On the eve of George Washington's 275 th birthday, Maryland announced it had purchased Washington's handwritten notes for a groundbreaking speech he gave to the Continental Congress, in which he resigned as head of the army that won the American Revolutionary War. The newly acquired pages will be displayed in the State House in Annapolis, where Washington delivered the speech, The Washington Post reports.
Meanwhile, Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine (D) indicated he would sign a measure that would allow the sale of whiskey at Washington's Mount Vernon home, according to the The Washington Times . Washington became the nation's largest distiller of the spirit after he left the presidency. The Wall Street Journal notes Washington put down a revolt started by whiskey distillers during his presidency but also used alcohol to keep morale up in the army and to earn voters' support during his legislative campaigns.
A bill before the Oregon Legislature aims to rid the state of abandoned shopping carts, the (Salem) Statesman Journal reports. If the measure becomes law, retailers would face fines if they did not retrieve a cart once it's reported to a toll-free phone line. An industry official told the paper that 3,500 carts - each costing between $100 and $300 - are taken from Salem and Portland area retailers every week.
Rhode Island Gov. Don Carcieri (R) has an idea for saving the state money: closing shop on days when most people don't want to work anyway. According to The Providence Journal , the governor wants non-essential services stopped on seven days this year, including Good Friday, the day after Thanksgiving and the Friday before Memorial Day. Unions are balking at the unpaid time-off, with one leader calling it "mean-spirited."
Minnesota and New Hampshire are mulling creative ways to generate more cash. The St. Paul Pioneer Press reports that a Minnesota lawmaker wants people to pay more for their nips and tucks by extending Minnesota's 6.5 percent sales tax to elective cosmetic surgery. Only New Jersey levies a sales tax on cosmetic procedures. Meanwhile, in New Hampshire, Gov. John Lynch (D) wants to auction 50 moose-hunting permits a year, hoping to garner as much as $5,000 a pop, the Concord Monitor reports.
The only Washington state senator to vote against a bill replacing the words "fireman" and "policeman" with the gender-neutral terms "firefighter" and "police officer" was a woman, The (Tacoma) News Tribune points out. Sen. Val Stevens (R) told the paper the measure was "silliness" because the state didn't need "any more politically correct items."
Modern-day George McFlys beware: West Virginia's considering upping the penalties for Peeping Toms to include possible prison time, according to The Register-Herald . The state senator sponsoring the measure says voyeurism is becoming even more serious an issue because of the advancement of technology. "All of a sudden, people are taking nude pictures and they're on the World Wide Web," he said.
And at least one statehouse has made it the big screen. A documentary about the 2004 session of the Idaho Legislature was recently shown at the Berlin International Film Festival, giving audiences outside the United States a look at democracy at work in a state capital, The Idaho Statesman reported.
Looking forward: While in Washington, D.C., governors will take time from the National Governors Association meeting to schmooze and pontificate. California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) will tout his health care and global warming initiatives while Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano (D) will tackle immigration in separate speeches at the National Press Club . Meanwhile Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) will receive an award from the American Football Coaches Association and FBI Child Identification Program for his work to encourage parents to record their child's fingerprints, DNA and physical characteristics that police can use if the child goes missing.