WASHINGTON IN BRIEF

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Saturday, December 30, 2006

House to Hear Motion On Contested Florida Race

A disputed election result in a House race in Florida will be one of the first items raised when the Democratic-controlled chamber convenes next week.

Rep. Rush D. Holt (D-N.J.) said he will move Thursday, immediately after Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) is sworn in as the first female speaker of the House, to establish that the swearing-in of Vern Buchanan (R) does not prejudice ongoing challenges by his opponent, Christine Jennings (D).

"There's no way of knowing whether the result presented by Florida's secretary of state is valid. In fact, I think there is significant evidence that it is not," Holt said.

Buchanan was certified the winner of the Nov. 7 election by a 369-vote margin. Jennings points in her challenge to about 18,000 ballots in Sarasota County that recorded no votes for the House race. She argues the machines lost votes.

Jennings suffered a legal setback yesterday when a Florida judge denied a request by her and groups including the American Civil Liberties Union to examine the voting-machine hardware and software.

Circuit Judge William Gary ruled in Tallahassee that Jennings's arguments about the possibility of lost votes were "conjecture" and did not warrant disclosing the trade secrets of the voting-machine company, Election Systems & Software.

Jennings's campaign vowed an appeal.

"It's shocking that there is more concern for protecting a company's profits rather than protecting our right to vote," she said in a statement.

Postal Service to Suspend Service in Memory of Ford

Mail service will be suspended Tuesday out of respect for the memory of former president Gerald R. Ford, the U.S. Postal Service announced.

Express mail deliveries will be made Tuesday. Normal mail service will resume Wednesday.

President Expands Treatment for Opiate Users

President Bush authorized doctors to treat as many as 100 patients at a time for addiction to painkillers with the drug buprenorphine, up from a previous limit of 30 per doctor.

The drug, sold as Suboxone and Subutex, is the only Food and Drug Administration-approved treatment for dependence on heroin and other opiates that doctors are allowed to prescribe in their offices, rather than in the traditional, highly regulated setting of methadone clinics.

-- From News Services


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