Morning Read: Crab Population Reaches Record High in Chesapeake

The Chesapeake Bay’s blue crab population is booming, having reached a 20-year population high in 2012, Md. Gov. Martin O'Malley and Va. Gov. Bob McDonnell announced in a joint press release.

The 2012 Blue Crab Winter Dredge Survey determined that the total population of blue crabs in the Chesapeake Bay reached 764 million after four years of a bay-wide stock-rebuilding program.

This is 66 percent above the 2011 population of 460 million crabs—which at the time was the highest level recorded since 1993.

Gov. McDonnell said:

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"This shows exciting progress for the stock rebuilding program with our Maryland partners, and is great news for our crabbers and everyone who enjoys genuine Chesapeake Bay crab cakes and she-crab soup, which I recommend be paired with a nice Virginia white wine. I want to applaud all those who have worked to make this incredible progress possible, including my predecessor Governor Tim Kaine and his Administration, and Governor O'Malley and his Administration in Annapolis. This is a bipartisan success story."

Gov. O’Malley said:

"Just a few short years ago, the future did not look bright for our blue crab population. Our female crabs were being overfished, and our fishery was at risk of complete collapse. We teamed up with our neighbors in Virginia and at the Potomac River Fisheries Commission to make the tough choices, guided by science, to reverse that population decline."

* After a bipartisan group of Virginia lawmakers rejected Gob. Bob McDonnell’s proposed changes to the Voter ID bill, the governor is considering a veto of the controversial legislation, according to the Washington Examiner.

McDonnell had sought to weaken the bill -- which, in its current form, would require anyone who forgets to bring an ID to fill out a provisional ballot that would not be counted unless the voter can later show a proper ID.

McDonnell’s amendments would have allowed election officials to verify someone’s identification by comparing the signature on the provisional ballot with the signature on a voter registration card.

The Examiner reported that McDonnell said the bill creates an “unduly [sic] burden and barriers to your vote,” and he must now consider whether to veto or sign a bill he considers “unreasonable.”

The voter ID measure has been a controversial measure from the start. With no real evidence of significant voter fraud in the state, some argue that the bill would disenfranchise students, minorities and elderly citizens -- those people most likely to be without identification.

* Former D.C. mayor Anthony Williams was named the new chief executive of the Federal City Council, an organization of civic leaders that works with public officials to solve major problems that are facing the city.

Williams served two terms as mayor, from 1999 to 2007, and this new position will bring him back to the forefront of D.C’s political scene. He will begin the new post to run the 170-member organization on July 1.

“Having Tony Williams agree to assume the leadership of the Federal City Council is almost too good to be true,” said Federal City Council Chairman Linda Rabbitt, chairman and CEO of Rand Construction in a press release. “Not only is he uniquely qualified, but his long track record of accomplishments in the District of Columbia makes him the perfect candidate for the job. We are delighted with his desire to step into this position.”

* Bearing Drift reports that Wisconsin Tea Party Sen. Ron Johnson will travel to Richmond Friday, where he will endorse George Allen for the GOP Senate nomination.

The two will host a roundtable discussion with small business owners this afternoon.

* The Washington Post has an article about an email Gov. O’Malley sent out to state officials Thursday afternoon, pleading with them to unify and come up with a budget compromise.

But the GOP took issue with the email because it cast the Republican party as a foil, drawing on their comments that returning to Annapolis for a special session is unnecessary. Read the full article here.

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