The Glass Gazette: May 2, 2024

A decorative banner that reads "The Glass Gazette." Behind the text are of Councilmember Glass and spring activities

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May 2, 2024

Reducing Office Vacancies

The office vacancy rate in Montgomery County is a record 21.9%. This is a big problem and a huge concern. It’s the reason why I introduced the Make Office Vacancy Extinct (MOVE) Act. 

The MOVE Act, which I spearheaded alongside my colleagues on the Economic Development Committee, will provide financial incentives for businesses wanting to move to or within Montgomery County. While many people are working from home, we know that some level of return to the office is good for our local stores, restaurants and economy. This legislation builds upon a program created a decade ago by increasing the reimbursement rates to sign a lease and codifying it into law. 

You can read more about this MOVE Act here.

Councilmember Glass speaks at a press conference introducing the legislation

Councilmember Glass speaks at the press conference introducing the MOVE Act

East County Education Center

The East County Education Center is officially open!

This incredible facility will bring Montgomery College’s services and academic programs to the residents of the East County, expanding access in this region and serving as an anchor institution in the community.

Areas of study will include cybersecurity, criminal justice, early childhood education, hospitality management, nursing, ESOL and entrepreneurship.

Congratulations to Montgomery College, its partner organizations and the community. This is the type of educational opportunity we need to support, expand and build upon!

Councilmember Glass and Dr. Jermaine Williams

Councilmember Glass and Montgomery College President Dr. Jermaine Williams

Maryland Legislative Session Recap

The Maryland General Assembly concluded its 2024 legislative session last month. I want to thank our Montgomery County senators and delegates for their hard work and highlight some of their many accomplishments. 

Over the course of the 90-day session, lawmakers secured funding for transportation, education, and affordable housing priorities that will benefit Montgomery County and the rest of the state. $252 million will go towards transportation, $150 million of which will keep Metro running throughout the region. Another $91 million will support Montgomery County Public Schools and prepare our children for the future. I’m pleased that Governor Moore also signed a package of bills that increases the supply of affordable housing and supports renters in low-income areas.

A photo of the Maryland capitol building in Annapolis

Another busy session has come to a close in Annapolis

Georgia Avenue Transit

Starting June 1, WMATA will temporarily close a portion of the Red Line for construction. The Takoma Park Metro station will be closed for the month of June, and the Silver Spring, Forest Glen, Wheaton, and Glenmont stations will close through September 1. 

In response to a request from a number of us in Rockville, WMATA and MDOT have approved a plan for 7.5 miles of temporary dedicated bus lanes along Georgia Avenue and free shuttle service between the closed stations. The shuttles will run every 4-6 minutes during peak times, and there will also be additional access to MARC trains. 

My priority is to ensure commuters have comprehensive and reliable transit options during this time. I’m appreciative of the collaborative spirit that facilitated this effort. You can find more information here.

Councilmember Glass speaks at a press conference in front of a Metro sign

Councilmember Glass speaks about efforts to make public transit accessible this summer

Supporting Local Restaurants

During the pandemic, Maryland was one of 35 states that temporarily allowed restaurants and bars to sell certain types of alcohol for take-out. That allowance expired in June 2023.

To support our restaurant economy, I requested legislation allowing certain restaurant license holders to sell beer and wine off-premises as long as they are in sealed containers. I’m pleased that the Montgomery County delegation introduced this legislation on my behalf, delighted that it was approved by the General Assembly, and is currently awaiting the governor’s signature.

Councilmember Glass and a resident at one of our local breweries

Maryland's Primary Elections

Election Day for all Maryland primaries is Tuesday, May 14. In addition to voting in person on Election Day or at one of the 14 early voting locations, you can return your mail-in ballot to one of the 58 drop boxes located across the county. Early voting is available May 2, through Thursday, May 9 — including Saturday and Sunday — from 7am - 8pm. Many of the early voting locations are accessible by RideOn buses. 

For more information about how to register and where to cast your vote, visit the Board of Elections’ website. You can also call 240-777-8500 if you need additional help.

Three piles of stickers that each read "I voted" with a picture of the Maryland flag

Photo credit: Montgomery County Board of Elections

Constituent Corner

A resident reached out to me in search of a venue for their bridge club. He and his club had been meeting regularly at the Margaret Schweinhaut Senior Center, but due to increased demand for rooms there, they could no longer meet as frequently in that space. My office informed the card player about the new Silver Spring Recreation Center, where the bridge club has successfully been reserving a room and playing once a week.

A closeup shot of someone holding a hand of playing cards

Did You Know?

Visit Montgomery is inviting everyone to celebrate Go MoCo Month! Throughout the month of May, Visit Montgomery will feature local businesses in the tourism, recreation and hospitality industries. To support small businesses throughout the county – and find special deals – check out the Go MoCo Month webpage.

A graphic reading "Go MoCo Month"

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