Morning Roundup: March 5

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Virginia might well fulfill its expected role as a swing state in the 2012 presidential race, but strict ballot rules largely have reduced the commonwealth to under-card status on Super Tuesday, when 10 states hold primaries or caucuses, reports David Sherfinski of The Washington Times.

A bill to implement a 5-cent bag tax in Prince George’s County is alive and moving, after languishing for nearly a month in a committee. The legislation is now in a House committee after being approved last week by the county’s 23-member House delegation, which supporters say was its biggest potential roadblock, reports David Hill of The Times.

The District of Columbia collected $92.6 million in revenue from issuing parking tickets during the last fiscal year, a record amount, according to information obtained by AAA Mid-Atlantic. The city collected an daily average $370,000 in parking-fine revenues during fiscal 2011, according to AAA Mid-Atlantic calculations. In the first four months of fiscal 2012, the city has collected $31 million, the group reports.

The District of Columbia shelled out nearly $700,000 in Medicaid payments for dead people, with one payment occurring nearly nine years after the patient died, a new audit has found. The gaffes are part of nearly $4 million in erroneous payments made by the city’s Department of Health Care Finance in 2009, most of which are payments for claims with an invalid or no Social Security number, according to the Washington Examiner.

During a series of public hearings on rate increases, D.C. Water and Sewer Authority officials were quick to point out that they were doing everything they could to save money for customers, including enacting a pay freeze across management. But after they received news of an unexpected surplus for fiscal 2010, officials used a slice of that cash the following year to pay out bonuses to management and other nonunion staff totaling more than a half-million dollars, records show, Jim McElhatton of The Times reports.

D.C. police have charged a man with second-degree murder in connection with the fatal stabbing of a Southeast Washington resident. Police say Ellsworth Colbert, 56, was arrested Sunday morning in connection with the death of 37-year-old Robert Leroy Wright. Authorities say Mr. Wright was found stabbed in the 3600 block of Highwood Drive Southeast at about 10:15 a.m. and was pronounced dead at a hospital, according to the Associated Press. Mr. Colbert was a campaign volunteer for Kevin B. Chavous, who is running for the Ward 7 seat on the D.C. Council.

Voters in the District of Columbia have until today to register to vote in the April 3 presidential primary. Today is the deadline for voters to mail in their voter registration forms or to change their party affiliation. Only registered members of the Democratic, Republican and Statehood Green parties can vote in the primary for their respective parties. Three of the four remaining Republican presidential contenders — Newt Gingrich, Ron Paul and Mitt Romney — are on the ballot in the District of Columbia. There are roughly 30,000 registered Republicans in the city. Four incumbent D.C. Council members also face primary challenges, including Marion Barry. All are Democrats, according to the Associated Press.

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