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Daily Audio Newscast - May 1, 2024

News from around the nation.

Audio file

Ex-attorney for Daniels and McDougal testifies in Trump trial; Connecticut paid sick days bill passes House, heads to Senate; Iowa leaps state regulators, calls on EPA for emergency water help; group voices concerns about new Tennessee law arming teachers.


The Public News Service DOA newscast, May 1, 2024.

I'm Mike Clifford.

Judge Juan Mershon handed out his first punishment to Donald Trump for violating the judge's gag order in the New York hush money trial Tuesday.

He fined Trump $9,000 for nine violations.

That from CNN.

They report the judge also warned the former president in his written order that continued violations could also lead to imprisonment.

Once the trial itself began Tuesday, jurors heard from the attorney who negotiated both the Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougall hush money agreements.

The witness, Keith Davidson, detailed his encounters with then-Trump fixer Michael Cohen in the final days of the 2016 campaign to get the money promised to Daniels.

We head next to Connecticut where a bill would expand the state's paid sick leave law.

The initial 2011 law requires 40 hours of paid sick leave for workers and employers with 50 businesses or more.

The new bill covers all workers regardless of their employer size.

Janae Woods Weber with She Leads Justice says this legislation can benefit workers without access to paid sick leave.

These are people for whom taking a few hours off when their child has a cold or perhaps they need to take themselves to a doctor's appointment are the kinds of challenges that many of us don't worry about, those of us who do have access to paid sick days.

Small businesses were concerned about how this could impact them.

To address those worries, the bill has a three-year implementation cycle giving them time to adapt.

It also creates a task force studying the feasibility of providing tax credits to businesses with the smallest workforces.

The bill passed the House and awaits further action in the Senate.

I'm Edwin J. Vieira.

An estimated 11 percent of workers are eligible for paid sick leave under the current criteria.

And the Iowa Environmental Council has petitioned the Environmental Protection Agency to invoke emergency powers to protect sensitive soil and groundwater in Northeast Iowa.

The council is holding a public webinar today and wants the EPA to address groundwater contamination in Northeast Iowa's so-called driftless region.

The groundwater there has a well-documented history of nitrate contamination.

The council's Alicia Vasto says that's because the highly porous and soluble karst soil prevalent in the part of the state is susceptible to contamination from centralized animal feeding operations or CAFOs.

So we did some analysis of private well data and public water systems and found that there was a lot of contamination of nitrate in those drinking water sources.

And the state has really failed to take action meaningfully that would address those problems.

The state has said it is constantly working to upgrade groundwater quality standards and is in the process of taking public input on creating yet another set of rules.

I'm Mark Moran.

This is Public News Service.

Grassroots organizations are sounding the alarm about Tennessee's new law allowing teachers and other school employees to carry guns, are Danielle Smith's reports.

Over 450 children have lost their lives to gun violence in the U.S. this year.

Kathy Barnett with Moms Demand Action predicts the new law won't enhance school safety.

She notes the community worked to get an extreme risk protection order passed after the Covenant school shooting.

But Republicans passed legislation this year blocking local governments from passing their own versions of these protection orders.

Already we have seen the largest counties say no they are not going to implement it.

They trust their law enforcement.

They trust that they have SROs already in their schools.

They feel like it's dangers are just too much.

Barnett adds even some of the smaller counties have said they will not implement it.

Supporters of the new Tennessee law say it will make schools safer.

And access to reduced price medications is a necessity for many rural Missourians with low income.

Republican State Senate Leader Cindy O'Loughlin says Big Pharma is trying to confuse legislators with unrelated hot button topics such as abortion access and illegal immigration in a last ditch effort to stop the state from joining a program that would force drug makers to sell medicines at a discount.

It's appealing to nuclear topics which really do not apply in this situation.

It's a disingenuous way to try to defeat a bill that is actually good for Missouri.

O'Loughlin says the program is transparent and uses the tax money saved to help low income families deal with chronic conditions such as diabetes.

The drug makers object to the government forcing them to give significant discounts, arguing that hospitals and for-profit pharmacies' bottom lines, particularly those owned by pharmacy benefits managers, are being exploited.

Nationally, 46 percent of contract pharmacy agreements involve pharmacies linked to the three largest benefits managers.

Farah Siddiqui reporting.

Finally, on this May Day, our Mike Mullen reports.

Wisconsin groups are rallying in Green Bay to highlight a key issue facing the working class, the ability to retire.

The American Federation of Government Employees is co-leading demonstrations around the state with attendees calling on Congress to fully fund Social Security.

These debates have been around for a while, but the Federation's president for Council 220, Jessica Lapointe, says the problems run deep right now, with chronic underfunding resulting in staffing woes at field offices.

Service delays are far and wide and it could take more than four months to start your retirement benefits.

This is Mike Clifford for Public News Service.

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