The Washington Times - May 11, 2011, 08:47AM

CONGRESS IS CALLING D.C. MAYOR VINCENT C. GRAY to testify about his budget proposal, an unusual move that has angered some D.C. leaders who say the city should be allowed to make its own spending decisions. Mr. Gray and D.C. Council Chairman Kwame R. Brown will appear Thursday morning before a subcommittee of the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. Rep. Trey Gowdy, South Carolina Republican, who is subcommittee chairman, called the hearing to examine the long-term sustainability of D.C.’s finances, according to the Associated Press.

D.C. MAYOR VINCENT C. GRAY is scheduled to discuss a “truancy project” at his weekly press conference this morning. The D.C. Council recently has taken a renewed interest in the issue, forming a special committee that recently found 13 percent of D.C. higher schoolers are chronically truant. The committee found that bullying and not having Metro fare are two of the major reasons for the truancy. The press conference was postponed from Tuesday reportedly to accommodate the arrival of poet Maya Angelou, who is scheduled to be honored.

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A NORTH CAROLINA SEVENTH-GRADER tried to use a gun to hijack a school bus Monday afternoon to come to Washington to allegedly shoot government officials, police told WBTV.com. The Charlotte-Mecklenburg police said the unidentified student approached the bus driver at the student’s bus stop, displayed a handgun and demanded the driver to drive him to another destination. Witnesses told police the boy said he wanted to go to Washington to shoot government officials. Police have not released the motive. The boy handed over the gun to the bus driver.

MARYLAND DELEGATE CAROLYN J.B. HOWARD says legislators might have to raise the state sales tax instead of going ahead with an unpopular proposal to increase the tax on gasoline. Ms. Howard, a Prince George’s Democrat, says she and other legislators have received backlash over a proposal to increase the state’s 23.5-cents-a-gallon gas tax. The proposal is one of many being considered to help generate $800 million in new revenue for transportation projects, according to The Washington Times.

A FEDERAL APPEALS PANEL of three Democrat-appointed federal judges heard arguments Tuesday in two cases attempting to overturn President Obama’s health care overhaul. The 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals judges drilled lawyers for both sides but seemed skeptical during the two-hour hearing of arguments by Liberty University and the commonwealth for invalidating the law, The Washington Times reports.

THE NEW MONTGOMERY COUNTY SCHOOLS CHIEF, Joshua P. Starr, will be paid an annual base salary of $250,000, according to a contract unanimously approved Tuesday morning by the county’s Board of Education. Mr. Starr’s base pay is higher than that of Superintendent Jerry D. Weast, who has led the 144,000-student system since 1999 and is retiring. Mr. Weast’s starting salary was about $237,800; his annual pay — tied to the state of the economy — had decreased since the economic downturn, according to The Washington Post.

VIRGINIA ATTORNEY GENERAL KENNETH T. CUCCINELLI II has officially sent Virginia’s legislative maps, passed by the General Assembly last month, to the U.S. Justice Department and the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia for review. Virginia is one of 16 states required to submit its plan for review to ensure that  district boundaries do not dilute the power of black voters and violate the 1965 Voting Rights Act, The Washington Post reports. Mr. Cuccinelli chose not just to submit the maps to the Justice Department, but also to the federal court. He told reporters Tuesday that he had filed with the court to ensure the best opportunities for quick review.