The Washington Times - December 15, 2011, 07:58AM

Faith-based adoption and foster-care agencies in Virginia will not be required to provide services to gay persons, a state panel ruled Wednesday after nearly a year of heated debate that attracted national interest from advocates on both sides of the issue, reports David Sherfinski of The Washington Times.

D.C. Council member Marion Barry serves on a finance committee overseeing the expenditure of billions of tax dollars, but he continues to have trouble making good on his own tax bill, records show. The Internal Revenue Service has filed a notice of federal tax lien against Mr. Barry, Ward 8 Democrat, for more than $3,200 in unpaid federal income taxes for 2010, according to a document on file in the D.C. Office of the Recorder of the Deeds, reports Jim McElhatton of The Times.


D.C. Mayor Vincent C. Gray is pledging to make “swift, well-informed decisions” when snowstorms hit Washington this winter, leveraging new trucks and early notification systems and asking city employees to “shelter in place” to avoid the traffic nightmares that followed a massive storm in January, reports Tom Howell Jr. of The Times.

Metro is cracking down on iThefts, trying to stop thieves from snatching riders’ pricey electronic devices this holiday season, when the crimes typically spike. The transit agency is using new public address announcements and ads in the rail system to warn riders of how easy it is for someone to steal that shiny new iPhone 4S. Metro has been cracking down on the people who fence the stolen gadgets, and now it has gone undercover to lure would-be thieves into robbing the wrong riders, according to the Washington Examiner.

A panel of Maryland lawmakers meets tonight in Annapolis to make recommendations on state spending for the next fiscal year. Maryland is facing a budget deficit of roughly $1 billion in fiscal 2012. The Spending Affordability Committee has made recommendations to the executive branch since 1982. The recommendations are not binding on the governor, who submits the state budget in January. However, the executive branch has come close to the recommendations in the past. The panel includes 23 lawmakers from the House and Senate and three residents, according to the Associated Press.

Fairfax County police say they incorrectly announced that a Vienna man had been charged with murder in the death of his 2-month-old daughter. Police now say 21-year-old Francis Reed has been charged with child abuse. Authorities were called Saturday to a residence in Falls Church, where paramedics were trying to revive the girl with CPR. She was taken to a hospital and died Monday. Officer Don Gotthardt says the investigation is complicated and that there was “slight miscommunication in the vetting process for the release” on the charges. Officer Gotthardt says Mr. Reed has never been charged with murder, according to AP.

Tattoo artists told a D.C. Council committee Wednesday they support legislation to regulate their industry for the first time as long as the associated fees and rules do not overburden them. A quintet of tattoo-shop owners told the Committee on Public Services and Consumer Affairs that any decent tattoo or body-piercing shop should meet or exceed standards in the bill, introduced by committee Chairman Yvette M. Alexander, Ward 7 Democrat, and six of her colleagues. The legislation would require tattoo and body-piercing artists to register with and obtain a license from the city’s Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs. It also establishes minimum health standards for the industry, reports Tom Howell Jr. of The Times.

A resurgent Newt Gingrich and a series of new primary election rules in place for the first time in 2012 are giving local Republicans hope that traditionally blue Maryland may play a role in choosing the GOP presidential nominee. Maryland’s April 3 primary is three months after the Iowa caucuses and nearly a month after the 11-state electoral behemoth known as Super Tuesday. But the roller-coaster race for the Republican presidential nomination has inspired talk of the race going well into the spring. Mr. Gingrich, Mitt Romney and Rick Perry all have campaign operations in Maryland, according to the Baltimore Sun.