Friday, July 27, 2007

CQ Today Midday Update

Highlights from today's news on CQ.com
Midday Update for FRIDAY, JULY 27, 2007 – 2:13 P.M.

In This Issue

  • House Passes Farm Policy Overhaul
  • Child Health Bill Wins Approval From One House Panel, With One to Go
  • House-Senate Conferees Reach Deal on Water Projects Bill
  • Rep. LaHood to Retire at End of 110th Congress
  • House Panel Approves Bill to Aid Families of Immigrant Sept. 11 Victims
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Today in Washington

The House passes five-year farm bill (HR 2419); considers conference report on legislation (HR 1) implementing the recommendations of the Sept. 11 commission.

The Senate is not in session; reconvenes at 2 p.m. Monday, July 30, with cloture vote at 5:30 p.m. on motion to proceed to a bill (HR 976) that will be the vehicle for a child health insuance expansion.

The President presents the 2005 and 2006 National Medals of Science and Technology at the White House; meets to discuss the economy with Treasury Secretary Henry M. Paulson Jr., Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez, OMB Director Rob Portman, and White House Economic Advisor Edward Lazear at Camp David.

In Washington,  the American Constitution Society holds its national conference. Participants include 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Rosemary Barkett; Rep. Artur Davis, D-Ala.; Sen. Charles E. Schumer, D-N.Y., and others. Washington Marriott Wardman Park, 2660 Woodley Road, N.W.

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Top Stories

House Passes Farm Policy Overhaul

The House on Friday passed a five-year overhaul of agriculture policy that would impose modest new limits on farm subsidies, increase support for fruit and vegetable growers, bolster land conservation efforts and increase funding for nutrition programs.  [Read More]

Child Health Bill Wins Approval From One House Panel, With One to Go

Two House committees worked far into the night Thursday to advance a huge health insurance bill in the face of Republican delaying tactics. One panel finished; the other resumed work Friday.  [Read More]

House-Senate Conferees Reach Deal on Water Projects Bill

The House and Senate have resolved major differences over a bill authorizing more than $20 billion in water projects, setting the stage for final passage as early as next week.  [Read More]

Rep. LaHood to Retire at End of 110th Congress

Illinois Republican Rep. Ray LaHood, an institutionalist and parliamentary expert who was elected to seven terms after a career as a high-ranking aide, will retire at the end of the 110th Congress.  [Read More]

House Panel Approves Bill to Aid Families of Immigrant Sept. 11 Victims

A House Judiciary subcommittee Friday approved bipartisan legislation to allow immigrants who lost a spouse or a parent in the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks to become legal permanent residents.  [Read More]

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TheCapitol.Net: Advanced Legislative Strategies

This TheCapitol.Net course — Advanced Legislative Strategies — is a three-day course designed for those who, having already learned the legislative process and basic congressional operations, want to maximize this knowledge to develop strategies and tactics to help educate Congress and influence legislation.
WHERE: D.C. Bar Conference Center, 1250 H Street, N.W.
WHEN: August 1-3, 2007, 9 a.m. - 4 p.m. on all three days.
Registration Fee: $1295
Full program description and online registration, or call our registrar at 202-678-1600.
This training conference is sponsored by TheCapitol.Net, exclusive provider of Congressional Quarterly Executive Conferences.

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Political Clippings

The North Andover Eagle-Tribune reports that Democrat Niki Tsongas, widow of Sen. Paul Tsongas and a candidate for the vacant 5th District House seat in Massachusetts, described in a debate last week how she spent 10 years in Washington representing the 5th Congressional district. However, Tsongas is the only Democrat seeking the seat vacated by former Rep. Martin Meehan who has never held elective office. Her campaign said she misspoke after a video clip of her statement from the debate ended up on YouTube.

The Anchorage Daily News reports Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, said she and her husband have decided to sell back the property at the center of an ethics complaint against her. Murkowski said the land would be sold back to Anchorage real estate developer Bob Penney, from whom she purchased the land at a price reportedly well under market value last year. In a statement, the senator said, “I cannot allow this to become a distraction from the major challenges faced in representing Alaska.” Murkowski’s statement came a day after the National Legal and Policy Center filed an ethics complaint saying the land sale amounted to an illegal gift.

