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Daily Audio Newscast - April 8, 2024

News from around the nation.

Audio file

North Dakota lawmaker: Racist taunts in HS sports need to stop; Alabama advocacy groups sue to block restrictive new voting law; Maryland students to study eclipse's effect on atmosphere.


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The Public News Service Delaware Newscast, April the 8th, 2024.

I'm Mike Clifford.

First to North Dakota where the high school sports scene has seen some high profile incidents in recent years of student cheer sections shouting racist comments toward opposing teams from tribal communities.

Several incidents of players being subject to discriminatory behavior from the stands has prompted apologies from districts of opposing schools and the State High School Activities Association has responded, including by implementing a zero tolerance policy.

But state representative Lisa Finley DeVille, who represents the Fort Berthold Reservation, says the rules aren't being widely enforced.

The laws are there.

They created them, it's about enforcing them.

The association also created a special committee to handle these matters.

The federal government already has its own civil rights investigation underway, stemming from an incident involving the Jamestown District last year.

I'm Mike Mowen.

The association did not respond to a request for comment.

Alabama's frontline advocates focused on disability, voting and civil rights are taking legal action against what they see as voter suppression.

Organizations that include the ACLU, Alabama Disabilities Advocacy Program and Greater Birmingham Ministries have filed a lawsuit to block Senate Bill 1, which has just become state law.

It restricts community groups, churches and even neighbors from helping people with absentee ballot applications.

Backers of the bill claim it will minimize undue pressure on voters and so-called ballot harvesting.

But Allison Mollman with the ACLU of Alabama says this directly affects the state's most vulnerable communities.

Given how ambiguous the law is written, given how it directly targets those that are not providing assistance with absentee ballots, but specifically with absentee ballot applications, this is about voter suppression, it's not about anything else.

Mollman argues the bill contains vague language about payments.

For instance, it's now illegal for anyone to pay or be paid for ballot application assistance.

However, the law doesn't specify what counts as compensation.

She says this puts people at risk of violating the law even through offering something as small as an I-voted sticker.

Shantia Hudson reporting.

And as Eclipse spectators are gathering in the path of totality, and as Eclipse spectators are gathering in the path of totality, teens of students from Maryland and around the nation are too, and they're preparing to launch instruments to study the phenomenon.

Professor Mary Bowden says there are numerous engineering lessons.

All of the learning about how to design payloads that will work at altitude and in the low temperature and low pressure environment up there at altitude, and then putting them together and inflating a balloon and tracking a balloon, all of that, there's a lot of engineering there that is really a wonderful educational experience.

Even if the skies are overcast, the balloons will fly above the clouds with some live streaming video to YouTube.

This is Public News Service.

As California faces a $38 billion budget deficit, state lawmakers have identified $17 billion in potential cuts before the legislature begins crunching the numbers later this week.

Initial plans include shifting some funds away from job training programs, but that idea is getting some pushback.

Advocates of these programs say at a time when skilled worker shortages plague essential sectors, investment in job training is essential.

Lisa Countryman-Quiroz is with San Francisco-based JVS, a nonprofit job training agency that helps match job seekers with employers.

This is absolutely critical given the cost of living, given rising economic inequality in the state of California, the people who really want to be able to provide for their families, people who want to be able to advance in their careers, and we are helping people get there.

Democrats who hold a super majority agreed last week to reduce the state's projected shortfall through spending cuts, delays, deferrals, and cost shifting.

Mark Richardson reporting.

And Nevada reproductive rights advocates are breaking down the importance of two looming Supreme Court abortion cases.

Moyle versus United States, access to the abortion drug Mifepristone could be restricted, and in Idaho versus United States, a federal law known as the Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act, or EMTALA, for short, could be upended.

It requires hospitals to provide care in serious emergency situations that could warrant an abortion.

Alexis Salt is a Las Vegas-based teacher who experienced a difficult pregnancy herself and gave birth to a severely premature daughter.

She says she was able to receive the care she needed and wanted, but is sharing her experience to shine light on the importance of abortion in life-threatening situations, which she says is currently at stake.

When you are pregnant, it can absolutely 100 percent kill you.

It almost killed me.

And so when people, particularly men, tell you that this is what your body's supposed to do, don't worry about it, you can't listen to that.

I'm Alex Gonzalez reporting.

Finally, our Daniel Smith lets us know from now until next Monday, Mississippi residents who need assistance in filing their income tax returns can use the free services at the AARP Foundation's Tax Aid Program.

Tax Aid volunteers work with people regardless of their age or income level.

The program's Mississippi State Coordinator, Deborah Grant, says it helps those with limited resources from turning to tax prep services they can't afford.

Over 63 percent of the taxpayers we served here in Mississippi last year were over the age of 60.

The average income for the taxpayers we served in Mississippi was just about $34,000.

This is Mike Clifford.

Thank you for starting your week with Public News Service.

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