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Councilmember Nancy Navarro on Fatal Shooting at Wheaton Metro Garage

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.

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Montgomery County Council Unanimously Approves Earned Sick and Safe Leave Bill

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.

Montgomery County’s Innovative Interactive Fiscal Plan Wins Awards from PTI, NACo

Online ‘Budget Tool’ Allows Users to Input

Alternative Revenue and Expenditures, Shows How They

Would Impact County’s Six-Year Budget Projections

 

ROCKVILLE, Md., June 9, 2015—Montgomery County’s Interactive Fiscal Plan, which features an innovative web-based “budget tool” that enables users to input alternative revenue and expenditure assumptions in the County’s six-year budget projections and see the potential impact, has been awarded a 2015 Achievement Award from the Public Technology Institute (PTI) and a Civic Education and Public Information Achievement Award from the National Association of Counties (NACo).

The Interactive Fiscal Plan tool, which was a combined project of the Office of Legislative Oversight and the County Council’s Information Technology staff, was launched in December 2014. Like an online mortgage calculator—which many people have become familiar with in recent years—the budget tool allows users inside government and from the public to experiment with figures of their choosing. This exercise helps users to better understand how structural changes in the County’s six-year budget projections can be impacted by significant changes in revenue or expenditures. The plan can be accessed
here.

The project was inspired by the Council’s request for development of a method to measure the effect of structural budget changes. Led by its Government Operations and Fiscal Policy (GO) Committee, the Council wanted the interactive budget tool to help users better understand how recurring revenue and expenditure patterns influence the ability to achieve balanced budgets in future years.

“My committee has prioritized open government and the innovative use of data,” said Government Operations and Fiscal Policy Committee Chair Nancy Navarro. “I am incredibly proud of the outstanding work of the Office of Legislative Oversight for this recognition. The Interactive Fiscal Plan is about ensuring our residents not only receive excellent services from the County, but also understand how the decisions policymakers have to grapple with impact those services. I look forward to working with my GO Committee colleagues in seeking out new ways we can create the most transparent and effective government in the nation.”

Each year, the Council approves a six-year fiscal plan. The plan includes operating budget revenue and expenditure estimates for the upcoming six fiscal years based on projections prepared by the County’s Department of Finance and Office of Management and Budget. The Interactive Fiscal Plan measures the effect of inputting alternative revenue and expenditure assumptions. The budget tool calculates the cumulative six-year effect of adjusting the assumed average annual rate of change for major plan variables.

For example, if a user wants to assume more funding should go to a particular agency or program, the budget tool shows that the plan is unbalanced until the user determines from where an equal amount of funds should be decreased. A user could insert numbers showing projected revenue to the County being greater or lesser than the plan indicates—and would then show how the overall projections would be impacted by those assumptions.

“The Interactive Fiscal Plan is a great example of how technology can make government more transparent and user friendly,” said Councilmember Hans Riemer, the Council’s lead member for digital government. “Since the Council passed my Open Data Law in 2012, Montgomery County government has made great strides in making our data easily available and providing it in useful formats that people can understand. Stay tuned for many more developments as we continue to find new ways to use and present data to engage and educate our residents.”

The budget tool helps bring reality and accountability to the budget process. There are constant demands for increased funding in areas important to certain agencies or groups, but those demands often are not accompanied by plans that would show the impact on other areas of the budget.

“We used the budget tool this spring when Interim Superintendent of Schools Larry Bowers, Montgomery College President DeRionne Pollard and I conducted a series of forums around the County to explain the budget process to residents,” said Councilmember Craig Rice. “It quickly proved to be a great help in what we were trying to accomplish and it demonstrated how this could assist anyone who is interested in any aspect of the County operating budget.”

The Public Technology Institute actively supports local government executives and elected officials through research, education, executive-level consulting services and national recognition programs. It is the only technology organization created by and for cities and counties. At its Oct. 11-13 Local Government CIO Summit in Salt Lake City, PTI will recognize the Interactive Fiscal Plan, as well as Montgomery County’s initiatives regarding its GIS Web Portal, its Criminal Justice Case Management System, its Financial Transparency Suite and its Tax Assessment System.

The NACo Award will be presented on July 12 at NACo’s Annual Conference and Exposition in Mecklenburg County, N.C.

