- The Washington Times - Wednesday, January 4, 2012

D.C. Council Chairman Kwame R. Brown will introduce a bill Wednesday that would require all city high school students to apply to at least one college before graduating. The effort is believed to be the first of its kind in the nation, while a second clause in the bill would add the District of Columbia to a list of 11 states that require students to take the SAT or ACT college entrance exams, according to Mr. Brown’s office, reports Tom Howell Jr. of The Washington Times.

The office of Virginia Attorney General Kenneth T. Cuccinelli IIinsisted Tuesday that Mr. Cuccinelli does not have a conflict of interest in a high-profile lawsuit over the state’s ballot-access law despite his having openly criticized it. Mr. Cuccinelli, a Republican, threw his support over the weekend behind legislation to change the law and open the state’s March 6 GOP presidential primary ballot to candidates who were unable to qualify. But on Sunday, he walked back the remarks, saying he would support changing the law for future elections only, reports David Sherfinski of The Times.

Virginia Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling will cast tie-breaking votes on organizing the state Senate but not on matters such as the budget, the approval of judges or constitutional amendments, he said Tuesday. The declaration, outlined in a memo to members of the state Senate, is the latest, most authoritative statement from Mr. Bolling attempting to clarify his role ahead of the 2012 General Assembly session that convenes next week, The Times reports.

Maryland Delegate John A. Olszewski Jr. says he will sponsor a bill in this year’s General Assembly to explicitly legalize pay-to-play fantasy sports leagues. Maryland technically does not outlaw money leagues, and thousands of residents play in private leagues in which money changes hands. However, the state’s laws are so vague that residents are often ineligible for official cash-and-prize leagues sponsored by such popular sports websites as ESPN.com and CBSSports.com., reports David Hill of The Times.

D.C. Council member Harry Thomas Jr. missed a deadline Tuesday to repay the District of Columbia a portion of the $300,000 in city funds he is alleged to have diverted from youth sports programs. Mr. Thomas settled a civil lawsuit this summer filed by D.C. Attorney General Irvin B. Nathan alleging that he had steered the funds through groups he controlled to a variety of personal expenditures. He did not admit wrongdoing, but the settlement agreement required Mr. Thomas, Ward 5 Democrat, to deliver a $50,000 cashier’s check to Mr. Nathan’s office on or before Dec. 31. Because that day fell on a long holiday weekend, the deadline was extended until the close of business Tuesday, The Washington Post reports.

Virginia Republicans will reconsider whether to make voters pledge loyalty to the eventual GOP nominee before participating in the March 6 presidential primary, a decision that has rankled many in the party. The topic will be the subject of a Jan. 21 meeting of the Virginia GOP’s Central Committee, state party chairman Pat Mullins announced on Facebook, according to the Virginian-Pilot.

D.C. residents who have an unpaid parking ticket or who fail to shovel snow from their sidewalks would face more aggressive efforts from the city to collect fines under two bills set to be voted on by the D.C. Council on Wednesday. The city’s current system of getting what it’s owed results in “lost revenue and it doesn’t deter conduct” and often ends up being a waste of paperwork, said Council member Mary Cheh, a Ward 3 Democrat, who is sponsoring both bills, according to the Washington Examiner.

Maryland state Sen. David Brinkley, Frederick Republican, will announce today in Frederick whether he will run for the House seat held by 10-term GOP incumbent Roscoe G. Bartlett. Mr. Brinkley is among several prominent party members who announced possible runs for the 6th Congressional District seat amid speculation Mr. Bartlett would retire, according to the Associated Press.

D.C. health officials are expected to return to the Occupy D.C. encampment in McPherson Square later this week after complaints about an increase in rats in the area. The Washington Examiner reports that city health officials inspected the site on Tuesday afternoon and conducted a thorough inspection of the camp’s kitchen on Thursday. Protesters at the camp closed the kitchen on Tuesday but are hoping to reopen it after Thursday’s inspection. Mayor Vincent C. Gray ordered the inspections.