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Daily Audio Newscast - July 5, 2024

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News from around the nation.

Audio file

Biden administration's proposed heat rules would protect Idaho farmworkers; Biden Tells Governors He Needs More Sleep and Less Work at Night; New Mexico wildfires prompt precautions, new food assistance; Advocates for detained immigrants decry the loss of free phone calls.

Transcript

The Public News Service Daily Newscast, July the 5th, 2024.

I'm Mike Clifford.

The Biden administration is proposing rules to protect workers from extreme heat.

Our Eric Tegethorf has the story.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration says its proposed regulations would protect 36 million workers in outdoor and indoor situations.

Samantha Guerrero with the Idaho Organization of Resource Councils says these protections are needed for the state's farm workers.

This would require worker access to clean drinking water and for access to shaded or indoor rest areas.

And this would also allow the right to take regular rest breaks, which in Idaho law, we currently don't have anything like that.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics says 479 workers died from heat exposure between 2011 and 2022.

And there were more than 33,000 heat-related illnesses and injuries reported in that time.

A poll from the Rural Democracy Initiative found these kinds of protections are popular.

With 77 percent of rural voters supporting workers' right to organize for safe working conditions.

Guerrero says it's important for the federal government to step up in the area to fill in gaps in Idaho laws.

There are a lot of farm workers who are in danger of losing their lives in these extreme temperatures.

And so far, we have seen no urgency from the state.

Advocates say farm workers are among the most affected by extreme heat.

And yet, they have the fewest safeguards.

Next, from The New York Times, President Biden told a gathering of Democratic governors that he needs to get more sleep and work fewer hours, including curtailing events after 8 p.m.

That's according to two people who participated in the meeting and several others briefed on his comments.

The take from The New York Times is the remarks on Wednesday were a stark acknowledgement of fatigue from the 81-year-old president during a meeting intended to reassure more than two dozen of his most important supporters that he is still in command of the job and capable of mounting a robust campaign against former President Donald J. Trump.

And New Mexicans impacted by recent wildfires and subsequent flooding may be eligible for disaster supplemental nutrition program benefits.

The additional SNAP dollars will provide one month of groceries for individuals and families affected by the South Fork and Salt fires.

Meanwhile, state epidemiologist Srikanth Paligado says those in wildfire-prone areas should always be prepared because the state's increased and persistent heat, as well as strong winds, can aggravate asthma and other respiratory issues in both children and adults.

For example, during the 2022 Hermits Peak-Calf Canyon fire, we reported a significant increase in the number of emergency room visits compared to what it was in the same time frame in 2021.

The 2022 fires were the largest in state history.

I'm Roz Brown.

New Mexico has created a new 531 visibility tool, incorporating mileage and landmarks to help determine visibility if a wildfire is nearby and the need to seek shelter.

This is Public News Service.

Groups that advocate for people detained in immigration facilities are calling for the reinstatement of a program that allowed 500 free minutes of phone calls per month.

In recent weeks, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, known as ICE, cut off the free domestic and international calls, telling advocates that the pandemic-era funding has run out.

Rosa Santana with Envision Freedom Fund says families of the detainees often struggle to afford the calls, which can cost up to $3 for 15 minutes.

Usually, the person who is in detention is the breadwinner.

And now families have to be able to figure out how they could bring food and everything that the breadwinner used to bring, pay rent.

And on top of that now, it's like having to pay for phone calls.

ICE did not respond to a request for comment.

I'm Suzanne Potter.

Meantime, Alabama's universities and community colleges will receive increased funding for 2025.

The state's universities are set to get a 7 percent boost that's equivalent to about $100 million.

Jim Purcell is the executive director of the Alabama Commission on Higher Education.

During a quarterly meeting, he expressed satisfaction with the outcome in the state legislature.

He says it came close to achieving its funding target.

You know, we had made budget recommendations.

They were relatively close, but as you know, some people have better politics than others, so it's sort of, it's not exact science.

The commission also saw budget increases that bolstered the state's student assistance program and allocated additional funds to aid in FAFSA completion for prospective college students.

Shantia Hudson reporting.

The national average for need-based aid allocation is about 10 percent.

Finally, from our Edwin J.

Vieira, almost 200,000 acres of New York have been protected by the Conservation Fund.

This comes as the group which protects wilderness working in natural spaces announced it's protected more than one million acres of at-risk forest land.

Studies show 13 million acres of forest land nationwide will be at risk in the coming decades due to many factors.

Tom Defos with the Conservation Fund says forests are a major answer to climate change.

It's a defense mechanism against the storms that happen with climate change, but also the benefits of the carbon are a huge issue for conserving large-scale forest land.

But this work has been more of a rescue mission.

Defos says the group competes in a marketplace with timber investors and real estate developers for this land with a high success rate.

By 2035, the group aims to protect five million acres of US forests.

Conserving forest land is important for New York to achieve its goal of conserving 30 percent of the state's lands and waters by 2030.

More than a million dollars is available through the state's Forest Conservation Easements for Land Trusts grant program.

This is Mike Clifford for Public News Service, member and listener supported, heard on interesting radio stations, your favorite podcast platform, and find our content and trust indicators at publicnewsservice.org.