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Nation in brief: Corzine’s SUV was going 91 mph

Wed., April 18, 2007

The sport utility vehicle carrying Gov. Jon Corzine was traveling about 91 mph moments before it crashed, the superintendent of state police said Tuesday.

The governor was critically injured when the vehicle crashed into a guardrail on the Garden State Parkway just north of Atlantic City last week. He apparently was not wearing his seat belt as he rode in the front passenger’s seat.

The speed limit along that stretch of the parkway is 65 mph.

The state-trooper-driven SUV was in the left lane with its emergency lights flashing when a pickup tried to get out of its way. Instead, it set off a chain reaction that resulted in the crash.

Corzine broke his left thighbone, 11 ribs, collarbone and chest bone. He also fractured a vertebra in his lower back. He remained in critical but stable condition Tuesday.


Senate tightens ‘earmarks’ rules

Under pressure from GOP conservatives, the chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee announced new rules Tuesday to overhaul the way lawmakers send taxpayer dollars to their districts and states.

The move by Appropriations Chairman Robert Byrd, D-W.Va., came as conservatives including Jim DeMint, R-S.C., and Tom Coburn, R-Okla., increased the pressure to change the much-criticized, often secretive way in which “earmarks” are inserted into appropriations legislation.

The rules would require all earmarks – the footnotes in bills that lawmakers use to deliver federal bacon to their states – be clearly identified in documents accompanying appropriations bills. The requesting senator, the recipient of the earmark and its purpose would have to be made public and posted on the Internet.

Madison, Wis.

Lawmakers OK free beer samples

Both chambers of the Wisconsin Legislature unanimously gave key approval Tuesday to allow grocery and liquor stores to hand out beer samples up to 6 ounces to a person of legal drinking age.

“It’s a good bill. It’s a Wisconsin bill. It’s a beer bill,” said Republican Rep. Scott Newcomer one of the measure’s main sponsors.

Current state law allows wineries to offer up to 6 ounces of free samples.

Pete Marino, a spokesman for Miller Brewing Co., which has been pushing the bill, said brewers should have the same chance to get the public to taste their products as wine makers.

Final passage of the bill won’t come until next week at the earliest. Gov. Jim Doyle then would have to sign it into law.


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