Morning Read: Sunday Liquor Stores and Later Bar Hours in D.C.?

Councilmember Jim Graham is against Mayor Vincent Gray’s proposal to allow bars to stay open an extra hour, but the Washington Post reported Tuesday that he is likely to recommend allowing liquors stores to stay open on Sundays.

Because Graham opposed Gray’s proposal that would bring in $3.2 million in sales tax revenue, he needs to find additional sources of revenue to replace that.

Keeping liquor stores open on Sundays would bring in an additional $710,000 in sales tax revenue.

VIA The Post

"The additional $710,000 in sales tax revenue that would be generated by dropping the restriction would go some way toward the $3.2 million Graham needs to find to kill Mayor Vincent C. Gray’s proposal to extend bar hours as late as 4 a.m."

VIA DCist:

If Graham's substitute came to pass, the city's booze retailers would be the big winners in this year's budget—Gray's 2013 spending plan already includes a provision allowing supermarkets, corner stores and liquor stores to open two hours earlier than they're currently allowed to.

It's an interesting reversal for Graham, who only recently told former DCist editor-in-chief Aaron Morrissey that he didn't foresee the city's longstanding blue laws changing. (A 2012 proposal to allow Sunday sales went nowhere.) It's also something of a pragmatic compromise—Graham knows that the city needs the money, but if it's not going to get some of it from extended bar hours, it's up to him to find another source of revenue. (D.C. faces a $172 million budget deficit for 2013, $69 million of which Gray has proposed be closed by "revenue initiatives.")


Washington, D.C., Maryland and Virginia local news, events and information

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* Gov. Martin O’Malley attended the state school board meeting Tuesday to welcome the new state school superintendent, Lillian Lowery.

The governor also encouraged members of the school board to work harder on preparing principals and providing vocational training to leaders, according to The Baltimore Sun.

Lowery is currently Delaware’s secretary of education and will start her new post on July 1. The state board voted unanimously to hire her.

The Sun reports that Lowery attended last night’s meeting but did not participate in discussions.

Read more here.

* During the day Tuesday, Gov. O’Malley was on the top floor of Baltimore’s World Trade Center addressing more than 60 business leaders from India and Maryland to try and strengthen trade and investment between the state and the country, according to The Maryland Reporter.

The governor cited a 70 percent increase in trade with India over seven years and said that Maryland has three Indian-American state legislators -- the largest number in the country.

* In an interview with the Maryland Reporter after the event, O’Malley said it was possible that he’d call two special legislative sessions -- one in May to resolve the budget and another in August to deal with the expansion of gambling.

* The Prince William Board of County Supervisors approved its budget and tax rate for the 2013 fiscal year Tuesday.

A tax rate of $1.209 per $100 assessed property value passed with a 7-1 vote, according to This would raise the average residents tax bill by $110.

InsideNova reports that budget highlights include 3-percent merit increases to county employees, the construction of the Central Police Station by 2016, five emergency dispatchers, two fire marshal positions, 12 police officers and an assistant county attorney position.

Read more details about the budget here.

* John Delaney -- the Maryland Democrat running for Congress against incumbent Rep. Roscoe Bartlett -- was named by the national Democrats as a top candidate who could unseat a Republic.

Delaney is one of 12 candidates the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee named to its “Red to Blue” program -- a program where candidates will get special treatment and campaign help.

VIA Roll Call

“These candidates have earned a spot in this competitive program by being on offense and working tirelessly to hold Republicans accountable for repeatedly choosing millionaires over Medicare," DCCC Chairman Steve Israel (N.Y.) said in a statement.

* Lawyers filed suit in Richmond Circuit Court Tuesday arguing that Virginia’s execution team is engaging in the unlicensed practice of medicine, pharmacy and anesthesiology, according to the RTD.

The suits claims that the defendants -- the director of the Virginia Department of Corrections, the unnamed execution team leader and other prison officials -- are not authorized to give general anesthetic controlled substances to inmates.

* The RTD invited candidates running for U.S. Sen. Jim Webb’s seat to write for its opinion page. Democrat Tim Kaine was up today.

The former governor wrote about strengthening the economy through growth, talent and balance.

As mayor, I helped Richmond's Governor's School move into a renovated state-of-the-art facility at Maggie Walker that prepares students for jobs in the increasingly competitive global economy. And as governor, I championed the largest higher education construction bond package in Virginia history, which updated facilities across Virginia, including at Virginia Commonwealth University and Virginia State University. Investments in the training and development of talent have paid off. Businesses like Rolls Royce and Tumblr have relocated and invested in the Richmond area because our workers and higher-education institutions are top quality.

America's economy has been the world's largest for more than a century and by taking steps now, we can solidify our position for the next century. Washington can learn from Virginia's success. I'm optimistic about the days ahead and confident that if we put the right people and the right policies in place to make tough decisions, we will excel in the global economy.

* Also in the RTD, columnist Jeff Schapiro wrote about Senate candidate George Allen’s often overlooked Republican primary race. 

Poor George Allen. Before he can claim a Republican Senate nomination that's been his all along, he has to do for his primary opponents what they haven't done for themselves: Allen must legitimize them.

That's the unspoken theme of the Virginia GOP-orchestrated debates, the first of which will be in Roanoke on Saturday. There are two others: May 11 in Hampton Roads and May 25 in Northern Virginia. None is televised, minimizing the benefits to Allen's challengers and the risks to Allen.

Jamie Radtke, E.W. Jackson and Bob Marshall — tea-partiers all, and each with a different focus — are little-known, if not anonymous, candidates whose presence is costly for Allen.

They force Allen, running for a Senate seat he spectacularly lost in a 2006 race for a second term that was supposed to be a tuneup for president, to spend millions of dollars he'd prefer to husband for the fall brawl with Democrat Tim Kaine.

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