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Pugh says Baltimore fared well during 90-day legislative session

Mayor Catherine Pugh said Wednesday the 90-day legislative session ended with some victories for Baltimore.

Pugh, a former state senator, said among the legislative successes that will benefit the city is $2 million to help pay for the newly approved consent decree between the police department and the U.S. Department of Justice. She noted that the state also will send money to build new schools and help close $130 million budget shortfall in the school system.

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"I am very pleased with the way the session ended for Baltimore City specifically," Pugh said at a weekly news conference.

Pugh said she is grateful the General Assembly passed legislation to give the mayor full control of school board appointments. The mayor currently shares that power with Gov. Larry Hogan, who is in the processing of reviewing the bill to decide whether to sign it.

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Hogan also is considering whether to sign legislation to set aside money for city school students to ride public buses at no charge.

Baltimore's Enoch Pratt Free Library also is expected to receive funding to expand the hours and services some of its branches can operate. The General Assembly has approved $3 million a  year for each of the next five years for expanded operations as long as the city contributes $750,000 a year.

Pugh acknowledged that at least one bill she pushed for did not pass. The mayor wanted legislation to change the makeup of the city's police trial boards to add civilians. Pugh said ongoing contract negotiations with the police department held that legislation up. She expects the talks could be finished by the end of the month.

"The good piece is, having the consent signed also reinforces the need for citizens on trial boards," she said.

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Pugh said she is hopeful a bill that would grant tax breaks to manufacturing firms that bring new jobs to areas with high unemployment will benefit the city.

"It is a plus for Baltimore," she said. "Whatever we can do around manufacturing and the port increases greater job opportunities for the city."

Baltimore Sun reporter Pamela Wood contributed to this article.

ywenger@baltsun.com

twitter.com/yvonnewenger

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