Arrow-right Camera


Nation in brief: Vitter may testify in prostitution case

Louisiana Sen. David Vitter may be called to testify on behalf of a woman accused of running an upscale Washington prostitution service, attorneys said Monday at the opening of trial.

The Republican senator was among several possible witnesses identified Monday in the racketeering and money laundering case against Deborah Palfrey.

Prosecutors said they planned to call about a dozen former escorts and several clients.

Vitter, a Republican senator in his first term, has acknowledged being involved with Palfrey’s escort service. But after issuing brief statements apologizing for “a very serious sin,” he has ducked follow-up questions. At trial, he would not have that luxury.

Trenton, N.J.

Companies must offer more leave

New Jersey moved Monday to become the third state to require companies to offer six weeks of paid leave to workers wishing to care for a new child or sick relative.

The state Senate voted 21-15 to approve the bill that would offer up to six weeks paid leave. The Assembly approved the Democratic plan last month and Democratic Gov. Jon S. Corzine said he’ll sign it soon.

Under the plan, which is backed heavily by organized labor and opposed by Republicans and business groups, parents could take paid leave anytime in the first year after a child’s birth or adoption.

Workers would be allowed to take paid leave to care for a sick relative receiving inpatient care in a medical care facility or under continuing supervision from a health care provider. A health provider could also certify a sick relative needs help at home.

The program would be paid for through a payroll deduction that legislative officials estimate would cost workers $33 per year. Workers who take leave would get two-thirds of their salary, up to $524 per week, with an estimated average weekly benefit of $415.