State Roundup: Moore asks global forum in U.K. to help fight poverty here; Md. rents are still higher than average; Baltimore Co. budget offers record funds hike for schools

State Roundup: Moore asks global forum in U.K. to help fight poverty here; Md. rents are still higher than average; Baltimore Co. budget offers record funds hike for schools

In another departure from tradition, Gov. Wes Moore invited the entire press corps into his office for a press conference Monday to discuss the close of the General Assembly session. He also played chess with his daughter Mia. Governor's Office photo by Patrick Siebert

MOORE ASKS FORUM ATTENDEES IN ENGLAND TO HELP HIM BEAT POVERTY IN MD.: Gov. Wes Moore gave one of the keynote speeches at an annual global gathering of philanthropists, social entrepreneurs and policy leaders in Oxford, England, on Thursday, asking for their collective help to reduce poverty in Maryland. Moore told the crowd at the Skoll World Forum that he came out of their community, noting he had been a nonprofit chief of a poverty-fighting organization and a social entrepreneur running a company trying to help college freshmen stay in school. Erin Cox/The Washington Post

SESSION WRAP-UP: NO LOSERS: In general, the 90-day General Assembly session that wrapped-up Monday was a productive and harmonious gathering. And a momentous one too, from the depth and breadth of policy that is being enacted, writes the staff of Maryland Matters. And so we’re taking a different approach with our annual post-session “Winners and Losers” list. But in the first year of a first term, and with a rookie governor, they start by accentuating the positive and offering a streamlined look at what happened.

MD. RENTS ARE STILL HIGHER THAN AVERAGE: Housing rental costs in Maryland have been above the national average since at least 2018. Even as average rents started to level out in January and February of this year, rents in Maryland are still above the national average. Rents were relatively stagnant before the COVID-19 pandemic, but spiked with pandemic inflation. In 2023, rents appear to be balancing with the help of disinflation and some local legislation. Natalie Adams of Capital News Service/Maryland Reporter

BALTIMORE CO. BUDGET INCLUDES RECORD HIKES IN SCHOOL FUNDS AND RAISES FOR WORKERS: Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski Jr. touted his $4.9 billion annual spending plan Thursday as containing the “single largest increase in history” for the county school system and a “record investment” for government workers. Olszewski, a Democrat, proposed cost-of-living increases for educators and county employees and announced during his address to the Baltimore County Council in Towson that Community College of Baltimore County classes would be free for residents earning less than $150,000 a year. Lia Russell/The Baltimore Sun

INSIDE THE DIGITAL BLACK MARKET FOR SNAP FOOD BENEFITS: Cybercriminals are trafficking welfare benefits on illicit marketplaces — stealing from the country’s most vulnerable. Thieves are targeting federal food assistance and other benefits programs fed by billions in additional federal funding with minimal security measures in place. They’re purchasing stolen benefits information online, printing the data onto cloned debit cards and cashing out, The Baltimore Banner found after analyzing dozens of online markets, obtaining state social welfare records and speaking to cyber security experts. Brenna Smith, Nick Thieme and Brenda Wintrode/The Baltimore Banner

CANDIDATES VIE FOR MoCo DELEGATE SEAT: Six applicants for an open delegate seat representing District 39 in the Maryland General Assembly made their case for why they should head to Annapolis during a public forum hosted by the Montgomery County Democratic Central Committee (MCDCC) Wednesday. Ginny Bixby/MoCo360

PACKED HERING ON MoCo BUDGET: Dozens of residents packed Montgomery County Council chambers Tuesday afternoon to voice their concerns about potential tax increases and share their priorities for the fiscal year 2024 county budget during a public hearing. So many residents attended the hearing–many holding signs–that seats were filled and some people stood along walls, supporting testimony. Some opposed the property tax hike proposed by County Executive Marc Elrich. Ginny Bixby/MoCo360

U.S. JUDGE SAYS BALTIMORE POLICE REFORM IS MAKING SOME PROGRESS, BUT NOT ENOUGH: The Baltimore Police Department is “turning the corner” in reforming unconstitutional policing practices, according to the federal judge overseeing the city’s consent decree with the U.S. Department of Justice. But it’s not sufficiently sharing that progress with the communities it serves — a vital part of rebuilding trust and repairing damaged relationships, U.S. District Judge James K. Bredar said at Thursday’s quarterly public hearing. Darcy Costello/The Baltimore Sun

JUDGES, POLICE OFTEN DEFERRED TO ARCHDIOCESE ABUSERS, REPORT FINDS: The Maryland Office of the Attorney General’s recently released grand jury report, which details decades of sexual abuse and cover-ups within the Archdiocese of Baltimore, not only covers the conduct of priests and church leaders, but highlights the actions — and inaction — of police officers, prosecutors and judges. Dylan Segelbaum/The Baltimore Banner

BILL CALLS FOR BUILDING MATERIALS TO BE SALVAGED BEFORE DEMOLITION: Baltimore City Councilwoman Odette Ramos on Thursday said she plans to introduce an ordinance that would require all city-owned properties to have a deconstruction plan in place. The plan would outline how buildings scheduled for demolition would reuse or recycle deconstructed building materials. Ramos called the REBUILD Act a first step to move the city towards more ambitious deconstruction policies. Fern Shen/Baltimore Brew

BALTIMORE MAYOR LAUNCHES 90-DAY PUBLIC WORKS BLITZ: Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott kicked off a 90-day city cleanup initiative Thursday that will include pothole repairs, graffiti removal and trash pickup. The Build Better BMore spring city service sprint aims to fill 9,000 potholes, remove 900 graffiti tags, clean up illegal-dumping hot spots and repave 9 miles’ worth of roads. During an appearance with Department of Public Works crews, Scott said his administration is focusing additional attention on core services as Baltimore emerges from the pandemic. Emily Opilo/The Baltimore Sun

POLICE RELEASE BODYCAM FOOTAGE OF DEADLY PURSUIT: Newly released body-worn camera footage shows a police pursuit that ended in a deadly crash in Baltimore’s Roland Park earlier this year. Linda Moss, 74, was sitting in the passenger seat of the car. She was killed after the 58-year-old driver—her husband—lost control and struck a tree on March 25. The car was wanted in connection with an attempted armed robbery in Westminster. During the pursuit of more than four miles, a supervisor could be heard telling one of the officers to stop chasing Moss. Kelsey Kushner/WJZ (CBS)

COMMENTARY: WHERE BALTIMORE CO. SCHOOL BOUNDARY PROPOSALS WENT WRONG Baltimore County school redistricting proposals are misguided and would present hardships for children and families, according to two Baltimore County delegates.  Kathy Szeliga and Ryan Nawrock/Baltimore Banner

About The Author

Regina Holmes

Contributing editor Regina Holmes has worked as a journalist for over 30 years. She was an assistant business editor at the Miami Herald and an assistant city editor at Newsday in New York City, where she helped supervise coverage of 9/11, anthrax attacks and the August 2003 Northeast Blackout. As an assistant managing editor of the Baltimore Examiner, she helped launch the free tabloid in 2006. Before joining Maryland Reporter, she was the managing editor for Washington, D.C.-based Talk Media News, where she supervised digital, radio and video production of news reports for over 400 radio stations. The Baltimore native is a graduate of Vassar College and Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.

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