State Roundup: Biden touts his policies in Largo visit; Howard tenants call for rent stabilization; Montgomery seeks higher wages for tipped workers

State Roundup: Biden touts his policies in Largo visit; Howard tenants call for rent stabilization; Montgomery seeks higher wages for tipped workers

President Biden speaks at Prince George's Community College Thursday. C-Span screen shot

BIDEN VISITS P.G. COMMUNITY COLLEGE TO PUSH POLICIES: President Joe Biden on Thursday touted his economic policies and contrasted the results with what he called the Republicans’ “extreme” budget proposals to give more tax breaks to the wealthy and cut social programs. Bidenomics, the Democrat told a crowd at Prince George’s Community College in Largo, “is investing in America, the American people, growing the economy from the middle out from the bottom up instead of the top down.” Gov. Wes Moore (D) joined Biden, supporting key investments that he said will grow the economy, including $17.4 million in adult education. Fatima Hosseini & Ryan Mercado of Capital News Service/Maryland Reporter

HOWARD CO. TENANTS PROTEST RENT SPIKES, CALL FOR STABILIZATION: Tenants in Howard County are fed up with high rent prices and they’re doing something about it. A small crowd protested outside the Howard County government building Thursday morning. A newly formed rent stabilization coalition has six demands for any new legislation limiting what landlords can charge. They want fees and increases to be capped, new construction to be included, all residents to be covered, vacancies to be controlled and an enforcement team. Jeff Morgan/WMAR (ABC)

  • Coalition members are pushing for what they call one of the strongest rent stabilization measures in the country. Member Jake Burdett urged for “significant tenant input” in any related legislation. Montgomery and Prince George’s counties already have rent stabilization laws. “It’s important to come out strong with as much support for the most people-friendly bill,” Laurel City Councilman Martin Mitchell said. Barry Simms/WBAL TV (NBC)

MoCo BILL SEEKS HIGHER WAGES FOR TIPPED WORKERS: A bill that will be introduced in the Montgomery County Council next Tuesday could raise the base minimum wage for tipped workers. If the bill passes, the minimum wage for servers and other tipped workers in the county would increase at a staggered rate – going from the current mandatory minimum of $4 up to $6 in July 2024, $8 in July 2025, and so on in increasing increments of $2 until reaching the same rate as the standard minimum wage, according to a chart provided by a council staff member. Ginny Bixby/Mo Co 360

AMID GRAND JURY PROBE, HARFORD CO. REFUSES TO RELEASE EMAILS: A Harford County grand jury sought records as part of a criminal investigation of unnamed county officials who may have been involved in alleged wiretapping or hacking into the emails of other county officials. Talk of a grand jury investigation has swirled after the Office of the State Prosecutor stepped in to review complaints that County Executive Robert Cassilly (R) improperly searched the emails of a freshman county council member, the county’s sheriff and others. The inadvertent release of a subpoena in response to a Public Information Act request from Maryland Matters confirmed the grand jury’s investigation. Officials declined to release copies of the emails or other records Maryland Matters requested. Bryan P. Sears/Maryland Matters

SHANNON KULA, MIKULSKI’S CHIEF OF STAFF, DIES AT 48: Shannon Kula, the chief of staff for former U.S. Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski, died of cancer Aug. 25 at MedStar Washington Hospital Center. She was 48.  Mikulski, a Democrat, called Kula “a motivational leader” and “a bipartisan worker.” “Shannon really served the people of Maryland,” Mikulski said. “She had a beautiful smile and made me look good.” Jacques Kelly/The Baltimore Sun

FORT HOWARD POST OFFICE GETS 30-DAY REPRIEVE: The Fort Howard Post Office in Baltimore County received a last-minute extension that will keep it from closing — for now. The post office was supposed to close Friday (today), but the owner of the building agreed to grant a 30-day lease extension to keep the post office running through Oct. 14. Residents of roughly 160 homes in the Fort Howard ZIP code don’t receive home delivery and pick up their mail at the post office. Lisa Robinson/WBAL TV (NBC)

HOWARD SCHOOLS GET NEW START TIMES DUE TO BUS DRIVER SHORTAGE: Some parents and educators are concerned about the impact of looming changes to school start and dismissal times across Howard County Public Schools. Benjamin Schmitt, president of the Howard County Education Association, the district’s teacher’s union. says educators were among those blindsided by an email from Howard County Public Schools Superintendent Michael Martirano on Wednesday, which announced schedule changes for schools starting Sept. 20. The schedule adjustments come as the district continues to struggle with student transportation. Amy Simpson/WBFF (FOX)

  • “I can’t put Band-Aids on this. I got to have systemic changes that are going to have to happen,” Howard County Public Schools Superintendent Michael Martirano said Thursday in an exclusive interview with 11 News. Tim Tooten/WBAL-TV
  • The ongoing school bus driver shortage is causing chaos in school districts nationwide. In 2021, transportation company HopSkipDrive started keeping tabs on the driver shortage. This summer, 92% of school districts and transport companies responding to HopSkipDrive’s national survey reported that a lack of drivers is affecting their operations. Two years ago, that percentage was 78%. A company spokesperson said the shortage has been a problem for years but it was “exacerbated by the pandemic.” Tamika Cody/WBAL TV 

COMMON CAUSE PUSHES FOR YOUNGER VOTING AGE: Common Cause Maryland is encouraging local officials to allow more young people to vote in local elections. The nonprofit advocacy organization, based in Annapolis, posed a question in a recent mass email: “Do you agree with lowering the voting age to 16 for local elections so young people can have a say in the issues that directly impact them?” William J. Ford/Maryland Matters

OPINION: LANGUAGE LEARNING BENEFITS ECONOMY, CULTURE: In the context of decreasing state funding and increasing state meddling in higher education, West Virginia University’s proposed cuts to formal language learning programs send a signal that language learning — without which all learning, not to mention commercial and cultural communication — is expendable. While there is more Maryland can do, Maryland’s choice to invest in language learning has yielded significant returns. Owen Silverman Andrews & Scott Cooper/Maryland Matters

OPINION: MYTH OF SECRET TUNNELS IN ANNAPOLIS PERSISTS: Historians, archaeologists and preservationists have tried to debunk for decades a legend that a network of secret tunnels is hidden beneath the centuries-old heart of Annapolis. Rick Hutzell/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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