Morning Roundup: Oct. 18

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The number of Virginia inmates 50 and older has increased nearly sevenfold over the past 20 years, and the average cost of providing them with specialized health care was nearly seven times the average expenses for younger prisoners in fiscal 2010. As the state’s prison population grows older and sicker — and with many inmates ineligible for release because of the abolition of parole in 1995 — Virginia will be hard-pressed to find a way to pay for it all, corrections officials told Virginia’s House Appropriations Committee on Monday, reports David Sherfinski of The Washington Times.

The Maryland General Assembly gave preliminary approval Monday night to Gov. Martin O’Malley’s proposed congressional map, despite criticism by Republicans, some minorities and a Capitol Hill Democrat, on the first day of the General Assembly’s special redistricting session. The Senate is scheduled to take a final vote Tuesday, then send the proposal to the House. Also on Monday, the governor said he would use the special session to gather support for a jobs package and to increase infrastructure spending in next January’s regular session, The Times reports.

Police in Montgomery County will return Tuesday to parks in Clarksburg and Damascus in the hopes of finding an 11-year-old boy whose mother was discovered slain in her Germantown home. About 20 officers volunteers and a canine team on Monday searched areas surrounding Comsat Drive in Germantown and the Magruder Branch Trail in Damascus for signs of William McQuain, who has not been seen since Sept. 30. William’s mother, Jane McQuain, 51, was found dead in her apartment Wednesday and her estranged husband, the boy’s stepfather, was arrested in connection with her slaying the next day in North Carolina, according to The Times.

Twenty-seven of the 28 applicants hoping to grow medical marijuana in the District want to set up shop in Northeast, particularly in warehouse space near strip clubs and other commercial properties. The D.C. Department of Health will pore over the applications and cut the pool to 10 operations worthy of a cultivation registration in the burgeoning, yet fragile, medical marijuana industry. The majority of applicants, which include a group tied to TV personality Montel Williams, sought warehouse space in a sliver of Ward 5 near New York Avenue and Queens Chapel and Bladensburg roads, according to documents obtained by The Washington Times through the Freedom of Information Act, according to The Times.

The Virginia Senate Democratic Caucus collected $2.1 million in the third quarter of the year as the party tries to fend off hard-charging GOP candidates to hold onto its last bastion of power in Richmond, according to campaign finance figures released Monday. Ahead of Nov. 8 statewide elections, the caucus doled out $1.3 million, according to the nonpartisan Virginia Public Access Project. The campaign of Senate Majority Leader Richard L. Saslaw, Fairfax Democrat, spent $464,429 in September — including a $350,000 contribution to the Senate Democratic Caucus — as Democrats try to protect their tenuous 22-18 majority. The Senate Republican Caucus took in $367,498 and spent $976,683, according to The Times.

Maryland state Sen. Ulysses Currie has great people skills, but no one would call him smart, the first witness for the defense testified Monday in Currie’s bribery trial. “He is just not very astute when it comes to mechanics of legislating,” former Delegate Timothy Maloney testified. Mr. Maloney, an attorney who served in the legislature with Mr. Currie and described him as a friend and a client, testified how he helped Mr. Currie draft a letter to a grocery chain that later hired him as a consultant. Mr. Maloney said the letter outlined the consulting arrangement with the Shoppers Food Warehouse chain, a letter that stated Mr. Currie would not appear before the state legislature or local elected bodies on behalf of the company, according to the Associated Press.

Prince George’s County residents will be heading to the polls Tuesday to choose a successor to former Councilwoman Leslie Johnson. Derrick Leon Davis won a 14-way Democratic primary last month to fill Johnson’s District 6 seat after receiving support from County Executive Rushern Baker. Mr. Davis, a former school system official and current chairman of the Maryland Automobile Insurance Fund, is facing a challenge from Day Gardner, a businesswoman who ran unopposed in the Republican primary. Turnout is expected to be light Tuesday in the overwhelmingly Democratic county. The winner of special election will replace Johnson, who pleaded guilty in June to destroying evidence in a federal corruption probe that also ensnared her husband, former County Executive Jack Johnson. She is scheduled to be sentenced on Dec. 9, according to AP.

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