- The Washington Times - Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Questions about Evans cloud D.C. lottery probe; Stewart endorses Allen for Senate; Video shows Norwood fumble questions in Lululemon murder trial; Reagan statue unveiled; O'Malley touts gas tax increase; Cuccinelli testifies on Hill against proposed EPA regulations; Maryland GOP elects Pipkin as Senate minority leader; Closing arguments expected in Currie bribery trial.

D.C. Council member Jack Evans will conduct oversight hearings on the approval process for the D.C. Lottery, despite being accused of trying to improperly influence the process and a controversial online gambling proposal, according to The Washington Times.

Corey A. Stewart, chairman of the Prince William Board of County Supervisors, has endorsed Virginia GOP Senate candidate George Allen, after being a frequent critic of the former governor and senator. Mr. Stewart, a Republican best known for his role in the county’s controversial 2007 crackdown on illegal immigrants, said Tuesday that after taking a “cold, hard, objective” view of the situation, he decided that a leap from county government to the Senate was too far and that he wanted to back the strongest candidate, senate-race/” href=”http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2011/nov/1/stewart-endorses-allen-va-senate-race/” target=”_blank”>The Times reports.

In the days after the Bethesda Lululemon store slaying, police grew less apt to accept the vague descriptions provided by the survivor of what they thought was a savage attack. And as detectives pressed Brittany Norwood for details, her story began to unravel. On Tuesday, jurors in Ms. Norwood’s first-degree-murder trial watched the 29-year-old fumble for answers in a videotaped police interview conducted a week after her co-worker, Jayna Murray, was found brutally slain inside the store. Closing arguments could start today, The Times reports.

A towering bronze figure of President Ronald Reagan was unveiled Tuesday at the Washington-area airport named in his honor, the last of four statues built around the world in celebration of the late president’s 100th birthday. The Republican president served two terms, from 1981 to 1989, and his beliefs in strong national security, low taxes and less government became cornerstones for modern conservative politics, The Times reports.

Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley, a Democrat, on Tuesday night offered his most expansive argument yet for a major gas tax increase, telling hundreds of the state’s assembled mayors and council members that Maryland must lead by example to keep its bridges and roads safe and to help create jobs. He spoke at the 75th anniversary gathering of the Maryland Municipal League, seeking to build an ally in advance of an expected fight to persuade the General Assembly to approve one or more tax increases in January, according to The Washington Post.

Virginia Attorney General Kenneth T. Cuccinelli IItestified before a U.S. House committee Tuesday on what he claims would be the devastating impact on Virginia and the nation of upcoming air quality regulations from the Environmental Protection Agency. Testifying on behalf of Virginia’s electricity consumers, Mr. Cuccinelli, a Republican, said the EPA’s Maximum Achievable Control Technology rule, which creates national standards for emission levels, would be “a financial death blow for businesses struggling to meet payroll and families on fixed incomes,” the epa-regulations-clashes—ar-1427903/” href=”http://www2.timesdispatch.com/news/virginia-politics/2011/nov/02/tdmet01-cuccinelli-blasts-epa-regulations-clashes—ar-1427903/” target=”_blank”>Richmond Times-Dispatch reports.

Maryland state Sen. E.J. Pipkin, Queen Anne’s Republican, emerged Tuesday as the new minority leader in the state Senate following a vote by the chamber’s 12-member caucus. Sen. Edward R. Reilly, Anne Arundel Republican, will take over as the minority whip, the position Mr. Pipkin has held. The leadership changes were prompted by last month’s decision by state Sen. Nancy Jacobs, Harford Republican, to step down as minority leader after just 10 months on the job. Ms. Jacobs said at the time that she wants to focus her efforts on running for a different office, possibly Congress or Harford County executive. Republicans are a small but vocal minority in the 47-member chamber, senate-republicans-name-new-leaders/2011/11/01/gIQAFpl5cM_blog.html” href=”http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/maryland-politics/post/md-senate-republicans-name-new-leaders/2011/11/01/gIQAFpl5cM_blog.html” target=”_blank”>The Post reports.

Lawyers are scheduled to make closing arguments today in the bribery trial of state Sen. Ulysses Currie in U.S. District Court in Baltimore. Mr. Currie, Prince George’s Democrat, is accused of selling his influence as chairman of the Senate Budget and Taxation Committee to do political favors for Shoppers Food Warehouse. The company paid Mr. Currie more than $245,000 from 2003 to 2008. Mr. Currie reported the money on tax returns but failed to disclose the payments in state financial disclosure forms. The senator is charged with bribery, extortion, conspiracy and making a false statement. Former Shoppers executives, including former President William J. White and R. Kevin Small, former vice president for real estate development, also are on trial, according to the Associated Press.

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