Warner Pushes Up Tax Break

Surplus Allows for Earlier Exemption Increase

Gov. Mark R. Warner (D) said he will use part of the state's unexpected budget surplus to accelerate an income tax break for virtually all Virginia families.

Warner said the state's $324 million surplus -- fueled by higher-than-expected tax collections during the latter part of the fiscal year -- will let him institute the break Jan. 1, 2005, instead of a year later.

The tax break, which will increase the personal exemption $100 for each state income tax payer and each dependent, will cost the state $28 million. The personal exemption will become $900.

Custody Ruling Derails Gay Rights Case

Vt. Same-Sex Union Not Recognized by Va. Court

A Winchester judge ruled that Virginia has jurisdiction over a custody battle between a toddler's biological mother and her former lesbian lover after the couple wedded in Vermont and then split up.

The decision dealt a blow to gay-rights advocates who said the case represented a chance for Virginia to recognize same-sex unions and the rights of non-biological parents.

Frederick County Circuit Court Judge John R. Prosser cited Virginia's Affirmation of Marriage Act, which declares unions or domestic partnership contracts between members of the same sex void. He called the biological mother the child's "sole parent."

Democratic Outcry Over Nader Petitions

Election Board Told to Review Rejection

Virginia Democrats lodged several complaints Wednesday with the State Board of Elections over its decision to review petitions that could allow Ralph Nader on the state's presidential ballot in November.

Attorney General Jerry W. Kilgore (R) on Monday advised the board to consider Nader's petitions even though election officials had rejected them, citing rules that required signatures to be grouped by congressional district. Kilgore said the rule was invalid because the board never formally voted on it.

Dale City Man Gets 15 Years for Slaying

Victim Was Unintended Target of Shooter

Romayn K. Robinson, 22, of Dale City pleaded guilty Wednesday to voluntary manslaughter and weapons charges and was sentenced to 15 years in prison in the slaying last year of Maurice McKoy.

McKoy, a former high school football running back, was shot once in the head while he was playing video games in his Woodbridge townhouse Jan. 9, 2003. Authorities have said Robinson meant to shoot another person as payback for a fistfight.

DNA Break Results in Rapist's Confession

Convict Attacked Pr. William Teacher in 1990

A 42-year-old convicted sex offender pleaded guilty Monday to raping a former Prince William County high school teacher in 1990 in a case solved after investigators blindly sent his genetic material to a national DNA database.

Terry L. McDonald, who is serving a 48-year sentence for sexual assault in West Virginia, pleaded guilty in Prince William County Circuit Court to rape and abduction with intent to defile.

Across the Region

Amtrak Reservations; D.C. Baseball Poll

* Riders on virtually all Amtrak trains that pass through New York's Penn Station must reserve tickets in advance today through Thursday because of the Republican National Convention, officials said, regardless of whether passengers are going to the city. Amtrak officials said the reservations-only policy is designed to gauge the size of crowds expected on trains and in Penn Station, which sits under Madison Square Garden, the site of the convention.

* A proposal by D.C. Mayor Anthony A. Williams (D) to build a major league baseball stadium with public funds is proving extremely unpopular among District residents, according to candidates campaigning for city offices and a recent poll of likely Democratic voters. The poll, conducted in June by the Service Employees International Union, found that 70 percent oppose public funding.

Sugar rush: The District's first Krispy Kreme doughnut shop opened Tuesday. Jeremy Good, second in line, gets his.