- The Washington Times - Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley’s advisory committee on legislative redistricting issued its recommended map on Monday night for the state’s eight congressional districts. The biggest changes are in the state’s 6th congressional district in Western Maryland, a seat now held by Republican Rep. Roscoe Bartlett, who is serving his 10th term. The district would include part of Democratic-leaning Montgomery County. The change is expected to make the district more competitive for a Democratic challenger. There will now be a seven-day public comment period on the proposed map. Mr. O'Malley, a Democrat, will be able to make changes to the proposal. Lawmakers will take up the map in a special session later this month, according to the Associated Press.

Police in the District are planning for sizable but civilized protests this week by groups affiliated with the anti-Wall Street demonstrations in New York as the movement gains support in cities across the country. “Right now, we haven’t had any sign that there is going to be any civil disobedience,” said a Metropolitan Police Department official, according to The Washington Times.

Senate candidates George Allen and Tim Kaine are supporting candidates in Virginia’s fall elections by hopscotching the commonwealth for campaign appearances — including, notably, a number of events in voter-rich Northern Virginia that could be crucial to their own fortunes next year, writes David Sherfinski of The Times.

A majority of Maryland residents approve of Mr. O'Malley’s performance but are sharply divided on his efforts to legalize same-sex marriage and allow in-state tuition for illegal immigrants, according to a poll released Monday. About 49 percent of Marylanders polled last month said they would oppose a law allowing gay marriage, while 48 percent said they would support it, according to the poll conducted by Annapolis-based Gonzales Research and Marketing Strategies Inc., The Times reported.

The D.C. Lottery has finalized meetings to explain “iGaming” — aka legal Internet gambling — in each city ward. Lottery officials agreed to the meetings over the summer, under pressure about a lack of citizen input. The meetings were originally scheduled for the summer vacation season but were postponed after an outcry. The meetings will now run from Oct. 13 to Nov. 17, according to the Washington Post.

Mr. O'Malley appeared Monday in the first of a series of videos aimed at encouraging support for a bill that would authorize same-sex marriage in the state. Mr. O'Malley, a Democrat, appeared in a 47-second video posted to the website of Marylanders for Marriage Equality — an activist coalition that is lobbying the General Assembly to legalize gay marriage during next year’s legislative session. The governor plans to sponsor a gay-marriage bill during the session, The Times reports.

The number of accidents in which deer were struck by vehicles has increased by 2 percent in Maryland, while such crashes decreased by 7 percent nationwide, according to a 12-month report released Monday by the State Farm insurance company. The findings were based on insurance information filed by State Farm customers from July 2010 to June 2011, according to The Times.

Former Prince George’s County Council member Leslie Johnson, who pleaded guilty in June in connection with a broad public corruption probe, is seeking a delay of her scheduled Oct. 13 sentencing hearing. Johnson’s attorney on Monday filed a motion in federal court in Greenbelt seeking the delay, according to the Washington Post.

A Spotsylvania man was convicted Monday in federal court in Richmond of dealing in sperm whale teeth from the Ukraine. The teeth are protected by U.S. and international law. Richard M. Ertel, 64, a bearded, bespectacled man, quietly pleaded guilty to one count of buying and one of selling the endangered marine mammal parts before U.S. District Judge Henry E. Hudson. Though Ertel faces a maximum term of 10 years in prison when sentenced on Jan. 9, federal sentencing guidelines are likely to call for a lesser punishment, according to the Richmond Times-Dispatch.

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