WASHINGTON — The House on Friday unanimously passed bipartisan legislation that would allow consumers to “unlock” their cellphones when switching providers.
The chamber’s approval comes a week after the Senate passed the bill, so it advances to the president’s desk with a few working days left before Congress’ August break. President Barack Obama applauded Congress for passing the pro-consumer legislation and is expected to sign the act into law.
Currently, most contract phones are locked to the cellular provider that sells them, and consumers must obtain permission to unlock phones — even after the phones are paid off and contracts have expired. Consequently, consumers often need to buy a new phone if they want to switch to a different carrier.
Marriage ban overturned
MIAMI — A Florida judge on Friday overturned the state’s ban on same-sex marriage in a ruling that applies to Miami-Dade County, agreeing with a judge in another county who made a similar ruling last week. Still, no marriage licenses will be issued for gay couples in either county any time soon to allow for appeals.
The ruling by Circuit Judge Sarah Zabel mirrors the decision made earlier by Monroe County Circuit Judge Luis Garcia. Both found the constitutional amendment approved by Florida voters in 2008 discriminates against gay people. They said it violates their right to equal protection under the law guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution’s 14th Amendment.
Arrest in heat death
WICHITA, Kan. — A foster parent for a 10-month-old Kansas girl who died after being left in a car in sweltering heat for more than two hours has been arrested on suspicion of aggravated child endangerment, police said Friday.
The man had picked up the child at day care and returned to his home at about 4 p.m. on Thursday with the infant and a 5-year-old foster child. The man and the older child went into the home without realizing the baby was still in the car, said Lt. Dan East of the Wichita police.
The man, 29, later saw something on TV that reminded him of the baby, Lt. East said. Police were called at 6:40 p.m. and the child was pronounced dead at the scene. Police withheld the man's name because he has not been charged, Lt. East said. The girl has also not been publicly identified. Cause of death is pending an autopsy, he said.
The temperature in Wichita was 89 degrees at the time the girl was in the car, according to the National Weather Service.
Kuwaiti may go free
WASHINGTON — A military board has cleared Fawzi Odah, a 37-year-old Kuwaiti whose father worked with U.S. troops during the 1991 Gulf War, for release from the U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
The Periodic Review Board found earlier this month that Mr. Odah was a low-level al-Qaida member who would not constitute a threat. Its decision was announced Friday. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel must still approve the decision and notify Congress before Mr. Odah can be sent home. He was captured in Afghanistan near the Tora Bora Mountains in late 2001 by a Pakistani militia.
Paul courts blacks
CINCINNATI — Sen. Rand Paul on Friday declared his support for a wide range of criminal justice and voting rights reforms in his latest effort to help improve his and the Republican Party’s reputation with black voters.
Mr. Paul’s appearance at a conference of the Urban League capped a month in which the junior senator from Kentucky — a top contender for the party’s presidential nomination in 2016 — has been aggressively courting black and Democratic backing for his ideas.
— Compiled from news services