The Interactive Fiscal Plan was created through the efforts of Aron Trombka of the Office of Legislative Oversight; Michelle Parsons, Nic Berry and Namita Acharya of the Council’s IT office; Shan Balasubramanian and Veda Raman of the Department of Technology Services; and Rockville-based contractor Technology Digest Inc.

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Montgomery Procurement Task Force Seeks Input from Businesses Through Survey

Information Will Assist Council-Appointed Task Force in

Formulating Recommendations to Improve System

ROCKVILLE, Md., June 5, 2015—The Montgomery County Procurement and Regulations Task Force, which was appointed by the County Council in its efforts to improve the County’s procurement operations, is seeking input from users of the system. The survey seeks opinions about many aspects of the system, including the complexity of the solicitation process and the length of time it takes the County to respond to solicitations.

The task force is asking that responses to the brief online survey be completed by Tuesday, June 30. The survey can be found here.

Anyone experienced with the procurement system is invited to respond to the survey. The task force will use the survey as part of its study, and ensuing recommendations to the Council, on what works in the County’s current procurement and what needs improvement.

“Our task force has met with a variety of County officials from the County Executive to the County Council to employees in County departments,” said David Robbins, who chairs the seven-member task force. “But we need business community input to recommend meaningful reforms. This survey is focused on business community input, and asks open-ended questions to make sure we understand what is working and what improvements are needed.”

The task force is scheduled to have its recommendations to the Council by Sept. 15.

“The Procurement Policies and Regulations Task Force is doing an outstanding job ensuring the views of all stakeholders are represented in their deliberations,” said Councilmember Nancy Navarro, who chairs the Council’s Government Operations and Fiscal Policy Committee. “This survey will give voice to business owners who interact with the County’s procurement process on a regular basis. I look forward to seeing the results of the survey and the recommendations of the task force this fall.”

More information about the survey and the task force can be obtained by calling 240-777-7922.

The Council has also appointed another task force looking at how the minority/female/disabled (MFD) and local small business community is being served by the County procurement process. That task force also is scheduled to give a report and recommendations to the Council in September.

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Montgomery Council Unanimously Approves Bill 11-15 to Expand Child Care

Councilmembers Navarro and Riemer Partnered In Legislation to Provide Quality Enhancement Initiative And Create Strategic Plan for Child Care Expansion 

ROCKVILLE, Md., May 5, 2015—The Montgomery County Council today unanimously approved Bill 11-15 that will expand affordable, quality child care services in the County and develop a strategic plan for child care services. 

Bill 11-15 is the Child Care Expansion and Quality Enhancement Initiative. The bill’s lead sponsors are Councilmembers Nancy Navarro and Hans Riemer. The bill was co-sponsored by Councilmembers Roger Berliner, Marc Elrich, Nancy Floreen, Tom Hucker, Sidney Katz, George Leventhal and Craig Rice.

The approved legislation requires the County Executive to designate a Child Care and Early Education Officer in the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), establishes the Early Childhood Advisory Council and creates a Child Care Expansion and Quality Enhancement Initiative focusing on family child care providers.

 The new DHHS policy officer must develop a data-driven strategic plan that defines the child care needs in the County and maps a path to universal access to affordable, quality care. The policy officer must also participate in the selection process for providers located in public spaces.

 “My top priority has been, and continues to be, ensuring our lowest-income and most vulnerable families have access to quality, affordable child care,” said Councilmember Navarro, who as an appointee to the President’s Commission on Educational Excellence for Hispanics serves on the Early Childhood Education Committee.  “The first five years of a child’s life is key in predicting future academic success. Every dollar we spend toward quality early care and education will save taxpayers 10-fold in the future. Closing the academic achievement gap does not begin in kindergarten—it starts with quality child care at a licensed home or center.

“The Child Care Expansion and Quality Enhancement Initiative is an important step toward County Government prioritizing early care and education by creating new structures—a high-level DHHS position, a coordinating council and culturally competent support for family child care providers. The Council’s approval of Bill 11-15 reinforces our commitment to investing in our future.”

Bill 11-15 requires DHHS to hold informational sessions for prospective family child care providers about how to become licensed providers. It also requires DHHS to provide the following services to family child care providers: technical assistance and business training; site-visits, if requested; feedback and assistance to obtain licenses; and services in Spanish and other languages.

