Virginia Attorney General's Office
Ken for Governor?
Nah, not Irish enough.
The Washington Examiner reports that Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli is pulling together his 2013 gubernatorial campaign and is starting to think about a slogan for the race.
He said he still unsure what the slogan will be, but knows it won’t be “Ken for Governor.”
“It just doesn’t rhyme. I need something for the Irishman in me, I need something that rhymes,” he told the Examiner.
He said he will step up his campaign after the Virginia Assembly finishes its session later this weekend.
A Roanoke College poll published last week had Cuccinelli ahead of his likely opponent, Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling, by 19 percentage points.
* Virginia Senate Democrats sent Republican Gov. Bob McDonnell a list of conditions Wednesday they want addressed before they vote to approve his proposed $85 billion budget.
Among the requests include the elimination of McDonnell’s demand that a share of state sales tax revenue be shifted to transportation, funding to extend the Washington Metro rail line to Dulles International Airport and the restoration of $65 million for northern Virginia schools to keep pay competitive for non-teaching staff.
The Democrat letter also calls for reimbursement to University of Virginia for the $576,000 it spent defending itself from Republican Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli's inquest into a former professor's climate change research.
The Democrats have voted against the budget two times now in the evenly split Senate. They are using their votes in exchange for more power in certain committees.
* After more than 150 years, the State Fair of Virginia won’t be held this year because its operator has shutdown.
It is still unknown whether another operator will take over the event this year or in the future.
The Maryland Senate Budget and Taxation Committee heard testimony Wednesday on a proposed tax hike on cigars and smokeless tobacco products that could reach as high as 95 percent.
According to The Maryland Reporter, if this is passed, Maryland would have the highest tax rates on non-premium cigars and smokeless tobacco in the country.
Sen. Jennie Forehand, D-Montgomery, the sponsor of the tax, told the Maryland Reporter that the tax would hopefully curb the rise in cigar and smokeless tobacco use recently documented among teenagers in the states.
Nearly 9 percent of high school males in Maryland chew tobacco.
“As a result of three cigarette tax increases over the past decade, we have reduced cigarette smoking by 32%, double the national average,” Forehand said. “This has kept over 200,000 Marylanders from becoming addicted to cigarettes — over 70,000 of whom would have died terrible tobacco-caused deaths.”
The Baltimore Sun editorial board weighed in on Gov. O’Malley looking into granting clemency to two Maryland prisoners for the first time in his governorship.
Mr. O'Malley is moving toward commuting the sentences of two inmates sentenced to life in prison, a welcome departure from his previous habit of simply ignoring the recommendations of Maryland's parole board in the case of lifers. He was pushed by the legislature, and he is wading gingerly into the issue. But at least in these two cases, the cause of justice is winning out over simplistic, tough-on-crime politics.
The Maryland Senate will take up a bill Friday that would make smoking in a car with a kid under the age of 8 against the law. The measure failed last year.
* Mayor Vincent C. Gray announced Wednesday another jobs program intended to help unemployed residents get back to work.
The new On-the-Job Training (OJT) program will supplement 90 percent of the salaries of participants while they are trained at private companies. The amount is limited to $34 an hour and to $8,000 per employee up to six months.