State roundup: Montgomery Co approves $6.7B budget with 4.7% tax hike; spat simmers between House of Delegates leaders

State roundup: Montgomery Co approves $6.7B budget with 4.7% tax hike; spat simmers between House of Delegates leaders

Members of Maryland’s Piscataway Tribe wrapped Gov. Wes Moore in a native blanket Thursday as he celebrated the launch of the National Heritage Area at the Piscataway Park site in Accokeek. The event celebrated the recent federal National Heritage Area designation for Calvert, Charles, St. Mary’s, and southern Prince George’s counties. Governor’s Office photo by Joe Andrucyk

MONTGOMERY CO. OKS BUDGET WITH 4.7% TAX HIKE: The Montgomery County Council on Thursday voted to approve a $6.7 billion operating budget that, despite a 4.7% property tax increase, relies on reserves and one-time funding for some recurring expenses. Katie Shepherd/Washington Post

  • Some council members are concerned this plan will cause problems for the county later down the road. The County Council faced a budget this year that many council members referred to as “unprecedented.” Ginny Bixby/MoCo360
  • Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich (D) is calling the County Council out for a lack of transparency in the fiscal 2024 budget process after Council President Evan Glass (D-At-large) lauded the transparency of the process. Ginny Bixby/MoCo360

SPAT SIMMERS BETWEEN HOUSE OF DELEGATES LEADERS: A disagreement between the two female leaders of the Maryland House of Delegates – House Speaker Adrienne Jones (D-Baltimore Co.) and Speaker Pro Tem Sheree Sample-Hughes (D-Lower Shore), who are both Black – ensued last week when Jones nominated Del. Dana Stein, a white man and fellow Democrat from Baltimore County, to become speaker pro tem. William J. Ford/Maryland Matters

EX-BALTIMORE CO. OFFICIAL PLEADS GUILTY TO THEFT, PERJURY: A former Baltimore County official accused of stealing almost $110,000 from a campaign to reelect a former Baltimore County Council member pleaded guilty Thursday to one count of felony theft scheme and one count of perjury. William “Chris” McCollum had been charged with 21 counts of felony theft, embezzlement and perjury. Cassidy Jensen & Lia Russell/The Baltimore Sun

  • THE STATEMENT OF FACTS: Here is the Statement of Facts introduced into Baltimore County Circuit Court that formed the basis of today’s agreement, in which Chris McCollum waived his right to a trial and pleaded guilty to felony theft and perjury charges. Editors/Baltimore Brew

SUMMER SCHOOL IN MONTGOMERY CO. BY INVITATION ONLY: Registration for Montgomery County Public Schools summer school opened May 15, but this year the district is extending the invitation only to select students based on academic performance. Last year any interested student could register. Em Espey/McCo360

SUPREME COURT RULES AGAINST EPA OVER WETLANDS PROTECTION: The U.S. Supreme Court in a major environmental decision on Thursday overturned the Environmental Protection Agency’s definition of wetlands that fall under the agency’s jurisdiction, siding with an Idaho couple who had said they should not be required to obtain federal permits to build on their property that lacked any navigable water. Jacob Fischler/Maryland Matters

15 INDICTED FOR ALLEGED PRISON CONTRABAND SMUGGLING: Maryland Attorney General Anthony Brown announced the indictment of 15 people — including a correctional officer — in connection with contraband smuggling operations at the Roxbury Correctional Institution in Hagerstown, his office said Thursday. Danielle J. Brown/ Maryland Matters

BALTIMORE CO. PASSES BUDGET BUT CUTS SOME SCHOOL JOBS: The Baltimore County Council on Thursday passed the county’s $4.9 billion fiscal year 2024 budget that County Executive Johnny Olszewski Jr. had proposed last month but cut $500,000 from the school system’s budget for administrative positions. Lia Russell/The Baltimore Sun

FAMILIES SUE OVER MONTGOMERY CO. SCHOOLS’ LGBTQ BOOK POLICY: A group of families is suing the Montgomery County Public Schools superintendent and the school board over the Maryland school system’s LGBTQ book policy. The parents are suing to have the right to opt out of LGTBQ-themed books, and they argue some of the school system’s books are age-inappropriate. WBFF Fox 45/Nick Minock

BALTIMORE CITY COUNCIL HOSTS TAXPAYERS’ NIGHT: Advocates for various causes pleaded their cases to the Baltimore City Council at City Hall on Thursday night during the annual Taxpayers’ Night but some would-be virtual testifiers were left in the dark.  Hayes Gardener/The Baltimore Sun

BALTIMORE SCHOOLS HONOR 19 SLAIN STUDENTS: City and public school officials gathered Thursday morning for the sixth annual Peace and Remembrance Day in honor of students who were killed during the school year. On the steps of the Baltimore City Public Schools administration building, CEO Sonja Santelises read the names of 19 Baltimore City students who were killed from May 2022 to now. Penelope Blackwell/The Baltimore Banner

ANALYSIS: COLUMBIA LIBRARY PLAN RAISED SERIOUS QUESTIONS: The unveiling of plans for a new Columbia lakefront library March 30 was nothing less than stunning. The renderings showed a fabulous design by a world-renowned architect on a plot above the iconic plaza that is at the heart of Columbia. What was not to like? It turns out, there was a lot not to like. Len Lazarick/Maryland Reporter

COMMENTARY: DEFAULT, PROPOSED CUTS WOULD DEVASTATE MD.: “It might shock the voting public to hear this coming from a Democrat, but I support responsible reductions in government spending and borrowing. But what congressional Republicans have proposed in recent weeks cuts bone deep, could lead to a potential default on our loans and will not put us on the path to economic stability.” U.S. Rep. C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger/The 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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