- The Washington Times - Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Opening arguments next in Huguely trial; D.C. lawmaker tries to save iGaming; McDonnell-Romney appearances in D.C. area Thursday; Va. Senate repeals handgun law; Va. assembly poised to pass voter ID law; Racist accusations roil D.C. fire department; Yvette Alexander survives probe, remains on ballot; Slots to Prince George’s face big hurdle in Md. House.

George W. Huguely V, the University of Virginia lacrosse player and Washington scion accused of killing a classmate and onetime girlfriend, pleaded not guilty Monday, beginning a much-anticipated trial in a case that captured the attention of the nation. Jury selection in Charlottesville is about half complete and resumes today. Prosecutors say Mr. Huguely beat to death victim Yeardley Love, a member of the school’s women’s lacrosse team. Mr. Huguely, born in Washington and raised in Chevy Chase, was a standout lacrosse and football player at the Landon School in Bethesda, reports Meredith Somers of The Washington Times.

The D.C. Council’s top proponent of online gambling through the city’s lottery system plans to offer a compromise bill on Tuesday to avoid a complete repeal of the program, which was passed into law in 2010. Council member Michael A. Brown, at-large independent, said the council should not rescind its legal authority to offer wagered games within the District of Columbia, even if it wants to revisit the earlier contract that set the table for first-in-the-nation program known as iGaming, reports Tom Howell Jr. of The Times.

Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell, chairman of the Republican Governors Association, will appear with presidential hopeful Mitt Romney at two events this week. Mr. McDonnell will attend a reception with the former Massachusetts governor Thursday night at the J.W. Marriott Hotel in Washington and will appear with him the next morning at a breakfast hosted by the Northern Virginia Technology Council and Consumer Electronics Association at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Reston, according to The Washington Post.

The Virginia Senate on Monday voted to repeal the state’s nearly 20-year-old law limiting handgun purchases to one per month, delivering a long-sought victory to advocates of gun rights and the Second Amendment. The legislation, signed by Gov. L. Douglas Wilder in 1993, was intended to curb illegal gun trafficking from Virginia to other states on the East Coast, notably New York. Proponents say there are many exemptions in the law and gun-tracking technology has come so far that the law is no longer necessary. The House signed off on its version of the bill last week, and Gov. Bob McDonnell has indicated that he will sign the measure, senate-votes-repeal-gun-month-law/” href=”http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2012/feb/6/va-senate-votes-repeal-gun-month-law/” target=”_blank”>The Times’ David Sherfinski reports.

The Virginia Senate passed a bill Monday forcing voters to bring identification to polls on Election Day. Republican Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling broke a 20-20 partisan tie. The bill now goes to the Republican-controlled House, which already has passed similar legislation, reports senate-passe-voter-id-measure/” href=”http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2012/feb/6/va-senate-passe-voter-id-measure/” target=”_blank”>The Times.

D.C. firefighters and department officials are disputing whether orders were issued to rein in the possibility of protests at Mayor Vincent C. Gray’s State of the District address, scheduled for Tuesday. The dispute came the same day a senior spokesman for the department acknowledged posting comments on social-media sites that described a prior protest by firefighters against the fire chief’s leadership as “racist” in nature, The Times reports.

D.C. Council member Yvette M. Alexander, Ward 7 Democrat, will remain on the April 3 primary ballot, surviving a scare after a resident challenged the validity of her nominating petitions. The D.C. Board of Elections and Ethics ruled Monday that 428 of the 1,384 petition signatures Ms. Alexander submitted were invalid but that she had more than met the 250-signature minimum to be on the ballot. The board found “a lack of substantial evidence” to corroborate claims that Alexander campaign aides illicitly signed and submitted petitions that they had not personally circulated, according to The Washington Post.

A bill to allow casino gambling in Prince George’s County faces an uphill battle in the Maryland House after county lawmakers voiced disappointment in the legislation. The bill, which would place a referendum on the November ballot to allow slots and table games in the county, easily should pass the Senate, thanks to the support of Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr., Prince George’s Democrat. But it likely will take the support of County Executive Rushern Baker to guide it through the House, where the bill was introduced Monday night. House Speaker Michael Busch historically has opposed slot machines in the state, according to the Washington Examiner.