The Washington Times - May 5, 2011, 08:15AM

A RENEWED PUSH TO DRILL OFF THE VIRGINIA COAST is expected to come up for a vote Thursday in the U.S. House, according to the Richmond Times-Dispatch. The Restarting American Offshore Leasing Now Act would direct the secretary of the interior to conduct oil- and gas-lease sales off the state’s coast within one year of the bill’s enactment.

TWO MARYLAND LEGISLATORS are proposing that the sale of the state’s largest power company be contingent upon a return to regulation, arguing that utility deregulation over the past 12 years has resulted in excessive rate increases, according to The Washington Times.

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MONTGOMERY COUNTY is increasing its scrutiny of government employees using take-home vehicles, saying the fleet has become bloated and lacks oversight. Council members on Wednesday called for a crackdown after officials in the administration of County Executive Isiah Leggett, a Democrat, were unable to justify almost half of the county’s 349 vehicles last week, according to the Washington Examiner.

A D.C. COUNCIL MEMBER is rebuking D.C.’s child welfare agency for failing to identify what positions could be cut among the dozens of “memo writers” and “meeting attenders” making more than $100,000 a year, arguing it could free up money for key priorities facing the budget ax.

D.C. MAYOR VINCENT C. GRAY says he will speak with the three D.C. appointees to the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority about their votes to build the more expensive of two Metrorail stations at Washington Dulles International Airport, at the urging of Virginia Gov. Robert F. McDonnell and Rep. Frank R. Wolf, both Republicans. However, Mr. Gray, a Democrat, sounds reluctant to join in their mission to change the voting, saying there is a “very strong case” for why the station should be underground, according to The Washington Times.

FEES TO DRIVE ON THE DULLES TOLL ROAD could increase from $2 to as much as $19.25 each way by 2040 to pay off the construction of the Dulles rail extension, according to preliminary figures released Wednesday. But financial consultants to the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority said those rates could be as much as 30 percent lower if the project can obtain a special federal loan that has lower interest rates than the bond market, according to the Washington Examiner.

FIFTEEN OF THE 41 PEOPLE ARRESTED in the April 11 D.C. autonomy protest on Capitol Hill are scheduled to appear in court today. They will enter pleas for misdemeanor charges of “Unlawful Assembly - Blocking Passage.” The remaining protesters, including D.C. Mayor Vincent C. Gray, opted to pay $50 that day and not appear in court, according to dcist.com, which also reports that “some of those arrested [are] planning on taking a stand — or at least making a good scene.” D.C. Council member Mary Cheh, Ward 3 Democrat, was arrested Wednesday in a protest that focused more on how Congress’ intervention affects women’s issues. A rally also is planned.