A formal rebuke for Gov. Sanford

COLUMBIA, S.C. - South Carolina lawmakers voted yesterday to formally rebuke Gov. Mark Sanford, again sparing him from impeachment over secret trips to see his Argentine mistress and his use of state planes.

The House Judiciary Committee unanimously agreed to censure the governor for bringing "ridicule, dishonor, disgrace and shame" to the state. Though scathing, the rebuke has no practical effect on Sanford's ability to govern for the 13 months that remain in his term.

Members agreed with a subcommittee decision last week that Sanford's missteps did not warrant his removal from office. Despite pleas from some members to let the full House consider impeachment, the Judiciary Committee voted it down, 18-6.

- AP

N.Y.C. board OKs school transit cuts

NEW YORK - The board of the nation's largest transit agency reluctantly approved a 2010 budget yesterday that would cut bus and subway service and leave New York City children without free rides to public schools.

Several members of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority board said that while they were legally required to pass a balanced budget before the end of the year, they would not vote for many of the specific cuts when they come up for a vote later.

The MTA is facing a $383 million budget gap due largely to a cut in state aid and lower-than-expected revenues from a payroll tax that was enacted to fund public transportation.

Transit advocates and elected officials urged the board to consider alternatives to the service cuts, including using federal stimulus money to run trains and buses.

- AP

Corpse in home months after death

WILMINGTON, N.C. - Relatives of an elderly North Carolina woman kept her corpse in their home for months, until authorities discovered the woman's body this week, officials said yesterday.

County District Attorney Benjamin R. David said a family member would be charged with failure to report the death of Blanche Matilda Roth. Officials said Roth likely died in May, before her 88th birthday in September. Neighbors said the family and caretakers had been going in and out of the house on a daily basis.

David did not name the family member, but the county sheriff's office posted the name on its Web site. Amy Blanche Stewart, 47, who lives in the same house as Roth, will face a felony charge.

- AP

Elsewhere:

The Army psychiatrist charged in last month's deadly shooting at Fort Hood has been moved from a hospital's intensive-care unit to a private room. Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan remains under guard at Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio and is rehabilitating from wounds that left him paralyzed from the waist down.

A House committee approved legislation that would let Native Hawaiians establish their own government, but supporters say more negotiations are needed before the bill moves to the House. The bill aims to gradually establish a Native Hawaiian government much the way Native American tribal governments operate.