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In brief: Senate approves pipeline measure

WASHINGTON – A bill to toughen federal safety regulation of oil and gas pipelines passed the Senate late Monday only a few hours after Republican Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky dropped his opposition to the measure.

The bill is an attempt to close gaps in federal safety regulations exposed by a deadly gas pipeline rupture near San Francisco last year, as well as a spate of other recent gas explosions and oil pipeline spills. It would authorize more federal safety inspectors, increase penalties for violations and require pipeline companies verify their records on pipelines’ physical and operational characteristics and establish maximum operating pressures based on the verified information.

The bill was approved under unanimous consent procedures with no roll call vote or debate after Paul abruptly dropped his hold on the measure. On Monday, Paul said in a statement that he had dropped his opposition because the bill’s sponsors had agreed to incorporate an amendment regarding safety testing of older pipelines.

Struggling Nevada is GOP debate site

LAS VEGAS – The 2012 Republican presidential campaign heads West, as GOP rivals will debate and aim their campaigns at wary voters worn down by one of the nation’s most enduring economic slumps.

The two-hour debate at the Venetian Hotel Resort Casino in Las Vegas will be televised nationally by CNN, moderated by Anderson Cooper, and will begin at 5 p.m. PDT. On Wednesday, some GOP candidates are scheduled to speak to a convention of Republican activists from all over the West.

Police say child drove dad to store

BROWNSTOWN TOWNSHIP, Mich. – A Detroit-area man had his 9-year-old daughter drive him to the store because he had apparently been drinking, police said Monday, and surveillance video from a gas station shows him telling a clerk that his daughter was his “designated driver.”

Brownstown Township Detective Lt. Robert Grant said the girl was sitting behind the wheel in a child’s booster seat before 3 a.m. on Oct. 8, when an officer opened the driver’s side door of the full-sized panel van her father uses for work. He said she was surprised when police pulled her over.

She said to the officer, “What did you stop me for? I was driving good,” Grant told the Detroit Free Press and the Detroit News.

The father, who told officers he was teaching his daughter to drive, was arrested and refused a Breathalyzer test, Grant said.

He was charged with second- and fourth-degree child abuse during an Oct. 10 arraignment. He was ordered to have no contact with his daughter.


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