Still One-and-Done in Richmond
Proposal to Allow Governors to Serve Two Terms Killed
The Republican-controlled Virginia House of Delegates rejected Gov. Mark R. Warner's proposal to allow future governors two consecutive terms.
Warner (D) and a bipartisan coalition of business and political leaders had argued that Virginia's unique system of one-term governors limits accountability and visionary thinking. But skeptics said Warner's move was an executive power grab that would disrupt the state's constitutional checks and balances. The succession measure was killed by a vote of 51 to 49.
Curtailing Teenagers' Privacy
Va. Legislation Would Require Parental Notification
The Virginia House of Delegates voted to require public health officials, doctors and counselors to notify parents whenever teenagers seek treatment for depression, contemplation of suicide, pregnancy or sexually transmitted diseases. If the measure becomes law, teenagers will no longer have an expectation of privacy when they seek medical treatment.
Ehrlich Backs More Charter Schools
Governor Wants New Penalties for Convicts With Guns
Maryland Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr.'s administration fleshed out his signature education and crime-fighting initiatives, vowing to dramatically expand the number of charter schools in the state and make "gun-bangers" pay for their crimes.
Ehrlich wants to remove a key obstacle for many charter schools -- getting approval from a local school board -- by allowing universities, the State Board of Education and other entities to also charter the schools. He also would allow teachers at the tax-supported charters to operate outside the auspices of the state's teachers union.
The governor, the state's first Republican chief executive in more than 30 years, also proposed tougher measures for felons convicted of a violent crime who are later caught with a gun.
Both measures are likely to generate significant debate in the Democratic-controlled General Assembly.
Moose Formed Consulting Firm
Police Chief's Venture May Violate Montgomery Policy
Six weeks after announcing the arrest of the Washington area sniper suspects, Montgomery County Police Chief Charles A. Moose established a for-profit consulting firm to deliver motivational talks, organize team-building exercises, and offer pointers on crisis management and conflict resolution.
The venture is one of several off-duty opportunities that could place Moose at odds with the Montgomery Ethics Commission, which forbids "using the prestige of office for personal gain."
Metts Reduces School Budget Request
Money Cut From Magnet School, Class Reduction Plans
Prince George's Schools Chief Iris T. Metts has taken the first steps toward slashing her own request for a $256 million increase in the school system's budget. Metts outlined $118 million in cuts to her proposed spending budget for fiscal 2004, slicing $13 million designed to reduce some elementary school class sizes and $2 million to create magnet programs at three high schools. But some school board members asked Metts to consider restoring at least some of the money.