The bill also requires that an annual report be delivered to the Council by Feb. 1 of each year about the activities, accomplishments and plans of DHHS related to the initiative and an assessment of the County’s child care needs. 

“As fast as child care costs are rising in Montgomery County, this need is becoming as big of an affordability crisis as higher education has already become,” said Councilmember Riemer. “How can families really be expected to pay for child care, save for college and retirement and have anything left?  In his 2015 State of the Union Address, President Barack Obama said, ‘It is time we stop treating child care as a side issue, or a women’s issue, and treat it like the national economic priority that it is for all of us,’ I couldn’t agree more.  And I know there are a lot of dads out there who will agree with me when I say that, as a man and a father, child care must be a personal priority for all of us.”

Councilmember Riemer had proposed that an independent Office of Child Care be created with the director reporting directly to the County Executive. However, DHHS suggested the option to create the new, senior-level policy officer position be created within the department. Councilmember Riemer and his colleagues agreed with DHHS’ approach.

There are 477 State-licensed child care centers in the County with the capacity to serve 32,879 children, but the demand for quality child care far exceeds the supply. Data from 2012, provided by the Maryland Child Care Resource Network, estimates that the number of children under 12 with mothers in the workforce in the County is 121,859.

 The goals of Bill 11-15 are to generate a strategic plan for child care services in Montgomery County, develop new partnerships, assist potential providers in navigating the procedures required for licensing, increase the number of children being served, and ensure quality child care programs.

Montgomery Councilmembers Navarro and Riemer Partner to Expand Child Care

Quality Enhancement Initiative, Strategic Plan for Child Care Expansion Unanimously Recommended by Health and Human Services and Education Committees 

ROCKVILLE, Md., April 27, 2015—The Montgomery County Council’s Health and Human Services Committee and its Education Committees voted unanimously today to combine ideas from two bills focused on improving child care services in the County to create one bill that would expand affordable, quality child care and develop a strategic plan for child care services.

Today’s worksession addressed Bill 11-15 on child care expansion and quality enhancement—which was introduced by Councilmember Nancy Navarro—and Bill 13-15 that was introduced by Councilmember Hans Riemer and would have established a new County Office of Child Care.  The joint committees have recommended creating a new, senior-level policy officer position focused on child care in the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). The recommendation is part of amended Bill 11-15 that is tentatively scheduled to go to the full Council for final action on May 5.

The new, combined Bill 11-15 is sponsored by Councilmembers Navarro, Riemer, Nancy Floreen and Marc Elrich. The new DHHS policy officer must develop a data-driven strategic plan that defines the child care needs in the County and maps a path to universal access to affordable, quality care. The policy officer must also participate in the selection process for providers located in public spaces.

“My top priority has been and continues to be ensuring our lowest-income and most vulnerable families have access to quality, affordable child care,” said Councilmember Navarro, who as an appointee to the President’s Commission on Educational Excellence for Hispanics serves on the Early Childhood Education Committee.  “The first five years of a child’s life is key in predicting future academic success. Every dollar we spend toward quality early care and education will save taxpayers 10-fold in the future. Closing the academic achievement gap does not begin in kindergarten—it starts with quality child care at a licensed home or center.

“The Child Care Expansion and Quality Enhancement Initiative is an important step toward County Government prioritizing early care and education by creating new structures—a high-level DHHS position, a coordinating council and culturally competent support for family child care providers. The Council’s approval of Bill 11-15 will reinforce our commitment to investing in our future.”

Bill 11-15 requires DHHS to hold informational sessions for prospective family child care providers about how to become licensed providers.  It also requires DHHS to provide the following services to family child care providers: technical assistance and business training; site-visits, if requested; feedback and assistance to obtain licenses; and services in Spanish and other languages.

The bill also requires that an annual report be delivered to the Council by Feb. 1 of each year about the activities, accomplishments and plans of DHHS related to the initiative and an assessment of the County’s child care needs.

“As fast as child care costs are rising in Montgomery County, this need is becoming as big of an affordability crisis as higher education has already become,” said Councilmember Riemer. “How can families really be expected to pay for child care, save for college and retirement and have anything left?  In his 2015 State of the Union Address, President Barack Obama said, ‘It is time we stop treating child care as a side issue, or a women’s issue, and treat it like the national economic priority that it is for all of us,’ I couldn’t agree more.  And I know there are a lot of dads out there who will agree with me when I say that, as a man and a father, child care must be a personal priority for all of us.”

