Bill proposes pink license tags for sex offenders

An Ohio lawmaker doesn’t think that sexual offenders should bear a scarlet letter — just a bright pink license plate.

State Rep. Michael DeBose has proposed legislation that would clearly label convicted sexual offenders’ cars, allowing parents and children to be on the alert for predators lurking near schools or playgrounds.

Ohio already identifies some people convicted of drunken driving with yellow license plates, and the Cleveland Democrat said his proposal is an extension of existing law.

The bill would require those convicted of serious sex crimes to display a pink license plate with red letters, DeBose said. After five years of good behavior, a sexual offender could seek a hearing and apply for a generic license tag.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio opposes the bill, saying it would put a target on offenders’ backs, preventing them from becoming productive after serving their sentences.

New York

Clinton launches fight against childhood obesity

Former President Clinton announced Tuesday the launch of a 10-year initiative to combat childhood obesity, saying “we’ve got to change the eating habits of America’s young people.”

Joined by Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, who also has battled a weight problem, Clinton said he became concerned in the subject after undergoing heart bypass surgery last year.

Huckabee, 49, who once weighed more than 280 pounds and lost 105 pounds in one year, said he was jolted into changing his eating habits after his doctor told him: “If you don’t change your lifestyle, you’re in the last decade of your life.”


Teens get jail sentence for setting dog on fire

Two teenagers pleaded guilty Tuesday to setting a dachshund on fire and were sentenced to jail and to clean out kennels.

State District Judge Jeff Cox sentenced Ashley Cochran, 18, to one year in jail for pouring lighter fluid on the dog and igniting it. The other boy, Christopher Myers, also 18, was sentenced to six months for not stopping the attack.

After completing their jail time, they will have to perform 500 hours of community service at an animal shelter, including cleaning out kennels.

Authorities said the 4-year-old dog, named Coco, was set on fire last November. The dog ran away and has never been found.


Lynndie England’s lawyers seek leniency

Defense lawyers sought leniency for Pfc. Lynndie England at a hearing Tuesday to determine her punishment in the Abu Ghraib prison abuse scandal, with a psychologist testifying that the reservist was oxygen-deprived at birth, speech impaired and had trouble learning to read.

West Virginia school psychologist Dr. Thomas Denne — the first defense witness — said England’s learning disabilities were identified when she was a kindergartner — and though she made progress in school, she continued needing special help.

“I knew I was going to know Lynndie England for the rest of my life,” Denne said.

A military jury of five men and one woman was seated earlier Tuesday to make a sentencing recommendation for England, 22, who pleaded guilty Monday to seven counts of mistreating prisoners.