City State: Morning Roundup

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The office of Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton, D.C. Democrat, issued the following news release: Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) has filed an amendment with the House Judiciary Committee to allow people with concealed carry permits issued by a state to carry concealed guns in the District, notwithstanding the District’s prohibition on carrying concealed weapons.  On Thursday, October 13, 2011, at 10:00 a.m. in 2141 Rayburn HOB, the committee will markup the National Right-to-Carry Reciprocity Act of 2011 (H.R. 822), which would allow people with concealed carry permits to carry concealed guns in any jurisdiction that allows concealed carry, but not in those jurisdictions that prohibit concealed carry.  However, the Gohmert amendment would create a unique exception for D.C. and allow people with state-issued permits to carry concealed guns here, even though D.C. bans carrying concealed guns.

Montgomery County prosecutors tried to prevent a state psychiatric hospital from releasing a schizophrenic woman, stating she remained a “danger to others and herself because of her mental illness,” months before she was charged with stabbing a person Tuesday outside a Target store in Lanham. “We just thought she was dangerous. I think there are a number of us around the state of Maryland who are concerned with what has happened with these conditional releases,” county State’s Attorney John McCarthy told Andrea Noble of The Washington Times on Wednesday.

This morning, the D.C. Council will take up the issue of emergency preparedness in the region. The council’s Committee on Public Safety and the Judiciary will discuss the District of Columbia’s response to such recent emergencies as the Aug. 23 earthquake that snarled rush-hour traffic and a snowstorm last winter that also left commuters stuck in their cars for hours, the Associated Press reports.

Engineers are scheduled this morning to remove parts of a pinnacle on the Washington National Cathedral after it was damaged by the August earthquake. However, heavy rains could delay the effort. The pieces weigh 2 tons in all and will be removed by crane from the southeast corner of the central tower. Church officials say it will make the pinnacles and central tower more stable until stonework can be repaired. The cathedral also eventually will get an inspection from the same team of rappelling engineers who inspected the Washington Monument after the 5.8-magnitude earthquake on Aug. 23. The cathedral was completed in 1990 after 83 years of work. Cathedral officials have said they need to raise at least $15 million for initial repairs after the earthquake. It is scheduled to reopen Nov. 12., according to AP.

Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley likely will make changes to a proposed congressional redistricting map before submitting it to the General Assembly on Monday, following criticism from minority leaders and members of his own Democratic Party. O’Malley spokeswoman Takirra Winfield on Wednesday said the governor will work over the weekend to revise the map before delivering it to lawmakers returning to Annapolis for a special session on redistricting, according to The Times.

Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell on Wednesday learned that a majority of Virginia voters oppose his plans for tolls on Interstate 95, while two Democratic congressmen railed on Capitol Hill against state abortion-clinic regulations he supports, and the chairman of the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority board denounced legislation that the governor favors. Still, it was a good day for the GOP governor, whose job-approval continues to climb and whose policies continue to have the confidence of a majority of Virginians, a new poll showed, David Sherfinski of The Times reports.

Montgomery County police are investigating the killing of a Germantown woman and the disappearance of her son. Police say they found 51-year-old Jane McQuain dead in her bedroom in the 13100 block of Briarcliff Terrace about 8:30 p.m. Wednesday. Investigators say there was trauma to her body. Maryland State Police have issued an Amber Alert for Ms. McQuain’s 11-year-old son, William. Authorities say he was last seen at the home on Sept. 30. Police believe he was abducted, according to AP.

Some Virginia Democrats have grumbled for months that party Chairman Brian Moran is not the leader they thought he would be. Mr. Moran, a former legislator who made a failed run for governor in 2009, was expected to be a visible chairman who would aggressively attack the new Republican governor. But some Democrats complain that he instead has not attended enough events or sent out emails except for an occasional fundraising plea, that he usually leaves media interviews to his staff, and that he failed to recruit as many candidates he said he would for November’s legislative elections, The Washington Post reports.

Maryland is getting a new area code, 667. The Public Service Commission says the remaining numbers in the 410 and 443 area codes are expected to be exhausted by early next year and the new 667 area code will begin in March. The new area code will be assigned in central and Southern Maryland as well as the Eastern Shore. In addition to Baltimore and Baltimore County, the new area code will be used in Anne Arundel, Calvert, Caroline, Carroll, Cecil, Dorchester, Harford, Howard, Kent, Queen Anne’s, Somerset, Talbot, Wicomico and Worcester counties. The PSC says existing 410 and 443 numbers will not be affected, the AP reports.

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