Councilmember Riemer had proposed that an independent Office of Child Care be created with the director reporting directly to the County Executive. However, DHHS suggested the option to create the new, senior-level policy officer position be created within the department. Councilmember Riemer and his colleagues agreed with DHHS’ approach.

There are 477 State-licensed child care centers in the County with the capacity to serve 32,879 children, but the demand for quality child care far exceeds the supply. Data from 2012, provided by the Maryland Child Care Resource Network, estimates that the number of children under 12 with mothers in the workforce in the County is 121,859.

The goals of Bill 11-15 are to generate a strategic plan for child care services in Montgomery County, develop new partnerships, assist potential providers in navigating the procedures required for licensing, increase the number of children being served, and ensure quality child care programs.

 

 

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Montgomery Council’s Government Operations Committee Recommends Funding for New County Public Campaign Finance System

Committee Recommended Today That Up to $2 Million Be Available for Landmark Program

ROCKVILLE, Md., April 16, 2015—The Montgomery County Council’s Government Operations and Fiscal Policy (GO) Committee today unanimously recommended that the full Council consider adding up to $2 million to begin funding a new Public Election Fund that will allow candidates for County Council and County Executive to qualify for partial public financing for their campaigns.

 When the Council approved Bill 16-14 in September, it was the first measure of its type for County elective offices in the Washington Region and in the State of Maryland. The plan was to have partial funding added each year to the campaign fund to prepare for the next County election, which will be in 2018. However, County Executive Isiah Leggett, who signed the bill, did not include any money for the election fund in the Fiscal Year 2016 operating budget that he presented to the Council on March 16.

The Council is now reviewing all aspects of the recommended budget and is scheduled to approve the FY16 operating budget in late May. Today, the GO Committee, which is chaired by Nancy Navarro and includes Councilmembers Sidney Katz and Hans Riemer, in its review of the Public Election Fund, recommended that up to $2 million (in four increments of $500,000 each) be placed on the “reconciliation list” of items that the Council will consider for funding as part of its budget discussions.

“Public financing is proven to get people involved in elections who otherwise would not participate,” said Committee Chair Navarro. “With the dismal voter turnout in the 2014 gubernatorial election, it is critical that we do whatever we can to increase civic participation, voter turnout and fair elections.”

Since 2001, members of the Montgomery County Council have urged the Maryland General Assembly to provide the County with the authority to adopt campaign finance reforms. In 2013, the General Assembly enacted a bill that enables counties to provide for the option of public financing for county elective offices beginning with the 2015-18 election cycle. Participation by candidates would be voluntary.

“I think it is crucial that we make a down payment to the Public Financing Fund this year to prove that we are serious about making public financing work in Montgomery County and getting big money out of our politics,” said Councilmember Riemer.

Councilmember Katz said: “I believe that it was necessary to take the initial step of placing funds on the reconciliation list in order to ensure funding for this important endeavor.”

Bill 16-14 established a Public Election Fund. To qualify for public financing, a candidate would have to:

  • File a Notice of Intent prior to collecting qualifying contributions
  • Establish a publicly funded campaign account
  • Only accept contributions from an individual of between $5 and $150
  • Refuse to accept a contribution from any group or organization, including a political action committee, a corporation, a labor organization or a State or local central action committee of a political party
  • Collect a qualifying number of contributions from County residents: 500 for County Executive candidates, 250 for at-large Council candidates and 125 for district Council candidates
  • Meet qualifying dollar thresholds of $40,000 for County Executive, $20,000 for at-large Councilmember and $10,000 for district Councilmember
  • Limits are indexed to inflation
  • Only contributions from County residents are eligible for matching funds.

The plan provides strong incentives for candidates to seek out many small individual contributors. Matching public dollars for County Executive candidates would be $6 for each dollar of the first $50 of a qualifying contribution received from a County resident, $4 for each dollar for the second $50 and $2 for each remaining dollar received up to the maximum contribution. Matching dollars for County Council candidates would be $4 for each dollar of the first $50 received from a County resident, $3 for each dollar for the second $50 and $2 for each remaining dollar received up to the maximum contribution.

