State changes course on busing mentally ill

CARSON CITY - In a dramatic change to its controversial discharge practices, Nevada mental-health officials no longer will send state psychiatric patients alone on buses to cities across the country, officials said Wednesday.

Effective immediately, a chaperone will accompany any mental patient leaving state facilities "for whom the state is paying transportation costs" to points outside of Nevada, said Mary Woods of the Nevada Department of Health and Human Services. Family members, legal guardians or state employees could qualify, Woods said.

The policy change was announced as the state and its primary inpatient facility for the mentally ill, Rawson-Neal Psychiatric Hospital in Las Vegas, face allegations of "patient dumping" stemming from a report in The Sacramento Bee.

Rhode Island

OK on gay marriage is all but a certainty

PROVIDENCE - Rhode Island is on a path to becoming the 10th state to allow gay and lesbian couples to marry after a landmark vote in the state's Senate on Wednesday.

The Senate passed gay-marriage legislation by a comfortable 26-12 margin, after a House vote of approval in January. The bill must now return to the House for a largely procedural vote, likely next week, but the celebration began Wednesday.

Hundreds of people filled the Statehouse with cheers after the vote. The first gay marriages could take place Aug. 1.


Fuel barges explode, catch fire in Mobile

MOBILE - Firefighters from Mobile crews responded Wednesday to explosions and a fire on two fuel barges in the Mobile River.

Mobile Fire and Rescue officials tweeted that two natural gas barges exploded and three people were hospitalized. Information on the extent of their injuries was not immediately available.

North Dakota

Fired TV reporter will hit red carpet

BISMARCK - A news anchor whose profanity-laced TV debut got him fired after one broadcast is already getting job offers.

A.J. Clemente's first stint as an anchor at KFYR-TV in Bismarck on Sunday night was also his last after he uttered two obscenities just as cameras began to roll. He was fired Monday.

By Wednesday, he was making appearances on national talk shows. On "Live

With Kelly and Michael," hosts Kelly Ripa and Michael Strahan offered Clemente a job interviewing celebrities at the premiere of Pierce Brosnan's "Love Is All You Need."

A wide-eyed Clemente agreed.


Abduction suspect captured in Mexico

LOS ANGELES - A fugitive charged with abducting and sexually assaulting a 10-year-old Los Angeles girl was returned to the U.S. Wednesday after being arrested in a Mexican village where he'd checked himself into a rehabilitation facility under a fake name, authorities said.

Tobias Summers, 30, was being brought to Los Angeles to face 37 felony charges, including numerous sexual assault counts, the FBI said.

Wire reports