State gas tax to drop by a penny. Images by Dawn MacDonald and Alexander Schimmeck for Unsplash.

TRUMP FIRST FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT CONVICTED OF FELONY CRIMES: Donald Trump became the first former American president to be convicted of felony crimes Thursday as a New York jury found him guilty of all 34 charges in a scheme to illegally influence the 2016 election through a hush money payment to a porn actor who said the two had sex. Trump sat stone-faced while the verdict was read as cheering from the street below could be heard in the hallway on the courthouse’s 15th floor where the decision was revealed after more than nine hours of deliberations. Michael R. Sisak, Jennifer Peltz, Eric Tucker and Michelle L. Price/Associated Press.

MARYLAND REPUBLICANS PREDICT MORE SUPPORT FOR TRUMP POST CONVICTION: A Republican official in one of Maryland’s most ardent pro-Donald Trump counties says the former president’s conviction on Thursday is likely to galvanize his supporters. “The hardcore Trump supporters will probably be all the more excited to vote for Trump,” said Julie Jo Quick, who chairs the Caroline County Republican Central Committee. “I think it will just solidify that Trump support.” Jeff Barker and Sam Janesch/The Baltimore Sun. 

GAS TAX DOWN LESS THAN A PENNY IN JULY:  Maryland motorists will see a small break in the state’s gas tax starting July 1, when the tax at the pump will drop by nine-tenths of a penny to 46.10 cents per gallon. It’s the third decrease in the gas tax since since the General Assembly passed a law in 2013 linking the rate to annual inflation, and comes despite an increase in the consumer price index over the last year. Maryland’s gas tax includes two components. The first portion is a per-gallon tax tied to the consumer price index, which rose 3.4% from May 2023 to April 2024. That would have added 1.1 cents to the motor fuel rate, according to Robert Rehrmann, director of the Bureau of Revenue Estimates. Bryan P. Sears/Maryland Matters.

TEMPORARY CHANNEL CLOSURE THROUGH  KEY BRIDGE CLEANUP SITE THIS WEEKEND: The Coast Guard will close a temporary channel through the Francis Scott Key Bridge cleanup site over the weekend. The 20-feet-deep Fort Carroll temporary channel, named after the 19th century man-made island and abandoned fort in the Patapsco River, will be closed from Friday at 8 a.m. until Sunday at 8 a.m. Three other channels will remain open. Dillon Mullon/The Baltimore Sun. 

SIX FORMER UMBC SWIMMERS SUING UNIVERSITY: The Justice Department found that the Catonsville research university failed to protect students from former head swim coach Chad Cradock’s sexual harassment and discrimination or adequately address reports of sexual assault. Cradock died in 2021 after resigning amid an investigation into his conduct. In April, the university and the Justice Department entered into an agreement that requires the university to pay members of the men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams who suffered sexual assault or sex discrimination. Cassidy Jensen/The Baltimore Sun 

DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE GIVES $500 MILLION TO UMD: The Department of Defense awarded a $500 million contract to the University of Maryland’s national security research facility, the largest research deal the university has received. One of the 15 university-affiliated research centers within the department, the Applied Research Laboratory for Intelligence and Security is the only one dedicated to research and development in artificial intelligence, information engineering and human systems. Clara Longo de Freitas/The Baltimore Banner.

MARYLAND’S DENTIST SHORTAGE BRINGS NEW RECRUITING PROGRAM : State health officials and dental health advocates say that Baltimore and parts of the Eastern Shore and Western Maryland not only lack dentists, but have other barriers that make it difficult for residents to keep up with their oral health. The Maryland Department of Health aims to change that with a new program urging dental students to launch their careers in areas with dental health care shortages. Danielle J. Brown/Maryland Matters. 

POSSIBLE LAYOFFS LOOMING IN MONTGOMERY COUNTY SCHOOLS: Layoffs of up to 150 educators, the elimination of a virtual learning program and a delay in pre-kindergarten expansion are among the spending cuts under consideration as Montgomery County Public Schools officials try to close a budget shortfall for the coming fiscal year. The proposed cuts are under consideration as MCPS officials and the county school board grapple with closing a multimillion-dollar gap between the board’s spending request and what the County Council allotted in the $7.1 billion county operating budget for fiscal year 2025 that members adopted last week. Elia Griffin/MoCo360.

NEW LEADERSHIP AND PROGRAMMING AT BMORE’S HARBORPLACE: MCB Real Estate this week announced a new position with a familiar face: Jenenne Whitfield, the former director of the American Visionary Art Museum, was named as the Director of Experience of Harborplace. The role will “infuse Harborplace with innovative and inclusive cultural programming,” according to a press release. Whitfield’s noteworthy history with art made her an ideal fit. Taji Burris/The Baltimore Banner. 

HOWARD COUNTY’S SAFER/ACCESSIBLE ROAD PLAN DRAWS NATIONAL ATTENTION: Howard County’s $2.4 billion spending plan for the coming fiscal year includes nearly $30 million for its roadways. Roughly half of that amount is budgeted for the transportation department’s Complete Streets program, the county’s version of a modern movement to make roadways safer for pedestrians, cyclists and other non-motor-vehicle users of the pavement. Last year, Smart Growth America pointed to Howard County as a nationwide Complete Streets leader, giving its policy a first-of-its-kind perfect score. The organization maintains a database of roughly 1,700 such policies across the United States, giving a grade to each one. Daniel Zawodny/The Baltimore Banner.

FUNDING FOR 20 MORE PROSECUTORS NEEDED SAYS STATE’S ATTORNEY: Baltimore State’s Attorney Ivan Bates is asking the City Council to restore money to his office’s budget to hire up to 20 — and at least 10 — more prosecutors, some of which, he said, will be critical in supporting the mayor’s flagship violence reduction strategy. Bates, a Democrat, requested $2 million for the 20 additional attorneys, estimating it’ll cost about $100,000 per prosecutor. The positions, he said, previously existed, but the City Council froze funding for them under the administration of his predecessor. Alex Mann/The Baltimore Sun.

GLENN KLAVANS, AACO CIRCUIT JUDGE, DIES: Anne Arundel Circuit Judge Glenn Louis Klavans, who spent the last eight years of his law career on the bench of the county’s highest court, died Saturday of pancreatic cancer. He was 71 and lived in Anne Arundel County. Luke Parker/The Baltimore Sun 

OFFICIALS WARN ABOUT TOLL ROAD FEES SCAM: State and federal officials are urging people to be on guard against a text-alert scam that claims people have unpaid toll fees and tries to get them to pay. The FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) said it has received more than 2,000 complaints since early March from people in three states, including Maryland,  who said they received texts claiming “an outstanding toll amount of $12.51 on your record” and directing them to a website to pay and avoid a $50 fine. The FBI and the Maryland Attorney General’s Office said it’s a scam, and that people who receive such texts should not click on any links in the message, should not pay any money or turn over any personal information to such an inquiry.  Maryland Matters Staff

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