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Campus Notebook: Hit and Run

An off-duty Capitol Police officer remains in critical condition after being injured in a hit-and-run near his Prince George’s County, Md., home late Saturday night.

Capitol Police Officer Aidan Sims, 22, was hit by a car in the 11400 block of Kedleston Road in Glenn Dale, Md., at about 11:30 p.m. Saturday night.

Sims was conscious when officers arrived at the scene but had suffered trauma to the head, Prince George’s County Police Department spokesman Cpl. Stephen Pacheco said.

The driver, whose name has not been released, fled the scene but was located and arrested a few blocks away, Pacheco said.

There were several witnesses to the accident, including members of Sims’ family, Pacheco said.

Capitol Police spokeswoman Sgt. Kimberly Schneider confirmed that Sims lives in the neighborhood where the accident took place.

Sims, who is assigned to the Senate Division and has been with the force since July 2007, is being treated for his injuries in the Intensive Care Unit at Prince George’s Hospital Center.

A Quicker Digitization. The House legislative branch spending bill is set to shorten by more than half the time that it would take to digitize the the Library of Congress’ “talking books” for the blind.

The $3.4 billion bill, which was set to be marked up by the House Appropriations Subcommittee on the Legislative Branch on Monday evening, should lead to the completion of the Library’s digitization program by Sept. 30, 2010.

“This moves it above and beyond what even the National Federation for the Blind was asking for,” said Jonathan Beeton, a spokesman for subcommittee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.), referring to the bill’s $34.5 million appropriation for the digitization project.

The bill, which does not include funding for the Senate, also provides what is expected to be the final funding tranche for the Capitol Visitor Center, now projected to cost $620 million.

“No one is happy about how much the original cost of this project ballooned,” Wasserman Schultz said in a

statement released before the evening markup. “However, we can take pride in closing out construction $2 million below the Architect’s cost estimate — a significant accomplishment and something hard to imagine just a year and a half ago.”

Beeton said the full Appropriations Committee is expected to take up the subcommittee bill sometime after the July Fourth break.

By press time Monday, the subcommittee markup had not yet begun.

A Podium Lift. House Democratic and Republican leaders announced plans to install new lifts this year enabling disabled Members to access the House podium and preside over the chamber.

“Our commitment to a barrier-free workplace sends an invaluable message to all Americans that the House will lead by example,” Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said.

“Making the Speaker’s rostrum more accessible is an important symbol of our understanding that we must ask Americans to do as we do, not just as we say,” House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) said.

Rep. James Langevin (D-R.I.), a quadriplegic who uses a wheelchair, praised the leaders for improving the podium so that any Member “may have the honor of presiding over the U.S. House of Representatives.”

“I have long said that I may be the first quadriplegic in Congress, but I certainly won’t be the last, and I know this change will benefit many in the future,” he said.

Pelosi made the announcement as the House is set to take up a bill that would effectively overturn a recent Supreme Court decision limiting the Americans with Disabilities Act.

T.R. Goldman and Steven T. Dennis contributed to this report.

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