The Council Connection — budget, immigration, and STEM

Council Connection Masthead

Council President’s Message

On Tuesday, with a briefing from Council staff, the Council will discuss the overall fiscal situation for the budget. Despite the generally positive economic environment, tax revenues have been very volatile and caution is called for. The Council’s budget will reflect difficult trade-offs as we try to resolve competing community priorities.

On Tuesday, the Council will introduce a special appropriation to fund a contract with the Capital Area Immigrants Rights Coalition to provide legal representation for County residents who have been detained for deportation proceedings and cannot otherwise afford an attorney, excluding residents with serious criminal convictions. Where prior Administrations focused immigration enforcement efforts on those with serious criminal convictions and others whom pose a threat to the community, this Administration is being indiscriminate in rounding up residents regardless of the lives they have built here or the value they add to the community. Across the Country we have heard stories of residents being put in detention and deported who own houses, have businesses and have employees who rely on them, and leave families behind, including children who in many cases are US Citizens. This is our County’s attempt to ensure that all residents have the opportunity to protect their rights and ensure they are aware and able to assert any options that they have under the law.

I am also very pleased to share that the County Executive has proposed a capital budget adjustment to purchase a building in Twinbrook that will serve as a new home for the KID Museum. This project, a joint effort between Montgomery County and the City of Rockville, will allow KID Museum to serve hundreds of thousands of students, providing innovative STEM and 21st Century Skills learning opportunities. The Council will review this proposal as we finalize our Capital Improvements Program for the coming six years.

Finally, Council committees will spend the week reviewing the FY19 operating budget. Specifically, committees will review operating budgets for parks, fire and rescue, the housing opportunities commission, recreation, transportation, early childhood services, 311, Montgomery College, libraries, and much more. While the full Council has the ultimate authority to approve, reject, or amend any budgetary item, the Council begins with the recommendations of committees. Take a look at the committee agenda for the full list of meetings and topics. You can also stream live or demand any committee session here.

Finally, new legislation will be introduced that creates a green jobs apprenticeship program. Find the full Council agenda here.


Hans Riemer Signature

Hans Riemer
Council President


How do I…

…follow the Council committee’s work on the budget.

As the committees works on different budget items, you can follow along issue-by-issue by reading the Council staff packets, which are comprehensive memos evaluating the proposed budget as well as staff recommendations on the budget.

Visit the Council’s operating budget page, and click on one of the six committees. You will see a list of the links to the latest staff packets with the name of the relevant County department, agency, or program.


Council Vice President Riemer, MCPS Superintendent Dr. Jack Smith to Speak at Landmark STEM Education Launch

“Invent the Future Challenge” kick-off at KID Museum in Bethesda on Thursday, November 30 at 11:30 a.m.,represents major investment in student-driven innovation

ROCKVILLE, Md., November 27, 2017—Council Vice President Hans Riemer and Dr. Jack Smith, Superintendent of Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS), will be among the featured speakers at the kick-off event for the “Invent the Future Challenge” on Thursday, November 30 at 11:30 a.m. at KID Museum in Bethesda. This new public-private partnership brings together the County, MCPS, and KID Museum to make a long-term investment in student engagement with the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) fields. It will bring hands-on STEM learning opportunities to children at every middle school in the MCPS system.

Cara Lesser, Founder and CEO of KID Museum, and Antonio Tijerino, President and CEO of the Hispanic Heritage Foundation, are also featured speakers at the launch. KID Museum is located at 6400 Democracy Boulevard, Bethesda, Md. 20817. Elected officials, members of the press, and education leaders are invited to attend.

The “Invent the Future Challenge” is a competition which will engage middle school students in the STEM fields and 21st century technology and professional skills, with special emphasis on the areas of design/engineering and electronics/coding. Teams of middle schoolers led by adult coordinators will compete for prizes using Challenge Starter Kits which include the Arduino electronics platform. The partnership provides scholarships for intensive, skill-building pre-competition workshops for low-income students at KID Museum.

“I’m excited to be part of launching this new partnership between MCPS and KID Museum to bring high-quality, data-driven, maker-based STEM learning programs to Montgomery County students,” said Council Vice President Riemer. “Last February I held a Countywide STEM Summit to help build these kinds of connections, and it is a win-win for us to support a great local organization and bring sorely needed new resources to our middle school students. For several years I have worked hard to increase County investments in new approaches to STEM and maker learning. It is thrilling to see MCPS embracing KID Museum and bring STEM education to middle school students throughout the County.”

Council Vice President Riemer has been a strong advocate for increasing resources for STEM education in the County. He moved to establish a Coding Fund and Maker Fund in the County budget, which provide small grants to community organizations. He has prioritized sponsoring the annual Maker Faire KIDfest and providing grants to nonprofits like KID Museum and others, and hosted the County’s first STEM Summit in early 2017.

Free parking is available on-site. For information about transit to the event, visit

For questions or further information, contact Jason Fasteau in the Office of Council Vice President Riemer at 240-777-7964 or, or Information about the event is also available at

# # # #