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Today on Governing.com

State and local government news from CQ’s sister publication
HAZLETON, Pa.: Judge Overturns Immigrant Ordinance
ST. PAUL, Minn.: Sewer Workers May Have Been Swept to Their Deaths
AUSTIN, Texas: Lake Renamed for Lady Bird
CALIFORNIA: Pollution Cuts Mandated for Diesel Equipment
NEW JERSEY: Court: Homeowners' Associations Can Limit Speech Rights
MASSACHUSETTS: Same-Sex Marriage OKd for New Mexicans
FLORIDA: State Opens Giant Supply Center for Storms

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Political Trivia

Rep. Jan Schakowsky, D-Ill., was a stay-at-home mother in the early 1970s, when she helped launch a successful nationwide campaign to require freshness dates on food products. (Source: CQ.com Member Profiles)

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Thursday, July 26, 2007

CQ Today Midday Update

Highlights from today's news on CQ.com
Midday Update for THURSDAY, JULY 26, 2007 – 2:27 P.M.

In This Issue

  • House Battle Looms Over Farm Bill Offsets, Policy Changes
  • Nussle Confirmation May Depend on Bush Meeting Next Week
  • Senate Adds $3 Billion for Border Security to Homeland Bill
  • Senate Democrats Request Special Prosecutor to Investigate Gonzales
  • House Panel Seeks to Force Divestment From Sudan
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Today in Washington

The House considers fiscal 2008 Commerce-Justice-Science appropriations bill (HR 3093); begins debate on five-year farm bill (HR 2419)

The Senate continues debate on fiscal 2008 homeland security appropriations bill (HR 2638).

The President greets Freedom Corps volunteers Molly and Carly Houlahan, and speaks to the American Legislative Exchange Council meeting, in Philadelphia; participates with first lady Laura Bush in a Special Olympics Global Law Enforcement Torch Run ceremony and greets officers of the National Future Farmers of America Organization, at the White House.

In Washington,  the Treasury Department holds a one-day conference on Business Taxation and Global Competitiveness. Participants include Treasury Secretary Henry M. Paulson Jr., former Federal Reserve Board Chairman Alan Greenspan, and various scholars and corporate leaders. Cash Room, Treasury Department, 1500 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.

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Top Stories

House Battle Looms Over Farm Bill Offsets, Policy Changes

With a battle royal looming, the House was preparing to start debate late Thursday on a five-year farm bill that Republicans angrily denounced.  [Read More]

Nussle Confirmation May Depend on Bush Meeting Next Week

President Bush’s nominee to head the White House budget office completed his confirmation hearings Thursday, but it remains uncertain whether Congress will vote to confirm him before the August recess.  [Read More]

Senate Adds $3 Billion for Border Security to Homeland Bill

After a flurry of negotiations, the Senate on Thursday agreed to add $3 billion in emergency border security funding to the fiscal 2008 homeland security spending bill, drawing Congress closer to a confrontation with the president over the level of funding in the bill.  [Read More]

Senate Democrats Request Special Prosecutor to Investigate Gonzales

Four Senate Judiciary Committee Democrats on Thursday asked the Justice Department to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate whether Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales lied under oath to Congress.  [Read More]

House Panel Seeks to Force Divestment From Sudan

Legislation designed to intensify pressure on Sudan to halt the genocide in its Darfur region was approved by the House Financial Services Committee by voice vote Thursday.  [Read More]

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Political Clippings

In New Jersey, Joe Albright speculates in his “Capital Clips” column for the Jersey Journal that Sen. Frank Lautenberg, D-N.J., might step down in the wake of the recent Quinnipiac University poll showing a majority believe the 83-year-old is too old to serve another six-year Senate term, allowing Democratic Gov. Jon Corzine to appoint Rep. Rob Andrews, D-N.J., as a successor, “which could become a habit in Democratic New Jersey.”

The Williamette Week in Oregon, citing “three highly placed Democratic sources,” reports that Democratic state House Speaker Jeff Merkley has decided to challenge Sen. Gordon H. Smith, R-Ore. Merkley would neither confirm nor deny the report. “There are huge issues for our nation that are being decided in Washington, D.C.,” he said. “I’m seriously considering entering the race but will not announce a decision until Aug. 1.” Democrat Steve Novick, who announced his candidacy in April, said he has no intention of stepping aside in favor of Merkley.

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Today on Governing.com

State and local government news from CQ’s sister publication
THE NATION: DNA Evidence Widely Lost, Mishandled
THE MILWAUKEE REGION: Can Water Tech Bring Back Growth?
INDIANA: Governor: County Tax Assessments Faulty
CALIFORNIA: State Fines Biggest HMO $3 Million
PENNSYLVANIA: Angry Governor Revives Turnpike Privatization
ARIZONA: 20-Year Plan Aims to Save Forests

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Political Trivia

Sen. John A. Barrasso, R-Wyo., is the 12th member of this Congress with a medical degree, and his profession informs his advocacy of improving rural health services in a state where many residents lack access to basic medical care. He is well-known in Wyoming for a newspaper column, “Keeping Wyoming Healthy,” and for regular health and fitness commentaries on television. (Source: CQ.com Member Profiles)

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Wednesday, July 25, 2007

CQ Today Midday Update

Highlights from today's news on CQ.com
Midday Update for WEDNESDAY, JULY 25, 2007 – 2:24 P.M.

