D.C. gambling deal over, but questions remain; Wilder blames fellow Democrats in Virginia Senate for handgun repeal; O'Malley routinely diverts money reserved for transportation; Scandal bills emerge in Maryland assembly; Virginia lawmakers debate teacher tenure; Rep. Wolf asks for delay on Eisenhower Memorial.
Within weeks of an inspector general's report that criticized a bid by the D.C. Lottery to launch a first-in-the-nation online gambling program, the deal was dead. Yet despite the inspector general's findings about the misrepresentations and lack of qualifications of a local subcontractor on the $38 million contract, city officials refuse to condemn or defend a 51 percent share that went to a Maryland businessman who had no gambling experience, who operated out of his mother's duplex in Southeast, and who was added as a "disadvantaged" subcontractor after the bid had been competitively awarded, reports Jeffrey Anderson of The Washington Times.
Former Virginia Gov. L. Douglas Wilder is blaming fellow Democrats in the state Senate for allowing the repeal last week of one of his legislative legacies — the 19-year-old law limiting individuals to one handgun purchase per month. The former governor and Richmond mayor said insatiably pro-gun Republicans had been trying for years to end the law that halted Virginia's reign as a promised land for gunrunners. But it was his own party, which holds 20 Senate seats, just as the Republicans do, that shirked its duty, he said, according to the Associated Press.
Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell's pledge for big solutions this year to the state's perpetual transportation problems has stalled in the state House and Senate, with both chambers advancing significantly watered-down versions of his agenda despite Republicans' stronghold on the General Assembly, reports David Sherfinskl of The Times.
Maryland lawmakers are trying to prevent officials from raiding a depleted transportation fund that has left the state's network of roads badly in need of repair. The move to essentially keep state leaders from taking shortcuts to balance the budget showcases just how routine the practice has become under Gov. Martin O'Malley, a Democrat who campaigned in his first run for office on a vow to protect the dollars from being used for other purposes. Mr. O'Malley once decried the practice altogether, saying it would decimate state transportation initiatives, according to the Washington Examiner.
Recent Maryland political scandals have inspired a flurry of legislation in the General Assembly seeking to clamp down on corrupt public officials. And a special Senate committee is recommending changes to the legislature's ethics rules. Two reform-oriented bills would force elected officials to leave office at the time of a guilty finding — whether a verdict or a plea — and forfeit the pensions earned for the office they held while committing crimes, according to the Baltimore Sun.
Virginia lawmakers are debating whether to eliminate seniority-based job protections for public schoolteachers, making the commonwealth another front in a national fight over tenure laws that critics say protect ineffective educators from dismissal. The House is expected to vote Monday and the Senate on Tuesday on bills that would make far-reaching changes to rules for teacher evaluations and employment, according to The Washington Post.
Rep. Frank R. Wolf, Virginia Republican, is asking a federal panel to reject a design for a memorial honoring President Dwight D. Eisenhower in Washington, saying the World War II general's family objects to it. In a letter to the National Capital Planning Commission, Mr. Wolf says he is worried the approval process is being rushed and that the design by famous architect Frank Gehry won't have public support. The family said the design overemphasizes "Ike's" humble roots and neglects his accomplishments as a president and war hero, according to WRC-TV.
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