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News briefs, part 1

House Approves `Motor Voter' Bill

The Washington Post

WASHINGTON

The House Thursday passed and sent to the Senate legislation to make it easier to register to vote.

The so-called "motor voter" bill would require most states to allow citizens to register when they apply for driver's licenses and unemployment or welfare benefits. Most states would have to permit registration by mail. States also would be required to register voters at other public facilities such as libraries and schools.

President Clinton promised during the campaign to sign the bill, which Senate plans to consider soon. Sponsors said the bill, which passed 256 to 160 along party lines, would increase voter turnout.

The measure would take effect in 1995. States that must amend their constitutions would have an additional year to implement the new registration programs.

Republican lawmakers argued that the bill's provisions would encourage electoral fraud and impose heavy costs on state and local governments. Rep. William M. Thomas (R-Calif.) predicted the measure would help dead, moved or imaginary voters cast ballots. "Every one of those votes cast dilutes an honest vote," he said. "A number of illegal aliens will wind up with a driver's license and on the voting rolls."

But Rep. Al Swift (D-Wash.), the bill's chief sponsor, said that 28 states with similar registration programs have not reported a rise in voter fraud. "This is a classic example of using states as a laboratory ... . Most Americans today can register by post card," he said. "The fraud issue that is being raised here today is the biggest fraud in this debate."

Swift also argued that GOP critics exaggerated the administrative costs imposed on states and local governments. The federal government would absorb $4 million to $5 million in costs to lower postage costs on voter registration cards.

Baseball Punishes Reds Owner For Racial, Ethnic Slurs

Los Angeles Times

CHICAGO

Baseball's governing executive council made it official on Wednesday, culminating an investigation into Marge Schott's racial and ethnic slurs by suspending the Cincinnati Reds owner for one year.

The council, in a statement signed by the 10 members, also:

* Reprimanded and censured Schott "in the strongest terms'' for her use of "racially and ethnically insensitive language and "sternly warned her'' against continuing that practice.

* Directed her to attend and complete multicultural training programs to be conducted by an organization acceptable to the executive council.

*<\f>Fined her $25,000.

If Schott complies with all of the terms and conditions of the sanctions, the suspension, which starts March 1, may be lifted on Nov. 1. If reinstated, she will be on probation until Feb. 28, 1994.

Schott did not attend the executive council meeting at which the decision was finalized, but her attorney, Robert Bennett of Washington, said she has agreed to the terms and will not sue, though "she does not agree with the views and opinions'' contained in the executive council conclusion.

"She is upset and depressed, though I don't mean that in a clinical sense, because she believes she has been singled out,'' Bennett said. "She believes that many in baseball, from A to Z, have used similar language, and she has acknowledged and apologized for using that language.''

Weather

Turning Colder with Snowstorm Developing Offshore

By Michael C. Morgan
Staff Meteorologist

Following the passage of a cold front, a new arctic airmass willoverspread the area early Saturday. As the colder air moves in, snow showers and snow squalls are possible. The front will slow down as it moves offshore on Saturday as weather disturbances over the Gulf of Mexico and Midwest move toward the coast. Where, when, and if these disturbances reach the front will determine if we get a major snowstorm this weekend or just lots of clouds and a few snow showers. The area which stands the best shot at significant snow is the Cape. In any case, temperatures this weekend in all of New England will be cold.

This afternoon: Partly cloudy and milder. High around 40 (4 C). Winds southwest 10-15 mph (6-9 kph).

Tonight: Variably cloudy and breezy. Snow showers devlopeint towards dawn with the frontal passage. Lows around 25 (-4 C). Winds becoming north-northwest 20-30 mph (12-18 kph).

Saturday. Partly sunny and cold with snow showers in the morning. Temperatures falling through the day from the upper 20's (<\!->2 C) early to the teens by dark. Snow developing on the Cape after dark may spread northwestward. High 28 (-2 C). Low 13 (-10 C). Winds northeast 15-25 mph (9-15 kph).

Sunday: Windy and cold with any snow ending. High 18-24 (<\!->8 to -4 C). Low 5-10 (-15 to -24 C). Winds northwest 15-25 mph (9-15 kph).