We’re taking off for Memorial Day Monday. State Roundup will return on Tuesday.
NEW ‘TRANSFORMATIONAL’ EDUCATION SUPERINTENDENT CHOSEN: A San Antonio public school administrator with a record of creative solutions to improve schools will take over as Maryland’s next state superintendent and face challenges in the wake of a year of pandemic schooling, Liz Bowie reports for the Sun.
- Mohammed Choudhury was appointed unanimously by the Maryland State Board of Education, Chris Berinato reports for WBFF.
- Choudhury will begin his term on July 1, Jenny Fulginiti reports for WBAL TV. Choudhury will replace Karen Salmon who will retire on June 30 after an education career spanning more than 45 years, including five years leading the Maryland State Department of Education.
MEMORIAL DAY COULD BRING ECONOMIC BOOST: An economic analyst is saying that Memorial Day weekend could help restart the Maryland economy, now that people in the state are vaccinated and COVID restrictions have been lifted, Kim Dacey reports for WBAL-TV. The only roadblock may be the weather.
FED HILL HIRES PRIVATE SECURITY, CITY COUNCIL HEARS FROM CITIZENS WHO WANT POLICE CUTS: A group of residents in Federal Hill have hired a private security company to help combat crime in the area, raising $18,000 from 60 individual contributions, Ray Strickland reports for WMAR.
- Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott’s $4.3 billion budget includes a $28 million increase to the police department, but 70 residents spoke at a City Council Taxpayer’s Night Thursday urging the council to cut $100 million from the department’s budget and reinvest the money in education, health, and jobs, Emily Sullivan reports for WYPR. The council has the power to cut, but not reallocate, funds.
- The council has a week of budget hearings scheduled to begin Tuesday, Emily Opilo reports for the Baltimore Sun. The increase to the police department includes no new programs but would pay for increases to employee health insurance and police pensions, she writes. But advocates crowding the meeting Thursday wanted that money going to affordable housing, after-school programs, crisis centers and abuse treatment.
GANSLER AGAINST POLICE CUTS: Former state attorney general and Democratic gubernatorial candidate Doug Gansler said Thursday that he opposes efforts to defund the police because doing so would have a negative impact on public safety in some of Maryland’s most vulnerable communities, Bryan Renbaum reports for Maryland Reporter.
DRUG PARAPHERNALIA BILL VETOED, SPONSOR VOWS OVERRIDE: Gov. Larry Hogan vetoed a bill this week that he called “dangerous” and would have decriminalized certain drug paraphernalia like needles and syringes, Madeleine O’Neill reports for the USA Today Network.
- The bill’s sponsor, Sen. Jill Carter, D-Baltimore, promised to override the governor’s veto in a social media statement, The Easton Star Democrat reported.
LOCAL JURISDICTIONS APPROVE BUDGET DECISIONS: Baltimore will be able to close out its 2021 budget without using the city’s rainy day fund, as previously feared after coronavirus spending forced the city to withdraw $8 million from the fund in the last fiscal year, Emily Opilo writes for the Sun. Instead, the city will be relying on federal aid to cover more than half of a $142.7 million deficit.
- Prince George’s County is making education the top priority in the $4.5 billion fiscal budget that was unanimously approved, William Ford reports for Washington Informer.
- Montgomery County Council has also approved its fiscal 2022 budget, which keeps the property tax rate steady, Rebecca Tan reports for the Post. They are expecting $204 million in federal relief.
- In the $6 billion budget, Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich proposed police cuts with 29 positions gone from the Montgomery County Police Department, Steve Bohnel reports for Bethesda Beat. His proposal included cutting 25 sworn officers; council members ended up cutting 27 sworn officer positions, many of which are vacant, including five school resource officers (SRO).
FEDERAL AID TO BAIL OUT UNEMPLOYMENT FUNDS: Governors across the country, including Maryland’s Gov. Larry Hogan, are planning to use billions of dollars of federal coronavirus aid to bail out unemployment insurance trust funds drained by a surge in jobless claims during the pandemic, David Lieb reports for the AP.
POSITIVE FINANCIAL OUTLOOK FOR STATE: Western Maryland legislators told a local chamber group that lawmakers ended this year’s General Assembly feeling better about the state’s financial outlook than at the end of the shortened 2020 session, Joseph Hauger reports for The Garrett County Republican.
COVID DEATHS UP WITH RECLASSIFICATIONS: The Maryland Department of Health’s Vital Statistics Administration revised the state’s COVID-19 data Thursday, adding 517 more deaths over the past year because those deaths “were not properly classified,” Ava-joye Burnett reports for WJZ.
- Around a dozen COVID-19 related deaths will be added to Carroll County pandemic data as the state recently found that medical certifiers improperly classified deaths that had been caused by COVID-19, Madison Bateman reports for the Carroll County Times.
UMD LIFTS MASK REQUIREMENTS: The University of Maryland will lift most of its mask and capacity restrictions for fully vaccinated individuals, Eric Neugeboren reports for The Diamondback, University of Maryland’s student newspaper.
PEREZ STILL IN POSSIBLE RUNNING FOR GOV: Tom Perez being named a partner at Baltimore-based law firm Venable LLP does not rule out his consideration of running for governor in 2022, Josh Kurtz reports for Maryland Matters. A source told Kurtz that Perez will likely decide by July 4 and will only be at Venable part-time.