In This Issue

  • Panel Recommends Contempt Citations for Bolten, Miers
  • House Republicans Slow Action on Child Health Bill
  • Republicans Seek More Border Security Spending in Face of Veto Threat
  • Senate Passes Military Health Care Overhaul, Pay Raise
  • House Again Votes Against Permanent U.S. Bases in Iraq
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Today in Washington

The House passes a bill (HR 2929) to ban permanent U.S. bases in Iraq and clears a bill (S 1868) to extend the Higher Education Act through Oct. 31; considers fiscal 2008 Commerce-Justice-Science appropriations bill (HR 3039); swears in Rep-elect Paul Broun, R-Ga., at 6 p.m.

The Senate resumes debate on fiscal 2008 homeland security appropriations bill (HR 2638); passes “wounded warrior” legislation and pay raise for military personnel (HR 1538).

The President receives briefing by co-chairs of the President’s Commission on Care for America’s Returning Wounded Warriors; greets 2007 Boys and Girls Nation delegates.

In Washington,  the World Affairs Council holds an event with Venezuelan Ambassador Bernardo Alvarez Herrera, speaking on energy policy, the economy, and foreign policy. 6:30 p.m., B-1 conference level, 1800 K St., N.W.

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Top Stories

Panel Recommends Contempt Citations for Bolten, Miers

The House Judiciary Committee recommended Wednesday that the full House cite White House Chief of Staff Joshua B. Bolten and former White House counsel Harriet Miers for contempt of Congress for refusing to cooperate with the panel’s probe of the firing of nine U.S. attorneys last year.  [Read More]

House Republicans Slow Action on Child Health Bill

Facing a revolt by Republicans, the House Energy and Commerce Committee postponed Wednesday’s scheduled markup of a massive health insurance bill.  [Read More]

Republicans Seek More Border Security Spending in Face of Veto Threat

The White House issued a veto threat Wednesday against the Senate’s fiscal 2008 Homeland Security spending bill, citing excessive funding, as Senate Republicans attempted to add more spending to the bill for border security.  [Read More]

Senate Passes Military Health Care Overhaul, Pay Raise

The Senate passed legislation Wednesday to overhaul military health care and increase troop pay, rescuing those popular provisions from the stalled fiscal 2008 defense authorization bill.  [Read More]

House Again Votes Against Permanent U.S. Bases in Iraq

In its latest war vote, the House voted overwhelmingly Wednesday to bar the establishment of permanent U.S. military bases in Iraq.  [Read More]

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Political Clippings

The Rapid City Journal reports that Sen. Tim Johnson’s wife, Barbara, says her husband’s speech is improving the most rapidly and his already-encouraging progress is likely to accelerate when he returns to the Senate sometime after the August recess. Barbara Johnson has remained with her husband in the Washington area as the second-term Democrat from South Dakota recovers from a brain hemorrhage.

The Arizona Republic reports Democratic state Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick resigned Tuesday as Arizona law requires to challenge GOP Rep. Rick Renzi next year. At least two other Democrats, Howard Shanker and Mary Kim Titla, are also running for the seat. Renzi has not yet said he is seeking re-election. His political future has been clouded by his connection to a pending federal investigation into a land deal.

The Baton Rouge Advocate reports that Rep. Bobby Jindal, R-La., is launching a television ad Wednesday in which he vows to tackle corruption and incompetence in state government if elected governor. It’s Jindal’s first television ad in the campaign to replace Democratic Gov. Kathleen Babineaux Blanco, who is not seeking re-election. Jindal’s Democratic opponent, state Sen. Walter Boasso, has already spent more than $1 million on a series of television ads.

