- The Washington Times - Tuesday, January 27, 2004

From combined dispatches

RICHMOND — A House committee yesterday endorsed legislation seeking to open some state-operated Alcoholic Beverage Control stores on Sunday afternoons.

Delegate David B. Albo’s bill, which passed the House General Laws Committee 13-6, would allow the state to open stores in areas in which it faces a competitive disadvantage to liquor stores in other states or on military bases.

This would only be in Northern Virginia and the Hampton Roads area, said Mr. Albo, Springfield Republican. The stores would open at 1 p.m. on Sundays.

“We need to run a business like a business,” Mr. Albo said. “No business in its right mind would close on a day it can make a lot of money.”

The measure failed on the House floor last year, but Mr. Albo said it should fare better this year because officials have new estimates that it will bring in between $4 million and $8 million per year in new revenue.

Mr. Albo said this money is currently lost to liquor stores in Maryland, the District and on military bases, which are all open on Sundays.

“We’re capturing revenue that’s going to be spent anyway,” he said.

Twenty-six states in the country allow Sunday spirits sales, according to lobbyist Reggie Jones of the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States. He said Sunday is the third-busiest day for spirits sales in states where it’s permitted.

Opponents said the next step would be to open ABC stores statewide on Sundays.

“I find it ironic that we would be introducing bills to cut down on DUIs, then providing a whole other day for them to be contributing to the problem,” said Jack Knapp, executive director of the Virginia Assembly of Independent Baptists.

The Senate yesterday passed a measure that would rename Mary Washington College.

The school’s Board of Visitors asked the General Assembly to approve the new name, University of Mary Washington.

The bill passed the Senate 37-2, despite objections from Sen. R. Edward Houck, Spotsylvania Republican. Mr. Houck argued that putting “University” in front of “Mary” was an affront to womanhood, an effort to downplay the feminine legacy of the school, a women-only institution until 1970.

The first Mary Washington College alumnus to serve in the General Assembly said she would support the name change, though with reservations.

“While I’m not thrilled with the name University of Mary Washington, at least we do have the name Mary Washington in there, and I am going to vote for it,” said Sen. Linda T. “Toddy” Puller, Fairfax Democrat.

Mary Washington College was reclassified as a university last year. The measure now advances to the House for consideration.

Health and environmental groups yesterday urged the General Assembly to pass legislation requiring eight Virginia power plants to drastically reduce pollution.

Delegate John S. “Jack” Reid, Henrico Republican, said he introduced the bill because his wife has a genetic lung disease that is exacerbated by polluted air.

The measure would require eight power plants by 2015 to reduce sulfur dioxide emissions by 88 percent and nitrogen oxide emissions by 75 percent. They also would have to cut mercury emissions by 90 percent by 2008.

Mr. Reid’s bill is similar to one passed by North Carolina’s legislature in 2002 to cut emissions from 14 power plants. It would allow the affected power companies, primarily Dominion Virginia Power, to recoup the costs of scrubbers and other technology upgrades from ratepayers. He estimated that the average residential power bill would increase by less than $1.

Dominion spokesman David Botkins said the company is reviewing Mr. Reid’s bill.

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