The maximum limit on public funds per candidate for either the primary election or the general election will be $750,000 for a County Executive candidate, $250,000 for a Council at-large candidate and $125,000 for a district Council candidate. Matching dollars would not be distributed for self/spouse contributions or to candidates running unopposed.

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Montgomery Council Approves Bill to Increase Access to Health Insurance for Employees of Contractors

Nancy with workers

ROCKVILLE, Md., April 14, 2015—The Montgomery County Council today approved amended Bill 14-14 that will require the County’s Department of Health and Human Services to assist employees of County contractors and subcontractors who do not have employer-sponsored health insurance to apply for insurance on the Maryland Health Benefit Exchange. The bill also will require contractors and subcontractors to permit employees to meet with HHS representatives for this purpose on company time.

The chief sponsor of the bill is Councilmember Nancy Navarro. The bill was co-sponsored by Councilmembers Roger Berliner, Marc Elrich, Nancy Floreen, Hans Riemer and former Councilmember Cherri Branson. The bill was approved today by a vote of 9-0.

The amended bill also will require contractors to report to the County’s Office of Procurement on the number of its employees who have health insurance. Procurement will be required to report to the Council and the County Executive on the number of County contractor and subcontractor employees without health insurance. Additionally, the bill strengthens the existing Living Wage Law by requiring the County to retain quarterly payroll reports submitted by contractors. The law would sunset after two years unless the Council decides to extend it.

“Employees of County contractors deserve access to affordable health insurance,” said Councilmember Navarro. “Bill 14-14 is an important step toward ensuring that the County Government assists low-income employees, such as sanitation workers, in obtaining health insurance and receiving federal subsidies for which they are eligible. This bill will allow the County to collect and retain data, for the first time, to better understand how many of these employees do not have access to health insurance.”

The provisions of Bill 14-14 apply to contractors who are covered under Bill 5-02—the Living Wage Law—that was enacted by the Council on June 11 2002. The Living Wage Law requires certain businesses that provide services (but not goods) to the County to pay employees working on a County contract a minimum living wage effective July 1, 2003. The current living wage has been adjusted to $14.15 per hour.

Bill 14-14 takes another step toward making sure employees of contractors are aware that they could be eligible for federal health insurance subsidies under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and will assist them in applying.

Councilmember Nancy Navarro Pushes to Expand Licensed Child Care and Provide Affordable Community Use Space for Programs Serving Vulnerable Youth

News Conference on Tuesday, March 17, Will Precede Montgomery Hearings on 2 Bills Addressing Child Care Needs

ROCKVILLE, Md., March 16, 2015—Montgomery County Councilmember Nancy Navarro will be joined by childcare providers, nonprofit leaders and community advocates at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, March 17, to explain how her two newly-introduced bills will help expand and enhance the provision of child care in Montgomery County. One of the bills would help provide public space at an affordable rate for organizations serving low-income families and vulnerable youth—including those that provide childcare services. The other bill would help expand licensed child care opportunities.  

 The news conference starting at 7 p.m. will be held in the Third Floor Conference Room of the Council Office Building at 100 Maryland Ave. in Rockville. At 7:30 p.m. in the Third Floor Hearing Room, the Council will hold public hearings on Bills 11-15 and 12-15. The public hearings will be broadcast live on County Cable Montgomery (Cable Channel 6 on Comcast and RCN, Channel 30 on Verizon) and will be streamed live via the Council web site at: www.montgomerycountymd.gov/council .

 Councilmember Navarro’s child care bill (Bill 11-15)—which is cosponsored by Council Vice President Nancy Floreen—would create a Child Care Expansion and Quality Enhancement Initiative in the County’s Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). The bill would require DHHS to hold informational sessions for prospective family child care providers about how to become state-licensed providers. The bill also requires DHHS to hold informational sessions for current child care providers, including information on how to obtain additional licenses and accreditation.

 For both current licensed family child care providers and prospective child care providers, the bill requires DHHS to provide technical assistance and business training, site-visits (if requested) and services in Spanish and other languages. This bill also requires an annual report to the Council by Feb. 1 about the activities, accomplishments and DHHS plans related to the initiative and an assessment of the County’s child care needs.

