By Kim Palmer CLEVELAND (Reuters) - More than 400,000 Ohioans adopted between 1964 and 1996 will be given access from Friday to their birth certificates with the names of their biological parents. The bi-partisan Senate Bill 23, passed by the state legislature in 2013, closed a loophole in Ohio law that allowed adoptees born after 1963 and before Sept. 18, 1996 access to birth records, but denied those records for those born in the 32 years in between. "A judge could open the records for 'good cause' like severe medical need but very rarely did," Betsie Norris, executive director Adoption Network Cleveland said. "For a long time adoption in our country was about secrecy and thought of as shameful." Ohio was the ninth state to open adoption records as of 2013, Norris said.
SEATTLE (AP) — A Washington man who posted Facebook comments threatening a former Ferguson, Missouri, police officer will avoid prison but has been ordered to stay off social media sites in a case that is part of a broader legal debate about when social media rants go beyond hyperbole and become a crime.
By Jon Herskovitz AUSTIN, Texas (Reuters) - The Texas Senate on Thursday approved a measure to allow licensed handguns on college campuses, part of a series of bills being considered that would expand gun rights. In a vote along party lines, the state Senate approved the bill, which will be sent to the House. "My concern is to expand freedom of the most trustworthy citizens to access property they as citizens of this state own," said Senator Brian Birdwell, a Republican sponsor of the legislation. "There is great concern that the presence of handguns, even if limited to licensed individuals age 21 or older, will lead to an increase in both accidental shootings and self-inflicted wounds," University of Texas System Chancellor William McRaven wrote to lawmakers this year.
By Jon Herskovitz AUSTIN, Texas (Reuters) - The State Bar of Texas has sought punishment for the prosecutor in a 1992 trial who is suspected of withholding evidence that could have cleared a man convicted of setting a fire that killed his three daughters and was later executed. Death penalty opponents have said Texas may have executed an innocent man when it sent Cameron Todd Willingham to the death chamber in 2004 after he was convicted of murder in the 1991 house fire, largely on the testimony of a prison informant who told a jury that Willingham had confessed to the crime. The Texas Bar Association filed a petition this month with a district court to discipline the prosecutor in the case, John Jackson, who could be disbarred.
A Maryland dump truck driver who allegedly attacked two police officers with his vehicle has been ruled not competent to stand trial, police said on Thursday. The suspect, Gene Brandon Jr., 31, of Aquasco, Maryland, was charged with attempted murder for allegedly ramming his vehicle into Prince George's County Police Department squad cars in January. "Suspect in at murder of 2 of our officers found incompetent to stand trial," the department said on its Twitter feed.
WASHINGTON (AP) — The FBI considers Evgeniy Bogachev one of the world's most prolific and brilliant cyber criminals, slapping his photos — bald, beefy-faced and smiling faintly — on "Wanted" fliers posted online. The Russian would be an ideal target for prosecution — if only the Justice Department could find him.
PIERRE, S.D. (AP) — The plastic red hotel will still ruin you, but instead of advancing to Boardwalk to face your demise, you'll take a long walk off a short Pierre.
WASHINGTON (AP) — An uncharacteristic joint effort by House Speaker John Boehner and his usual nemesis, Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, to resolve a gnawing problem about how Medicare pays doctors underscores the political victories each sees in finally sweeping the issue off the deck — if they can.
ATLANTA (AP) — Jurors have begun deliberations in the trial of a dozen former Atlanta Public Schools educators accused of participating in a test cheating conspiracy.
RANCHO SANTA MARGARITA, Calif. (AP) — Seven elementary-age children are recovering from burns sustained when a science project went awry during an after-school program in Southern California.
By Jonathan Stempel NEW YORK (Reuters) - A federal judge on Thursday approved settlements for 78 cleanup workers who claimed to have suffered respiratory and gastrointestinal illnesses while working in buildings near the World Trade Center site after the Sept. 11, 2011 attacks. The workers, whose settlement terms were not made public, are among roughly 1,000 to pursue damages claims in Manhattan federal court for having cleaned more than 100 privately-owned buildings in downtown Manhattan. About one-third of the workers have settled, and another 400 to 500 could follow within a month, according to Paul Napoli, a lawyer for the 78 settling workers. U.S. District Judge Alvin Hellerstein in Manhattan, who oversees much of the Sept. 11 litigation, approved the latest settlements.
CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — A New Hampshire woman who fled to a Florida amusement park with her boyfriend after allowing him to severely beat her 3-year-old son has been granted parole.
NEW YORK (AP) — Works of fine art collected by Hollywood film moguls Samuel Goldwyn and his son are going to auction in a series of sales in New York City beginning in May, Sotheby's announced Thursday.
An overturned tractor-trailer caused traffic trouble Thursday morning, more than 12 hours after it crashed on the Vine Street Expressway.
WASHINGTON (AP) — The nation's wild Jekyll-Hyde winter will likely dictate what weather worries Americans have this spring.
A dump truck lost control and crashed and overturned in Millville, New Jersey Thursday morning.
Meteorologist David Murphy says a mix of snow and rain arrives Friday morning and continues into the evening.
WASHINGTON (AP) — Defying a veto threat by President Barack Obama, the Republican-controlled Congress voted to kill a pending National Labor Relations Board rule intended to streamline union elections.
ATLANTA (AP) — An Atlanta-area police officer who fatally shot an unarmed naked man last week was well regarded by his superiors and had no significant disciplinary problems prior to the shooting, according to personnel records obtained by The Associated Press.
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Nearly 1 million taxpayers have taken a new quiz used by the state to catch phony income-tax returns and most have passed it, the tax commissioner says.