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Daily Audio Newscast - March 15, 2024

News from around the nation.

Audio file

Minnesota debates jobless benefits for striking workers; Judge Denies One of Trump's Efforts to Derail Documents Case; New York state bill makes Long Island power grid publicly controlled; Alabama grassroots groups fight restrictive legislation.


The Public News Service Delaware Newscast, March the 15th, 2024.

I'm Mike Clifford.

Minnesota is among the states taking a closer look at extending unemployment benefits to workers who go on strike.

A bill making its way through the legislature would make workers involved in a walkout of at least one week eligible for jobless benefits.

Labor economists say in the past year there's been positive movement with wage growth.

However, backers of Minnesota's plan point to major gaps between corporate profits and the pay most workers receive.

And when those individuals want to fight for fair compensation, Jake Schweitzer of the left-leaning think tank North Star Policy Action says they're at a big disadvantage in taking on ownership.

They can use their considerable profits to engage in bad faith negotiating tactics and simply wait out their poorly paid workers.

During labor disputes, Schweitzer says providing unemployment benefits alleviates hardships and empowers workers to keep fighting.

Critics cite the potential costs and disincentivizing people to work.

I'm Mike Bowen.

And the federal judge overseeing former President Donald J. Trump's prosecution on charges of mishandling classified documents on Thursday rejected one of the motions seeking to have the case dismissed.

That from the New York Times.

They note this is the first time that Judge Kanan has denied a legal attack on the indictment.

In a two-page order, the judge rebuffed arguments by Trump lawyers that the central statute in the indictment, the Espionage Act, was impermissibly vague and should be struck down entirely.

That decision followed a nearly day-long hearing in a federal court in Fort Pierce, Florida.

And New York state lawmakers are considering a measure that would shake up the way Long Island's power grid operates.

The Long Island Power Authority Public Power Act would make LIPA the sole operator of the grid, ending the longstanding public-private model.

Residents feel this model has made communication between ratepayers and their power company inefficient.

Ryan Madden with the Long Island Progressive Coalition says the status quo creates something akin to a game of unnecessary telephone.

For example, an issue is raised and it's brought from either the LIPA board or LIPA staff brings it to the LIPA board.

It then has to be passed along to PSC&G.

PSC&G takes weeks, months in order to come back.

Then they have to bring in the Department of Public Service of Long Island.

In 2023, numerous groups from Long Island and the Rockaways called for an end to this model.

And customers have expressed concerns about how Long Island Power responds to bad weather.

After Superstorm Sandy, PSC&G replaced the Long Island Power Company, which people felt mishandled power restoration to the area.

Residents have a similar feeling for how PSC&G dealt with the aftermath of Tropical Storm Isaias.

The bill is under review by the Assembly's Corporations, Authorities and Commissions Committee.

I'm Edwin J. Vieira.

A 2023 study finds a fully public Long Island grid could save ratepayers a half a billion dollars over the next decade.

This is Public News Service.

In the thick of Alabama's legislative battles and with election season peaking, a surge of controversial bills is sparking concern among civic groups.

Alabama Values Progress is one of the groups voicing opposition to bills that it says aims to restrict voting assistance and penalize the removal of Confederate monuments.

Others would criminalize protest and limit diversity initiatives in the state.

Anisha Hardy with Alabama Values Progress highlights the impact of disinformation as another key concern.

That threat is the very fabric of our democracy.

And I often say that one way to keep groups disempowered is to create barriers to information, information about the power that they have, but then also information about how these issues really impact them.

As an example, she says nearly 6,000 Montgomery County voters were given incorrect voting information, mistakenly told they were in the 7th Congressional District instead of the newly formed 2nd District, which was created to provide more fair representation for black voters as mandated by the U.S.

Supreme Court in the case Allen v. Milligan.

Shantia Hudson reporting.

And as we inch closer to the 2024 U.S. presidential election, experts are discussing the dangers posed by artificial intelligence and disinformation during elections.

In Utah, legislation could mandate disclaimers when AI is used in political ads.

The bill's sponsors hope it'll lead to increased voter awareness.

Shana Broussard is a commissioner with the Federal Election Commission and contends disclosure efforts are an effective way to inform voters, but not infringe on First Amendment rights.

There's a big controversy that deals with First Amendment rights when you're dealing with speech, and particularly when dealing with political speech.

But one thing that the courts have said that when it comes to disclosure, disclaimers are still okay.

Broussard says while a number of states have passed AI-related legislation, it should be regulated at the federal level.

I'm Alex Gonzalez reporting.

Finally, from our 12 golems, as siblings in foster care, the fear of being separated is daunting.

But thanks to a loving family in Jacksonville, for two brothers in Ohio, that bond remains unbroken.

Despite Dalton's cerebral palsy and numerous medical challenges, Brother Dawson became his devoted caregiver.

The two were adopted by Robin and Stephen Bridges through the non-profit Wendy's Wonderful Kids, and they've become a beacon for disability awareness.

Now at 15, Dawson says he's grateful for his parents' support in keeping them together through it all, as he continues to care for his brother.

He is the most amazing brother a man could ask for.

He has an incredible smile that'll just brighten your day instantly.

I'm just blessed to have him in my life, that's all I can say.

This is Mike Clifford, and thank you for wrapping up your week with Public News Service.

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