 “When it comes to parents’ decisions about child care arrangements, many low-income and immigrant communities rely on relatives and/or home-based care—often unregulated care settings,” said Councilmember Navarro. “It is imperative to continue placing emphasis on family childcare providers as one component of the early care and education continuum of service to raise the quality, affordability and accessibility of child care.”

 The Maryland Child Care Resource Network estimates that in Montgomery County, the number of children under age 11 with mothers in the workforce is 138,292. There are currently 933 family childcare providers with the capacity to serve 7,012 children, and roughly 64 percent of these providers speak a language other than English. The goals of Bill 11-15 are to assist, in a culturally and linguistically competent manner, potential providers in navigating the procedures required for licensing, increase the number of children being served and ensure quality childcare programs.

 “The need for affordable, quality child care continues to increase in Montgomery County, but the availability of child care slots is failing to keep pace, especially in the category of family child care providers,” said Councilmember Floreen. “Obviously, this is unsustainable, and we must take action sooner rather than later to make quality child care more available to our working families. It benefits not only our children and families, but the County’s economic vitality as well.”

 Bill 12-15, also sponsored by Councilmember Navarro, would increase the affordability and use of public facilities by organizations serving vulnerable youth and low-income families. The bill would create a program that provides fee waivers or reductions for eligible organizations in need of public use space. It requires the Director of Community Use of Public Facilities (CUPF) to conduct outreach and provide technical assistance to help encourage the use of public facilities by organizations that serve some of the County’s most vulnerable residents. It also would require a biennial report from CUPF, which would highlight the successes and challenges pertaining to the implementation of this program.

In the past, non-profit organizations and community-based groups have identified the need for more affordable community use space in the County. In Fiscal Year 2013, the Council funded a Community Access Pilot Program to provide financial assistance and increased opportunities for groups, organizations and community members to receive financial assistance from the County to secure space in the Silver Spring Civic Building. The pilot program is open to various community groups and civic organizations. Bill 12-15 expands on the practice by providing financial assistance to groups serving vulnerable youth and low-income families across all public space managed by the County.

 “I am proud to sponsor these bills. Before holding elected office, I trained hundreds of providers and watched informal babysitting arrangements transform into successful, legitimate businesses,” said Councilmember Navarro. “The national trends show that the academic achievement gap is present before children enter kindergarten. As a member of the Early Childhood Committee of the White House Commission on Educational Excellence for Hispanics, I know that providing a high-quality education for all children is critical to America’s socio-economic success.”

 

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Montgomery County Councilmember Nancy Navarro to Receive ‘Outstanding Elected Official Award’ from Governor’s Commission on Hispanic Affairs

She Will Receive Award on Wednesday, Oct. 15, at
Reception at Governor’s Home in Annapolis

ROCKVILLE, Md., October 8, 2014—Montgomery County Councilmember Nancy Navarro at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 15, will receive the “Outstanding Elected Official Award” from the Governor’s Commission on Hispanic Affairs. The award will be presented during a reception at the Governor’s home in Annapolis in celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month.

“Under the administration of Governor Martin O’Malley and Lieutenant Governor Anthony Brown, our Hispanic community has flourished,” Y. Maria Martinez, chair of the commission, wrote to Councilmember Navarro. “We’ve grown rapidly, not only in numbers, but in our daily contributions to this great State we call home. We’ve advanced policies that affect our community such as the Maryland Dream Act, licenses for undocumented immigrants, limiting the State’s cooperation in the federal Secure Communities program, supporting children seeking refuge from violence in Central American countries and so many more.

“Our community’s achievements have been made possible because of this administration’s commitment to diversity and the belief in the dignity and respect of every individual. However, we also acknowledge that we could not have done this without the individuals like you who are committed to working on behalf of the Hispanic community to make this State a great place.”

Councilmember Navarro, who chairs the Council’s Government Operations and Fiscal Policy Committee and previously served as Council President, said she was honored to be selected to receive the award.

“It is a privilege to represent the good people of District 4—working on their behalf to bring increased economic opportunities, build a stronger culture of civic participation and ensure that all children receive a quality education,” said Councilmember Navarro. “In my capacity as chair of the Council’s Government Operations Committee, I have worked to close budget gaps, strengthen our County’s fiscal position and bring unprecedented transparency to our local government. It is an honor to be recognized for my service by our outstanding Governor.”

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