The Washington Times - October 17, 2011, 08:09AM

The Maryland General Assembly will reconvene Monday to approve a new congressional map during its special session, but lawmakers are unlikely to take on other legislation despite earlier hints that economic reforms and tax increases would be considered. Gov. Martin O’Malley, a Democrat, over the weekend unveiled his proposed map of the state’s eight congressional districts, making only slight changes to the map recommended to him by his advisory panel this month, according to The Washington Times.

Rep. Roscoe G. Bartlett, the Western Maryland Republican who has become a target of the redistricting process in Annapolis, raised a mere $1,000 in the third quarter of the year — a number that is likely to fuel speculation about whether he will retire instead of fighting to retain his seat. A Federal Election Commission report released Saturday showed that Mr. Bartlett received only one contribution over the past three months. The donation, made Sept. 20, came from the Republican Main Street PAC, a Washington group that works to re-elect incumbents. The congressman is a member of the group. Mr. Bartlett has raised $73,725 since the 2010 election and has $260,727 in the bank, according to the Baltimore Sun.


D.C. Mayor Vincent C. Gray took advantage of the dedication for the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial this weekend to highlight efforts to get states’ rights for the city. “Today we are here to honor Dr. King’s dream,” he said Sunday from the stage during dedication ceremonies. “Sadly, that dream remains unfulfilled. If you live in Washington, D.C., you do not have a vote in Congress. … Release the shackles of oppression.” Mr. Gray, a Democrat, told hundreds of demonstrators Saturday that he is “sick and tired” of waiting for Congress to give the District of Columbia full democracy and the time has come for city residents to “take” their rights, The Times reports.

The Virginia Senate has been a cemetery for the General Assembly’s most conservative legislation for more than a decade. But if Republicans gain three or more Senate seats in next month’s decisive legislative elections, conservatives would consolidate their hold on Virginia government and turn state policy hard to the right. “The stakes have never been higher,” said state Sen. Janet Howell, Fairfax Democrat. That’s clear in part from the 86 checks for $10,000 or more that were written during the first two weeks of October that together put more than $3 million into play for the stretch run to the Nov. 8 election, according to the nonprofit, nonpartisan Virginia Public Access Project, according to the Associated Press.

A vast majority of Virginia voters really don’t care much about the upcoming General Assembly elections, according to a new Christopher Newport University/Richmond Times-Dispatch poll. More than 70 percent of voters surveyed said they are paying little (60.3 percent) to no (10.1 percent) attention to the looming November elections in which every seat in the legislature will be decided, according to tm he Richmond Times-Dispatch.

Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell’s second annual conference on energy convenes today in Richmond, bringing in industry leaders and hundreds of exhibitors. The conference begins Monday and runs through Wednesday. The first day kicks off with a Southern States Energy Board luncheon headlined by Christine Todd Whitman, the former governor of New Jersey and a past administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, according to the Associated Press.

A woman has been charged with felony arson following a fire at an apartment building that displaced 23 people in Prince William County, officials reported. Tanisha Bates, 28, was arrested and charged after the blaze broke out at the building on Woodbury Drive in Manassas early Sunday morning. Twenty-three people — 11 adults and 12 children — were displaced. No injuries were reported. The damage is estimated to cost $600,000. Police have not released a motive in the incident, according to The Washington Post.