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Bad Policy Call

“I never experienced the outcry from the public that I heard on this bill… this was a bad policy call on our part.”

—Virginia Senator R. Edward Houck (D-Spotsylvania), sponsor of the bill that repealed bad driving fees that went into effect for Virginians barely six months ago. The fees, which were tacked onto a transportation bill last year, were as high as $3,000 for some drivers.

Competitive Market

“In a competitive market, companies are free to incorporate their own target profit provisions into their proposed rates; price competition is expected to exert pressure on rates and to provide some control on target profit levels. Differences are to be expected between profit provisions developed for an entire industry in a fixed-and-established system and those developed for individual companies in a competitive market.”

—Massachusetts Insurance Commissioner Nonnie Burnes in rejecting challenges to several auto insurers’ rates for 2008, when the state drops its system of state-set rates for one which gives insurers more pricing freedom.

Deer Shots

“I could come out on my deck and get shot.”

—Sharon McClenton of West Orange, N.J., commenting on the Ocean State’s use of marksmen to gun down deer in some suburbs. Officials say the skyrocketing deer population in the state can harm nearby forests, spread Lyme disease and pose a significant hazard for drivers. The sharpshooters have been brought in to thin the herds.

Video Denial

“We did then, and still do, vehemently deny this allegation which is disproved by the video itself.”

—Jay Howell, general manager of television station WPRI-TV in R.I., confirming a $30 million settlement with victims of The Station nightclub fire, a 2003 blaze that killed 100 people in West Warwick. The case leading to the settlement accused a cameraman – who was inside filming a video on public safety – of impeding the crowd’s exit through the front door, where many burned bodies were found.

Big Dig

“They lost money because of failures that occurred on their watch.”

—U.S. Attorney Michael J. Sullivan, commenting on a $458 million settlement with Big Dig construction firm Bechtel/Parsons Brinckerhoff over civil and criminal penalties stemming from design failures that, among other things, resulted in the 2006 roof collapse that killed a Massachusetts woman. The settlement is more than three times the estimated $150 million profit the firm made on the project.

Domestic Contracts

“Dignified treatment is what we need.”

—Hermina Servat of the immigrant advocacy group Casa de Maryland, commenting on a proposal by lawmakers in Montgomery County, Md. that would require domestic workers and their employers to sign contracts ensuring the workers receive fair wages, overtime and other protections against abuse. The legislation would be the first of its kind in the nation.


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