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In brief: Ohio man accused of terror plot

From wire reports

COLUMBUS, Ohio – An Ohio man traveled to Syria and trained alongside terrorists, then returned to the U.S. with plans to attack a military base or a prison, according to a federal indictment announced Thursday.

Abdirahman Sheik Mohamud, a U.S. citizen originally from Somalia, wanted to “kill three or four American soldiers execution style,” according to the indictment. Attacking the prison was part of a backup plan if that didn’t work, the charges said.

Mohamud, 23, of Columbus, was charged with supporting terrorism, supporting the same terrorist group and making a false statement involving international terrorism when he allegedly lied to an Ohio FBI agent by saying he was in Istanbul when authorities say he was in Syria.

Mohamud, who according to the government became a U.S. citizen in February 2014, faces up to 38 years in prison if convicted.

Kentucky judge rejects gay marriage ban

FRANKFORT, Ky. – A Kentucky judge has ruled in favor of two same-sex couples who were denied marriage licenses but put the ruling on hold until the U.S. Supreme Court considers a similar challenge to gay marriage bans.

Franklin County Circuit Judge Thomas Wingate on Thursday ruled that Kentucky’s ban on same-sex marriage violates the constitutional right to equal protection.

Oral arguments on challenges to gay marriage bans in Kentucky and three other states are scheduled before the Supreme Court on April 28.

A federal district judge in Louisville struck down the state’s gay marriage ban last year. His ruling was overturned by a 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals decision, paving the way for the Supreme Court appeal.

The case before Wingate involved two Lexington couples who were denied marriage licenses by the Fayette County clerk in 2013.

Scott says he’ll sue feds for hospital funds

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Florida Gov. Rick Scott said Thursday he is suing the Obama administration for withholding federal money for hospitals that serve the poor, saying they are doing so because the state won’t expand Medicaid.

The hospital funds, known as the low-income pool, give federal money to hospitals that serve large numbers of uninsured and Medicaid patients.

Federal health officials have warned states for more than a year the program would end in June because the president’s health law was intended to provide insurance to more people, meaning the hospitals would have more paying customers. But the Supreme Court decision allowing states to decide whether or not to expand Medicaid has complicated the hospital funds.

That 2012 ruling bars the federal government from coercing states into expanding Medicaid. Yet, that’s what the Republican governor says the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services is doing because the agency insists that the hospital funds and Medicaid expansion should be part of the same discussion.

House bills target estate, sales taxes

WASHINGTON – The House voted Thursday to repeal the federal tax on estates, a politically volatile issue that affects few inheritances.

Republicans refer to it as the “death tax.” They say it prevents small-business owners and family farmers from passing businesses on to their heirs.

Democrats say repealing the tax is a giveaway to the rich, since the only families that pay it have many millions in assets. The bill now goes to the Senate.

The House also passed a bill to make permanent a deduction for state and local sales taxes that expired at the beginning of the year.

The deduction is one of dozens of temporary tax breaks that are routinely extended every year or two. House Republicans are working to make selected ones permanent.

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