- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 16, 2010

ENERGY

Governors seek wind energy boost

A coalition representing governors of 29 states is urging the federal government to take steps to boost wind energy, such as requiring utilities to produce at least 10 percent of their energy from renewable sources by 2012.

The bipartisan Governors’ Wind Energy Coalition plans to make the recommendations Tuesday in a report to Congress and the White House. The Associated Press obtained a copy of the report ahead of its official release.

The coalition, chaired by Iowa Gov. Chet Culver, also urges support for offshore wind development and new infrastructure for electric transmission, among other things.

The report comes as Senate sponsors of a climate bill prepare to unveil their legislation, perhaps as soon as this week.

HEALTH CARE

Lawmakers targeted in health care ads

A new $1.3 million ad campaign will target 17 House Democrats this week, urging them to support President Obama’s health care plan.

The ads are funded by labor unions and other groups backing health care reform.

At least seven of the lawmakers - including Rep. Brad Ellsworth of Indiana - voted in favor of the legislation last year.

Other targets of the ads voted against the measure, but face intense pressure to switch their vote. Those include John Boccieri of Ohio, Jason Altmire of Pennsylvania, Suzanne M. Kosmas of Florida and Scott Murphy of New York.

Mr. Obama and congressional Democratic leaders are trying to garner the support for his top domestic initiative, with health care reform votes possible later this week.

FCC

National broadband proposal touted

Communications regulators are unveiling a sweeping proposal to overhaul U.S. broadband policy. Their aim: to bring affordable, high-speed Internet connections to all Americans and make access much faster for people who already have broadband.

Yet it’s not certain the Federal Communications Commission can find the funding, corporate support and legal clearance to carry out the entire vision for the plan.

Already, broadcasters oppose one key element of the proposal, which calls for reclaiming some airwaves now in the hands of TV stations and selling those frequencies to companies that deliver wireless Internet access. And the FCC hopes to modernize the federal program that subsidizes telephone service in poor and rural areas - something Congress and federal regulators have been trying to do for years.

EDUCATION

Duncan: Arts as important as math

President Obama’s proposal to overhaul education standards championed by his predecessor aims to broaden the focus beyond math and reading to “a well-rounded education,” Education Secretary Arne Duncan said.

Reading and math are important, but so are social studies, science, the arts and recess, Mr. Duncan said Monday on ABC-TV’s “Good Morning America.”

“We’re looking to make some pretty dramatic changes here,” he said.

The proposal would overhaul the Bush administration’s “No Child Left Behind” program. Rather than focusing on grade-level proficiency, as the current law does, it would seek to ensure students are ready for college or a job. Mr. Duncan said it also would give educators more flexibility. He hopes Congress will pass the measure this year.

SENATE

Reid’s wife released from hospital

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s wife has been released from a Northern Virginia hospital, where she was taken after being seriously injured in a traffic accident.

Reid spokesman Jon Summers confirmed the news about Landra Reid on Sunday in e-mail to the Associated Press.

Mrs. Reid, 69, underwent surgery Friday to stabilize serious injuries suffered when a tractor-trailer hit the Reid minivan from behind Thursday on an interstate highway near Washington. Mr. Summers said Mrs. Reid’s condition was upgraded Saturday to good.

Mr. Reid’s daughter, 49-year-old Lana Barringer, incurred relatively minor injuries and was released from the hospital Thursday night.

Mrs. Reid suffered a broken neck, back and nose. The injuries were serious, but doctors at Inova Fairfax Hospital said she wasn’t at risk of paralysis.

JUSTICE

AG: Attitude toward information changed

Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. says the Obama administration is well on its way to fulfilling a commitment for greater disclosure of information to the public.

In remarks to Justice Department employees, Mr. Holder said that in the past year there has been a promising governmentwide change in the attitude toward information. An independent study by a private group found a mixed response to implementing the order at 90 government agencies.

The attorney general said the Justice Department has succeeded in reversing a trend of less disclosure at the agency that was the situation two years ago.

Mr. Holder’s comments came on the first day of Sunshine Week, an annual observance by journalism organizations to promote open government and freedom of information.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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