- The Washington Times - Saturday, June 19, 2004

Governor ordered before committee

HARTFORD, Conn. — The Connecticut Supreme Court ruled yesterday that Gov. John G. Rowland must testify before a committee considering his impeachment, making him the first sitting chief executive in U.S. history ordered to appear before a legislative body.

In a 5-2 ruling, the court upheld an earlier decision by a lower court judge. The governor had argued that the legislature was intruding on the separation of powers between the branches of government in demanding that he testify.

But the majority of justices said the “subpoena is not inconsistent with the separation of powers provision of the state constitution.”

Mr. Rowland is under investigation for accepting gifts from friends, state contractors and employees. He is also the subject of a parallel federal corruption investigation.

The three-term Republican has said he provided nothing in return for the gifts and has not compromised his office.

Communion decision left to local bishops

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops said yesterday that local bishops should decide whether pro-choice Catholic politicians should receive or be denied Holy Communion.

The bishops voted 183-6 during a retreat in Englewood, Colo. Four bishops have forbidden pro-choice Catholics to take communion and another 15 have asked them not to receive the sacrament.

“We recognize that such decisions rest with the individual bishop” on whether to withhold communion, they said. “Bishops can legitimately make different judgments on the most prudent course of pastoral action.”

The bishops also added that the “polarizing tendencies of election-year politics can lead to circumstances in which Catholic teaching and sacramental practice can be misused for political ends.”

Ladies’ night back on in New Jersey bars

TRENTON, N.J.— It’s unanimous: Women deserve a cheap drink, at least in New Jersey bars and restaurants.

Despite an administrative ruling that said ladies’ night at a Cherry Hill bar and restaurant violated state civil rights rules, Assembly members Thursday said there ought to be a law protecting the practice.

The Assembly voted 78-0 to approve a bill making it legal for bar owners and others to offer special promotions such as charging women different prices for drinks.

Earlier this month, the director of the state Division on Civil Rights ruled in favor of a man who said it wasn’t fair for women to get into the Coastline bar and restaurant in Cherry Hill for free and enjoy discounted drinks while men paid $5 and full price for beverages. The bill now heads to the Senate.

14-year-old chicken mystifies veterinarian

BESSEMER, Ala. — Matilda really is a magic chicken. Long a prop in a magician’s show, the hen from Bessemer has been certified by Guinness World Records as the world’s oldest living chicken.

Matilda, who works with Keith Barton in his “Mort the Mystifying” act, is 14 years old. The little gray bird is believed to be an Old English Red Pyle hen.

Matilda’s role is to appear in a pan that moments earlier seemed to contain only a fresh egg yolk and a few drops of hot sauce.

Guinness confirmed Matilda’s longevity in an April 27 Web page posting, followed by a letter to the Bartons, which was accompanied by a certificate proclaiming the distinction.

One of Matilda’s doctors, Randy Britt of Britt Animal Hospital, said the hen has practically doubled the 7- or 8-year normal lifespan for a chicken.

Workplace smoking ban signed into law

BOSTON — Gov. Mitt Romney signed a workplace smoking ban into law yesterday. Beginning July 5, smokers will be prohibited from lighting up in restaurants, bars and clubs across Massachusetts.

The bill exempts some private clubs and fraternal organizations, including American Legion halls. Cities and towns would be allowed to create exemptions for nursing homes.

Massachusetts joins five other states — New York, Connecticut, Maine, Delaware and California — that have already approved statewide bans. Supporters say the new law will improve the health of workers in bars and restaurants by protecting them from secondhand smoke.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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