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City State: Morning Roundup

- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 1, 2012

Virginia Senate Democrats on Wednesday blocked the House version of the two-year spending plan, citing inadequate funding for core services such as public education and health care and a disregard on the part of Republicans for the 20 votes they have in an evenly split chamber, reports David Sherfinski of The Washington Times.

The Prince George's County Council member clocked driving at least 105 mph in her county vehicle — but not ticketed for speeding — says she will give up the car until she completes a driver-safety course. The county police department, facing scrutiny about whether council member Karen R. Toles received preferential treatment, says a team of top brass and legal experts in the department will begin a review of the incident next week, reports Andrea Noble of The Times.

The American Civil Liberties Union sounded the alarm on Wednesday over police officers' ability to use cellphone signals and license-plate-reading technology to track people inside Washington, D.C. A senior staff attorney from the organization's local chapter told the D.C. Council's Committee on the Judiciary it should consider legislation that imposes limits on how the technology may be used and sheds light on how the data is stored, reports Tom Howell Jr. of The Times.

Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley, a Democrat, will sign his state's same-sex marriage bill into law on Thursday, but an effort to repeal the legislation and send it to a November referendum is under way. Opponents of the bill, which would make Maryland the eighth state to legalize gay marriage, said Wednesday they hope to receive state permission as soon as next week to begin circulating a petition to suspend the legislation, reports David Hill of The Times.

Metro says serious crime has declined on the Washington-area transit system from 2010, but its crime rate was still higher last year than at five other major transit agencies. The agency released a five-year crime report Wednesday. It listed 1,898 serious crimes last year, the majority of them thefts of some kind. Last year's figure was a decline from a six-year high of 2,270 crimes in 2010, according to the Associated Press.

A D.C. Council committee passed a bill on Wednesday that eliminates classroom training and firing range instruction as a prerequisite for registering a gun. Under the bill, current gun owners won't have to re-register their firearms until January 2014. The District requires gun owners to renew their registration every three years, but was ill-equipped to handle upcoming renewals, according to The Times.

Tickets to one of D.C.'s hottest spring events will be up for grabs starting Thursday as the popular White House Easter Egg Roll opens its online lottery. Hopeful egg-rollers can register for tickets from 10 a.m. Thursday through 10 a.m. Monday. The event, now in its 134th year, will take place on the South Lawn of the White House on Monday, April 9, according to the Washington Post.

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