- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 10, 2004

SOUTH DAKOTA

Abortion ban likely to become law

PIERRE — Gov. Mike Rounds said yesterday that he backs a bill that would ban most abortions in South Dakota — a measure that could lead to a Supreme Court challenge of Roe v. Wade — but he wants technical corrections before letting it become law.

The Republican governor said his “style-and-form veto” of the bill seeks to change a provision that could ease restrictions on abortions during the time the measure is under consideration in the courts.

If simple majorities in the state House and Senate agree to the technical changes, the legislation automatically becomes law.

WISCONSIN

Police kill assailant at day-care center

MADISON — Police fatally shot a man yesterday after he walked into a downtown day-care center and attacked a worker with a knife.

The man entered the Red Caboose Day Care Center about 9 a.m. and got into a fight with a worker. Police arrived within minutes and confronted him.

No children were hurt, but the day-care worker suffered numerous cuts and was taken to a hospital. His injuries were not considered life threatening. The assailant was not identified, and police said his motive was not clear.

ALABAMA

Governor chooses new attorney general

MONTGOMERY — Gov. Bob Riley has chosen a new attorney general from among his staff. Legal adviser Troy King is replacing Bill Pryor in the $163,428-a-year job as Alabama’s top law enforcement officer.

Mr. Pryor resigned Feb. 20, when President Bush made a recess appointment, granting him a seat on the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

ARIZONA

State Senate approves malpractice suit bill

PHOENIX — The Arizona Senate approved a bill making it more difficult for plaintiffs to sue health care professionals. The measure requires plaintiffs to produce an affidavit from an expert saying they have grounds to sue.

The bill was negotiated by care providers and plaintiffs’ lawyers. It is intended to weed out frivolous medical-malpractice suits. It now goes to the state House of Representatives.

CALIFORNIA

Peterson defense may seek change of venue

REDWOOD CITY — Scott Peterson’s attorneys said yesterday they may ask to move the murder trial a second time, telling a judge that too many prospective jurors have already concluded their client is guilty.

Lawyer Mark Geragos cited an initial look at the 23-page questionnaire that about 400 potential jurors have been filling out since jury selection began last week.

Mr. Geragos said he was considering at least three requests, including asking for a change of venue or asking the judge to reconsider an earlier decision not to select two juries — one for the guilt-or-innocence phase and the other for the penalty phase.

He said the defense also may ask for additional peremptory challenges, which allow one side or the other to dismiss unwanted potential jurors without having to give a reason.

GEORGIA

Senate urges display of Commandments

ATLANTA — A resolution urging city and state governments to display the Ten Commandments passed the state Senate yesterday, joining a host of other socially conservative measures adopted by the chamber this year.

The resolution, sponsored by Sen. Jeff Mullis, Chickamauga Republican, calls such displays “an acknowledgment of God’s sovereignty over civil government” and encourages local leaders to place them in government buildings.

It also calls on Gov. Sonny Perdue to install a similar display at the state Capitol.

“This resolution really should be easy for you,” Mr. Mullis told his fellow senators, who approved the measure 42-8. “You’re either for this or against it.”

HAWAII

Officials locate source of sewage spill

HONOLULU — City officials have located the source of a major sewage spill.

The ruptured 66-inch main responsible for pouring 2 million gallons of raw sewage into Honolulu harbor is 19 feet below ground and feeds into the Sand Islands wastewater-treatment plant.

The spill has been stopped but officials are concerned the sewage could drift toward popular beaches.

ILLINOIS

Study finds coffee may prevent diabetes

CHICAGO — A study done in Finland, the heaviest coffee-drinking country, provides more evidence that the world’s most widely consumed beverage may ward off adult-onset diabetes, researchers said yesterday.

Women there who drank three to four cups of coffee daily had a 29 percent reduced risk for the disease. Among men, the same amount lowered the risk by 27 percent.

The apparent protective effect, the mechanism of which remains a mystery, increased with consumption. Women who downed 10 or more cups a day had nearly an 80 percent lowered risk, while men who drank the same cut their risk by 55 percent.

The findings from the National Public Health Institute in Helsinki are similar to results from other recent studies.

KENTUCKY

Judge dismisses second-grader

LOUISVILLE — A judge threw out a felony case against an 8-year-old boy accused of kicking his teacher.

The boy, a second-grader who stands about 4 feet tall and weighs 60 pounds, was accused of kicking his King Elementary School teacher, Loretta Santos, in November as she attempted to remove him from the classroom for misbehavior.

Miss Santos, who was not injured, declined to comment. Jefferson County schools spokeswoman Lauren Roberts said the teacher decided she didn’t want to press charges, but that her wishes somehow didn’t get communicated to the court before Monday’s hearing.

The boy, whose name was not made public because of his age, suffers from attention-deficit disorder. He was charged under a 2002 law that makes injuring or attempting to injure a school employee a felony.

NEBRASKA

Mayor ‘bans’ shaving in Lexington

LEXINGTON — Lexington Mayor John Fagot has implemented a “ban” on shaving for every man in town older than 21. Those caught clean-shaven without a shaving permit could face being dunked in a horse tank or other benign punishment.

The mayor implemented the lighthearted ban to get the town in the spirit of this summer’s Plum Creek Days, a festival bearing the town’s former name. One of the festival’s traditional highlights is a beard-growing contest.

The not-so-consequential edict is in effect until July 5, the last day of the three-day festival.

WEST VIRGINIA

Governor signs ATV law

CHARLESTON — Calling it “an important first step,” Gov. Bob Wise yesterday signed into law West Virginia’s first all-terrain vehicle regulations, requiring children to wear helmets and take safety courses.

Mr. Wise signed the bill at a Capitol ceremony flanked by legislators and children, including 11-year-old Tanner Adkins of Huntington, who wore a red-white-and-blue helmet while straddling a lime green, child-sized ATV.

Lawmakers struggled through more than seven years of failed debate before adopting a compromise bill last month. Only five states and the District now lack ATV-safety laws.

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