National briefs (10/4/13)

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Texas legislator in governor bid

FORT WORTH, Texas -- State Sen. Wendy Davis, whose filibuster of new abortion curbs drew national attention earlier this year, kicked off a bid Thursday to become the first Democrat to win the governor's office in Texas since 1990.

Ms. Davis, 50, kicked off her campaign at a rally in the suburban Fort Worth civic center where she graduated high school.

The lawmaker from Fort Worth grabbed a national spotlight in June as she stood on the Senate floor to oppose a measure backed by Republican Gov. Rick Perry. Ms. Davis spoke almost nonstop for half a day to block a vote on the bill.

Driver's licenses for aliens

SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- California Gov. Jerry Brown signed legislation Thursday granting driver's licenses to undocumented immigrants, reversing his position on an issue legislative Democrats have pressed for years.

The legislation is the latest in a series of victories for undocumented immigrants in California. Mr. Brown, a Democrat, signed legislation in 2011 allowing undocumented immigrant college students to receive public financial aid, and he approved a measure last year making driver's licenses available to some undocumented immigrants who came to the United States as children and are allowed to work here under federal rules.

Plea bargain in graft case

LOS ANGELES -- Robert Rizzo, the city administrator who became a national symbol for public corruption for alleged graft in the small Los Angeles-area city of Bell, pleaded no contest to 69 charges, prosecutors said Thursday.

The Los Angeles County district attorney, Jackie Lacey, said in a statement that Rizzo had agreed to serve 10 to 12 years in state prison.

Biker road rage reaction

NEW YORK -- The passengers who were in the SUV that was surrounded by motorcyclists in Manhattan over the weekend spoke out for the first time Thursday, saying they were sorry that one of the bikers was injured but insisting the family had acted properly because the riders were afraid for their lives.

Alexian Lien, 33, of New York City, his wife and their 2-year-old child were out on drive in their black Range Rover on Sunday when their vehicle became enmeshed in a confrontation with dozens of motorcyclists on the West Side Highway and later on a surface street. At least one motorcyclist was seriously injured and remains hospitalized. Mr. Lien was taken from the vehicle and beaten by other motorcyclists.

BP wins payout review

NEW ORLEANS -- BP persuaded an appeals court to order a re-examination of key terms of the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil-spill settlement that the company said could have cost it billions of dollars in improper payouts.

The U.S. Court of Appeals on Wednesday sent the dispute back to the trial judge for further consideration. The appellate panel also ordered U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier to review his interpretation of some of the accord's terms.

Also in the nation ...

A small plane made an emergency landing Thursday on a busy street in San Jose, Calif., surprising morning commuters but touching down and stopping without injuring anyone. ... With five weeks until Election Day, the race for New York City mayor is shaping up to be a landslide, with Bill de Blasio holding a 50-point lead over his Republican opponent, Joseph Lhota, in a poll released Thursday by Quinnipiac University.

-- Compiled from news services

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