid sick day,” said Council President Leventhal. “More parents will be free from making the heart-wrenching choice between taking care of a sick child or losing a day of pay.”
Bill 60-14 will require an employer to provide earned sick and safe leave at a rate of at least one hour for every 30 hours an employee works in the County up to 56 hours in a calendar year. An employee would have to be paid for earned sick and safe leave at the same rate, and with the same benefits, as the employee normally earns. A tipped employee would have to be paid at least the County minimum wage for each hour the employee uses earned sick and safe leave.
The Council approved an amendment to help small businesses. That amendment provides that an employer with fewer than five employees would have to provide an employee with up to 32 hours of paid sick and safe leave per year plus an additional 24 hours of unpaid sick and safe leave.
“In a progressive and civilized society, workers deserve basic rights,” said Councilmember Navarro. “One of those rights is the ability to take paid, earned leave when they are sick, to care for a loved one, or during a time of crisis. I am pleased Montgomery County is leading once again by passing this bill that reflects our values and brings meaningful protections to thousands of our lowest income and most vulnerable workers.”
At a Jan. 29 public hearing on Bill 60-14, 19 of the 28 speakers supported the bill.
Although the states of California, Connecticut and Massachusetts have instituted some forms of earned sick and safe leave requirements, Montgomery will be joining a handful of local jurisdictions to have such legislation. Those other jurisdictions include the District of Columbia; Jersey City and Newark in New Jersey; New York City; Portland, Ore.; San Diego; San Francisco and Seattle.
Maryland State legislation to mandate earned sick leave was introduced in the General Assembly in 2014 and 2015, but was not enacted.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that in 2014 61 percent of workers in private-industry businesses had paid sick leave, while 89 percent of workers in state and local governments have paid sick leave. Private-industry businesses with fewer than 100 workers provide 52 percent of workers with paid sick leave; in contrast, private employers with more than 100 employees provide 72 percent of employees with paid sick leave. Private industry provides 74 percent of full-time workers with paid sick leave, whereas only 24 percent of part-time workers received the benefit. Nonunion employees are less likely to have paid sick leave than union employees.