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Today on Governing.com

State and local government news from CQ’s sister publication
THE DENVER REGION: Electricity to Power New Commuter Trains
COBB COUNTY, Ga.: County Limits Numbers of Home Residents
SAN FRANCISCO: Power Failure Darkens Much of Downtown
NEW JERSEY: Retiree Health Care Shortfall: $58 Billion
OREGON/WASHINGTON STATE: A River and Its Fish Divide Two States
LOUISIANA: Governor: Aide's E-Mails Secret

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Political Trivia

Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, says his interest in politics was sparked by the Vietnam War, the civil rights movement and the 1968 presidential candidacy of Robert F. Kennedy. (Source: CQ.com Member Profiles)

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Tuesday, July 24, 2007

CQ Today Midday Update

Highlights from today's news on CQ.com
Midday Update for TUESDAY, JULY 24, 2007 – 2:13 P.M.

In This Issue

  • Senate Passes Rewrite of Higher Education Act
  • Reid Wants to Move Military Health Care Overhaul as Separate Bill
  • House Democrats Working to Nail Down SCHIP Bill
  • Nussle Promises Consultation But Not Consensus on Spending
  • Sen. Reid Sets Nov. 16 Adjournment Target
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Today in Washington

The House completes consideration of fiscal 2008 Transportation-HUD appropriations (HR 3074).

The Senate passes Higher Education Act reauthorization bill (S 1642); begins debate on fiscal 2008 homeland security appropriations bill (HR 2638).

The President visits with military personnel and makes remarks at Charleston Air Force Base in South Carolina; meets with King Abdullah II of Jordan at the White House.

In Washington,  U.S. Pacific Commander Adm. Timothy Keating speaks at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, 3 p.m., 1800 K St. N.W.

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Top Stories

Senate Passes Rewrite of Higher Education Act

Demonstrating a rare bipartisan consensus, the Senate by 95-0 passed an overhaul Tuesday of the primary law governing federal aid to colleges and the students who attend them.  [Read More]

Reid Wants to Move Military Health Care Overhaul as Separate Bill

With the Senate stalled on the fiscal 2008 defense authorization bill, Majority Leader Harry Reid sought Tuesday to get quick action on an overhaul of military health care that is included in the measure.  [Read More]

House Democrats Working to Nail Down SCHIP Bill

The House headed for a showdown on children’s health insurance Tuesday, as Democrats tried to complete a sprawling health care bill and Republicans prepared a narrower but less costly competing measure.  [Read More]

Nussle Promises Consultation But Not Consensus on Spending

Former Rep. Jim Nussle, R-Iowa, President Bush’s nominee to head the White House budget office, assured senators Tuesday that he is he eager to work with them to avoid a major conflict this fall over spending priorities. But he gave no hint about any compromises the administration might be willing to make.  [Read More]

Sen. Reid Sets Nov. 16 Adjournment Target

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., on Tuesday set Nov. 16 as the target adjournment date for the first session of the 110th Congress. But he didn’t sound very optimistic about reaching that goal.  [Read More]

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Political Clippings

The Louisville Courier-Journal reports that Kentucky Attorney General Greg Stumbo, a Democrat, is forming an exploratory committee for a possible challenge to Sen. Mitch McConnell, the GOP minority leader. McConnell’s seat is not generally considered to be at risk, even though he is a strong supporter of some of President Bush’s less-popular policies, such as Iraq. Stumbo said he would count on help from national Democratic sources such as the Democratic National Committee and the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee if he decides to enter the race.

The Burlington Free Press reports that Vermont Republicans are having trouble finding a candidate to challenge first-term Rep. Peter Welch, D-Vt. “I hope and assume we’ll have a candidate,” GOP Gov. Jim Douglas said. “I’d be honest with anybody. I think it’s a very challenging race for a Republican or any other contestant.” The daily said Republicans understand this is the best time to unseat Welch, even though he has quickly established himself in Washington.

The Billings Gazette reports that engineer Kirk Bushman said he’s considering running as a Republican to challenge Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., next year, calling himself “a fresh face with fresh perspective.” Another Republican, state Rep. Michael Lange, has already announced he is running, while former state Senate President Bob Keenan also is considering a race. In an interview, Bushman said he hopes to decide by the end of the summer whether to run.

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Today on Governing.com

State and local government news from CQ’s sister publication
INDIANAPOLIS/MARION COUNTY: Protests Greet 65% Income-Tax Hike
LOS ANGELES: Zoning Changes May Bring Mini-Apartments
NEWARK, N.J.: Former Mayor Pleads Not Guilty
PHOENIX: Airport Security Chief Ousted
CALIFORNIA: Prison Population Cap Could Free Thousands
THE NATION: Governors to Press Energy Issues

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Political Trivia

The second of seven children, Rep. Dan Lungren, R-Calif., grew up around politics. He remembers walking precincts for Republican candidates at age 6, when his father was President Richard Nixon’s personal physician. While Lungren originally wanted to follow his dad into medicine, he found out early in college that he wasn’t academically cut out for medical school. “I went to Notre Dame and God sent me a strong message that year called organic chemistry,” Lungren says. (Source: CQ.com Member Profiles)

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Monday, July 23, 2007

CQ Today Midday Update

Highlights from today's news on CQ.com
Midday Update for MONDAY, JULY 23, 2007 – 2:26 P.M.

