News Briefs

Department of Transportation lowers speed limit on Georgia Avenue

The Maryland Department of Transportation’s State Highway Administration, or MDOT SHA, will lower speed limits along Georgia Avenue in Montgomery County in hopes of improving pedestrian safety. According to News4 DC, the changes are part of the MDOT SHA’s new program that focuses on improving and ensuring driver and pedestrian safety among business districts with dense populations. One of these roads will be Georgia Avenue, which is considered a hotspot for deadly pedestrian crashes. The MDOT SHA hopes to include speed limit reduction, upgraded crosswalks and narrowed lane widths across Montgomery County. “MDOT SHA is approaching pedestrian safety differently than we have before,” MDOT SHA Administrador Greg Slater told News4 DC. This is not the first highway in Montgomery County to be a part of the program. Speed limits were reduced on Maryland Routes 190 and 187, and there are plans to improve other highways this year such as Maryland Routes 410 and 188.

Governor Hogan’s veto on school start date bill overruled

Maryland Governor Larry Hogan recently vetoed a bill that would have adjusted the start of the school year, but the Maryland General Assembly recently overruled that veto. In a 93-43 vote by the Maryland House of Delegates and a 32-15 vote by the Maryland Senate, the veto overrides Hogan’s veto with the supermajority Democrats have in both chambers. The bill reverses the post-Labor Day school start executive order that Hogan signed in 2016. Local school boards can now decide whether school begins before or after Labor Day. Hogan said the bill counters a popular consensus among Maryland residents that school should begin after Labor Day. Supporters of the post-Labor Day start and longer summer break believe it would promote tourism in Maryland and allows families to spend more time together. Supporters of the bill believe that each schooling jurisdiction has different scheduling needs, according to News4 DC. The Maryland General Assembly, yet again, recently overruled a veto that Maryland Governor Larry Hogan issued on a bill that raises the state minimum wage to $15 an hour.

Minimum Wage to rise to $11 in Jan. 2020

According to News4 DC, Maryland will be the sixth state in the nation to approve a gradual minimum wage growth. The first wage hike will be from $10.10 to $11 in January 2020. The next wage hikes will occur yearly, increasing 75 cents a year to $14 until 2024. By 2025, the wage will finally hit $15 an hour. Supporters of the bill say that the increase will help the economy. State Senator Delores Kelley told News4 DC that minimum wage workers will spend the money they earn, and, “In spending it they’re going to make local businesses more vibrant.” Opponents of the bill believe that it will hurt Maryland’s economy because businesses can move to neighboring states such as Virginia that are more business-friendly.

-Joaquin Moreno, staff writer