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City State: Morning Roundup

- The Washington Times - Monday, December 19, 2011

P.G. cracks down on clubs, other venues beset by violence; McDonnell announces biennial budget; D.C. police to release findings of internal investigation involving fed agents; PlanMaryland hits O'Malley's desk; Report out on Virginia uranium mining; Proposed Md. redistricting map targets GOP delegates; Hearing for accused White House shooter.

They're not all nightclubs. Some are bars, some are strip joints, restaurants and even banquet halls. But they all host dancing in Prince George's County. Something else they have in common: Police have blamed them collectively for more than 60 homicides in the past six years. Clustered in neighborhoods mostly inside the Capital Beltway near the D.C. line, the clubs cater to an urban, largely black clientele and have been persistent problems for police in a county plagued by homicides and violent crime. But until now no single category encompasses them because the problems they attract have defied a regulatory solution, reports Andrea Noble of The Washington Times.

Call it a "re-prioritizing" or "not a status-quo budget." But Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell's message has been clear ahead of the release Monday of his biennial budget: The state is crawling back from years of dwindling revenues and budget cuts but is nowhere near out the woods heading into 2012. Mr. McDonnell, a Republican, will announce on Monday the only full biennial budget of his four-year term, the consequence of state law that keeps governors from succeeding themselves in office, reports David Sherfinski of The Times.

The Metropolitan Police Department is scheduled to disclose this afternoon the details of a year-long investigation involving its officers, agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and members of the U.S. attorney's office. Officials have not elaborated on what will be discussed, according to the Associated Press.

Maryland planning officials on Monday will formally submit a proposed statewide planning initiative to Gov. Martin O'Malley, a Democrat. The development initiative, PlanMaryland, is intended to limit sprawl and protect the environment by encouraging development in existing population centers rather than rural areas. Rural lawmakers and many county officials have heavily criticized the plan, saying it will allow the state to intrude upon local planning procedures and stunt rural development, reports David Hill of The Times.

A National Academy of Sciences report on uranium mining in Virginia is scheduled to make its highly anticipated debut Monday. The report, to be delivered to legislators in Richmond, will be dissected by proponents and opponents of ending Virginia's 30-year ban on uranium mining. It also will help guide the General Assembly if it reconsiders the ban in the 2012 session. The report takes a statewide look at uranium mining and is expected to be highly technical. It will not recommend a course of action on the ban. A 119-million-pound uranium deposit in Southside Virginia is generating interest in the decades-old ban. Virginia Uranium Inc. wants the ban lifted, according to the Associated Press.

Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley will receive a state-level redistricting map that could force some Republican incumbents to run against each other. House Speaker Michael Busch, Anne Arundel Democrat, has a new two-member District 30A that moves GOP Delegate Ron George out of the district where he got more votes than Mr. Busch. Mr. George moves into another district in which he may have to run against other party members. The new district lines would also make it more difficult for Republican Delegate Herb McMillan to win re-election since it moves GOP voters south into a heavily Republican single-member district now represented by GOP Delegate Bob Costa, according to the Maryland Reporter.

A man accused of firing shots at the White House in an attempt to assassinate President Obama will be back in court today for a detention hearing. Federal prosecutors will argue Monday that 21-year-old Oscar Ramiro Ortega-Hernandez should be detained pending trial. Mr. Ortega is accused of firing several rounds from an assault rifle at the White House from more than 700 yards away on the night of Nov. 11. One bullet hit a window and was stopped by ballistic glass. Mr. Obama and his wife, Michelle, were out of town at the time. On Friday, a federal judge denied a government request for a more thorough psychiatric examination of Mr. Ortega, who has been deemed competent to stand trial. Prosecutors say he has referred to himself as the "modern-day Jesus Christ," according to the Associated Press.

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