In This Issue

  • House Democrats Plan to Couple SCHIP Expansion with Medicare Changes
  • Senate Moving Toward Passage of Higher Education Reauthorization
  • White House Threatens Veto of Transportation-HUD Bill
  • House Passes OPIC Reauthorization, With Strings
  • House Passes Tiger, Elephant Conservation Bills
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Today in Washington

The House considers measures under suspension of the rules; considers fiscal 2008 Transportation-HUD appropriations (HR 3074).

The Senate debates Higher Education Act reauthorization bill (S 1642), with roll call votes on amendments beginning at 5:15 p.m.

The President has no public events scheduled.

In Washington,  Robert Novak, syndicated columnist and Fox News contributor, recounts his life and career as chronicled in his memoir, “The Prince of Darkness: 50 Years Reporting in Washington,” 6:30 p.m., National Press Club, 14th and F Sts. NW.

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Top Stories

House Democrats Plan to Couple SCHIP Expansion with Medicare Changes

House Democrats are planning to combine an expansion of children’s health insurance with Medicare changes that include cuts in payments to private insurers who cover millions of seniors in Medicare Advantage plans.  [Read More]

Senate Moving Toward Passage of Higher Education Reauthorization

The Senate was moving Monday toward passage of a five-year reauthorization of the primary law governing federal aid to institutions of higher education and the students who attend them. A final vote was possible as early as day’s end.  [Read More]

White House Threatens Veto of Transportation-HUD Bill

As expected, the administration issued a veto threat Monday against the fiscal 2008 Transportation-Housing spending bill, denouncing its “irresponsible and excessive” spending level.  [Read More]

House Passes OPIC Reauthorization, With Strings

The House passed a bill Monday that would put new strings on a U.S. aid program promoting exports and helping finance investments in developing economies.  [Read More]

House Passes Tiger, Elephant Conservation Bills

The House on Monday passed two measures to reauthorize funding for programs to preserve threatened elephants, rhinoceroses and tigers.  [Read More]

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Political Clippings

CQPolitics.com reports that the ranks of donors giving money to Republican presidential candidates are a little low on the celebrity meter. Unlike the Democrats, whose ties to the entertainment community are well-known, the recently filed lists of GOP contributors has relatively few names familiar from the stage and screen. But the candidates seeking the nomination of the Republican Party have attracted numerous donations from big names in corporate boardrooms.

According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, “DeKalb County CEO Vernon Jones threw himself into the Democratic contest for U.S. Senate on Saturday with searing criticisms of Republican incumbent Saxby Chambliss for his stands on immigration and the war in Iraq.” Jones could have an edge in a primary against former Atlanta television journalist Dale Cardwell, “DeKalb generates more Democratic votes than any other county in the state. But winning a statewide general election has become a challenge for any Democrat.”

The Greenville News reports, “Reflecting the split in Republican ranks, South Carolina’s long-time GOP national committeeman is considering challenging U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham’s renomination in 2008. Walter “Buddy” Witherspoon, a Lexington orthodontist, said this weekend he’s ‘considering’ a run to wrest the nomination from Graham.” Witherspoon “is well known among Christian conservatives and grassroots party members,” and “Graham has been under strong pressure from many of the party’s more conservative members for his support of the failed bipartisan immigration reform bill.”

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Today on Governing.com

State and local government news from CQ’s sister publication
INDIANAPOLIS/MARION COUNTY: Mayor Freezes Hiring, Orders Budget Cuts
MINNEAPOLIS: City Privatizes Parking Decks in $88.2 Million Deal
WASHINGTON, D.C.: Talks on New Soccer Stadium Collapse
NEW JERSEY: State Supreme Court Censures Justice
ILLINOIS | INDIANA: BP Pushed to Reverse Pollution-Dumping Plan
THE NATION: Governments Take on Dangerous Dogs

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Political Trivia

After graduating from Central Connecticut State University, Rep. John B. Larson, D-Conn., taught high school history and coached football for about five years. He left teaching to join an insurance company that he eventually bought. He was elected in 1982 to the state Senate, where he served a dozen years, including a record eight years as president pro tempore, the state’s third-highest office. (Source: CQ.com Member Profiles)

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