Local Digest: ‘Redskins’ bill in the House; taxi credit card plan tweaked

March 20, 2013
THE REGION
House joins debate over ‘Redskins’ name

A group of U.S. House members has offered a bill that would prohibit the term “Redskins” from being trademarked, as the debate over the NFL team’s name expands from the legal system and the court of public opinion to Capitol Hill.

Del. Eni Faleomavaega (D) of American Samoa has authored the Non-Disparagement of American Indians in Trademark Registrations Act of 2013, which would cancel all existing federal trademarks using “Redskins” to refer to Native Americans and prohibit future trademarks. D.C. Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D), a critic of the team’s name, is an original co-sponsor, along with Reps. Raul Grijalva (D-Ariz.) and Karen Bass (D-Calif.).

A Redskins spokesman said the team had no comment on the bill.

There is no guarantee that the measure will receive a committee hearing in the House, much less a vote. But it comes at a sensitive time: This month in Alexandria, a three-judge panel on the federal Trademark Trial and Appeal Board heard arguments over whether the term Redskins should be considered a slur and therefore not worthy of trademark protection.

— Ben Pershing

THE DISTRICT
Credit card plan for taxis is tweaked

The D.C. Taxicab Commission on Wednesday endorsed a proposal to tweak regulations surrounding the credit card mandate — including a modest increase in some fares.

The aim of the proposal is to give taxi owners and drivers freedom to choose their own credit card system while offering owners more revenue to offset the cost of the equipment. A credit card system would cost anywhere from $40 to $90 per month, commission chairman Ron M. Linton said.

A proposed 50-cent-per-ride surcharge paid to the commission under the old plan would be reduced to 25 cents. The base fare would increase from $3 to $3.25, Linton said.

The commission also voted to revive a fee for additional passengers. Drivers would be permitted to charge $1 if they carry more than one passenger — but the fee would only apply once, regardless of the number of additional riders. A 50-cent-per-bag luggage handling charge would be dropped.

A hearing on the proposed regulations is set for 10 a.m. April 17 at the Frank D. Reeves Center community room, 2000 14th St. NW, on the second floor.

— Mike DeBonis

Woman killed in crash is identified

A woman who was killed in a car accident Tuesday in the Michigan Park neighborhood has been identified as a 72-year-old from Northeast Washington, according to D.C. police.

The accident, police said, occurred about 7:50 a.m. at 12th and Varnum streets.

Police said Catherine Cecelia Proctor, who lived near Fort Totten in Northeast, was driving south on 12th Street in a 2009 Kia Optima when she went off the road, hit a curb and then collided with a newspaper box and a large tree. Police said the Kia then crossed the intersection and hit a second tree.

Authorities said the cause of the crash is under investigation.

— Peter Hermann

MARYLAND
Senate votes for smoking restrictions

The Maryland Senate voted 27 to 20 on Wednesday to ban smoking in cars when there is a passenger younger than age 8.

Supporters of the bill, sponsored by Sen. Robert A. Zirkin (D-Baltimore County), argued that the health effects of second-hand smoke on young children are particularly detrimental in cars and that children have no say about being there.

Drivers who violate the provision would be subject to a $50 fine.

Opponents, including Senate Minority Leader E.J. Pipkin (R-Cecil), have called the bill another step toward Maryland becoming a “nanny state.”

During Wednesday’s debate, Sen. Katherine Klausmeier (D-Baltimore County) said she understands that it is “not healthy whatsoever” to expose a child to cigarette smoke in a car.

The bill now moves to the House, where a similar measure died last year.

— John Wagner

Murder convictions in Pr. George’s cases

A Hyattsville man who fatally shot someone during a robbery and a Brandywine man who gunned down his neighbor after years of disputes were convicted of murder last week in separate trials, Prince George’s County authorities said Wednesday.

Prosecutors said 22-year-old Dominic Givens of Hyattsville was convicted of first-degree murder and related counts in the 2011 killing of 30-year-old Marvin D. Tomlinson. Ronald Lee Ragland, 56, of Brandywine was convicted of second-degree murder in the shooting death of 53-year-old Robert Mitchell Sr.

— Matt Zapotosky

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