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Daily Audio Newscast - April 15, 2024

News from around the nation.

Audio file

25 million Blacks, Latinos missing from voter databases; major news organizations urge Biden and Trump to commit to presidential debates; New Mexico gun-control advocates praise federal rule closing 'gun show loophole; Arkansas group raising awareness during Black Maternal Health Week.


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The Public News Service Daily Newscast, April the 15th, 2024.

I'm Mike Clifford.

Now let's do back in the Montana Secretary of State's office later this week as lawmakers decide whether to override Governor Greg Gianforte's veto of a high profile funding bill that would reapportion money from the state's marijuana sales tax.

Gianforte vetoed Senate Bill 442 after the Montana Senate had adjourned last session, which left lawmakers no chance to override it.

SB 442 would fund veteran services, provide permanent property tax relief for vets and Gold Star families, invest in county road maintenance, and support land conservation and habitat management.

Montana Wildlife Federation Executive Director Frank Selassie says the legislation has received broad support inside and outside the Capitol.

That's why agricultural interests have supported 442, counties have supported 442, and the conservation sporting community supported 442, and local governments.

Gianforte said in his veto note that using state funds for local responsibilities such as road improvements is a slippery slope.

Veto override requires the approval of two thirds of lawmakers.

Ballots are due back in the Secretary of State's office on Thursday.

I'm Mark Moran.

Meantime, CBS News and 11 other major news organizations on Sunday issued a joint statement urging President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump to commit to debates during the 2024 campaign season.

In the letter, news organizations said it was too early for invitations to go out to candidates for debates, but it wasn't too early for candidates to publicly state their commitment to debates in the fall.

CBS quotes the organization's statement as saying, "If there's one thing Americans can agree on "during this polarized time, "it is that the stakes in this election "are exceptionally high."

And background checks on those who purchase firearms at gun shows may soon be expanded.

The Justice Department last week issued a directive to close the so-called gun show loophole.

A final rule submitted to the Federal Register changes the definition of firearm sellers, ultimately requiring they obtain a federal firearms license to sell guns at gun shows, flea markets, and over the internet.

Miranda Viscoli is co-president of New Mexicans to Prevent Gun Violence.

There is no reason why anybody should be able to walk into any gun show in the United States of America if there's not a background check law at the state level and be able to purchase firearms, no questions asked.

The new rule would classify about 23,000 vendors as licensed firearm dealers, making their gun sales subject to checks.

Earlier this year, New Mexico lawmakers approved and the governor signed several firearms-related bills.

I'm Roz Brown.

This is Public News Service.

Next to Arkansas, a state that is taking critical steps to address its high maternal mortality rate, especially among women of color.

More now from our Daniel Smith.

In the natural state, black women are three times as likely to die from pregnancy-related causes than are white women.

Angela Durant with XL by Eight partners with families and communities to improve health and education outcomes for children up to age eight.

She adds that as a result of focus groups and surveys, her organization has developed a new policy agenda that prioritizes maternal health.

We are looking at is making sure that women have the right health insurance to cover them from prenatal to birth to postpartum.

We have met some amazing doulas in the state of Arkansas who have been very supportive to women, particularly some African-American doulas have been working with black women around the state.

Durant says Arkansas now offers insurance to women up to 138 percent of the federal poverty level as a result of the Medicaid expansion.

And efforts to keep young people out of the criminal justice system are working, according to a new sentencing project report.

Howie Zweibel with the Transformative Justice Project of Colorado says the vast majority of adolescents in the justice system, which are disproportionately children of color and other marginalized groups, have committed low-level nonviolent offenses.

He says programs that bring young people face-to-face with victims and help them repair the harms they caused send an important message.

We are saying that we value keeping those young people in our neighborhoods because we recognize that they should have a chance to learn and grow and make sure that they can become pro-social beneficial members of their communities.

The report highlights a decade-long effort to increase diversion programs in Colorado.

Today, half the state's court districts divert adolescents to restorative justice programs.

More than 90 percent complete the program, fewer than one in 10 commit a new offense, and 99 percent of victims reported being satisfied with the process.

I'm Eric Galatis.

Finally, from our Katherine Coley, conservationist in Maine, say, reinstated protections of the Endangered Species Act could help wildlife already struggling to adapt to climate change.

Economic impacts will no longer be considered when listing certain species as threatened or endangered, but the threat of climate change will be a factor.

Anya Fetcher with the Natural Resources Council of Maine says so-called blanket rule protections will also be revived.

This is basically while they are considering whether they should become endangered, they're going to continue to protect those species as if they were.

The Trump administration removed protections for threatened species, along with other key aspects of the law.

This is Mike Clifford.

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