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Daily Audio Newscast - May 10, 2024

News from around the nation.

Audio file

Louisiana teachers worry about state constitution changes. Ohio experts support a $15 minimum wage for 1 million people. An Illinois mother seeks passage of a medical aid-in-dying bill. And Mississippi advocates push for restored voting rights for people with felony convictions.


The Public News Service Daily Newscast, Friday, May 10th, 2024.

I'm Farah Siddiqui.

Panera Bread has pulled the charge line of caffeinated drinks from their menu after a number of wrongful death lawsuits.

ABC News says the line was introduced just two years ago in 2022 and included charged lemonade and charged sip drinks.

And teachers in Louisiana are trying to stop an upcoming constitutional convention proposed by Governor Jeff Landry.

More from Frida Ross.

The governor is demanding that state legislators and 27 of his appointees convene from May 20th through June 3rd to rewrite the state's constitution.

Baton Rouge first grade teacher Jared Guidry says she's concerned.

I have been emailing all of my representatives saying this is too rushed.

This is not a good idea.

Something's going to get missed.

Something's going to be done wrong.

You cannot effectively go through this document in a matter of weeks.

K-12 funding, retirement security for teachers, school bus drivers and other public employees who don't pay into the Social Security System are protected in the current constitution.

Petitions opposing the convention can be found on the Louisiana Federation of Teachers website.

Wisconsin's clean energy portfolio is growing.

Communities seeing the transition happen at their doorstep might get benefits, but sometimes have questions about the scope of these projects.

As Mike Bowen reports, a new grant could help deliver the facts.

The University of Wisconsin-Madison extension has received a $1 million federal grant to educate towns and cities about large scale solar, wind and similar development in their areas.

The extension, Sherry Grutter says the outreach strikes a balance between boosting the clean energy transition and factoring in local feedback from community interests.

Looking at endangered species in the area, will they be protected to what happens to the water and the wells?

Grutter says they'll also use the listening sessions to help dispel misinformation about renewable energy.

This type of engagement comes as hundreds of locally adopted restrictions for wind and solar development surface around the U.S.

A Chicago mom who lost her son to cancer in 2022 is using the occasion of Mother's Day to call on Illinois lawmakers to pass medical aid in dying legislation.

Susie Flack's 34 year old son, Andrew, was a special education teacher and avid hockey player living in California when he learned his cancer was terminal.

Rather than return to his home state, he stayed in California where medical aid in dying is legal.

Now, with such legislation under consideration by Illinois lawmakers, Susie Flack is using social media to urge its passage.

Like I said in the video, I didn't realize how horrific cancer was.

So I would really like to stress that that comfort level that he had because he had the control over his death.

I'm Roz Brown.

This is Public News Service.

Ohio lawmakers are considering legislation that would raise the minimum wage to $15 per hour for most Ohio workers and create a refundable Ohio earned income tax credit.

Ohio's minimum wage is $10.45 per hour for most employees, which is higher than the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour.

Policy Matters Ohio economist Michael Shields explains the provisions in Ohio law weaken minimum wage protections for certain groups.

Employers whose staff, tipped workers, are allowed to claim a portion of those workers' tips and use it to offset the wage that they pay those workers.

So tipped workers can be paid as little as $5.25 per hour.

A citizens ballot initiative to raise the wage will appear before voters this November if it gathers the more than 442,000 valid signatures needed by July 23rd to be included on the ballot.

Shields says increasing the minimum wage to $15 an hour would benefit nearly a million Ohioans, around 30 percent of whom are Black and Latino workers.

Nadia Ramligan reporting.

With less than a month left in the New York legislature's session, environmentalists are pushing for the HEAT Act's passage.

Our Edwin J. Vieira reports.

Last minute stalling from the Assembly kept it from being in the 2025 budget.

The bill phases out gas line extension allowances and gives the Public Service Commission authority to align utility companies with the state's climate laws.

Lisa Marshall with New Yorkers for Clean Power says lawmakers have no time to play politics with the state's climate future.

In a time where we've had the hottest year on record, record breaking floods, our train system flooded out, air that children can't go outside and play and breathe for weeks on end.

And they can't see if it's necessary to crack down and get to work and start to move the climate plan forward, then that's on them.

Passing the bill has faced misinformation campaigns from fossil fuel companies and some skepticism from lawmakers about relying entirely on electricity.

They argue it's not useful if the power goes out, but infrastructure would prevent many fossil fuel energy sources from working correctly with the power out, too.

Governor Kathy Hochul has said she'll sign the bill if the legislature passes it.

Voting rights advocates continue to push to restore these rights for formerly incarcerated Mississippians after lawmakers failed to act.

House Bill 1609, which died in the state Senate last week, would have automatically reinstated voting rights for people who complete their sentences and remain felony free for five years.

Executive director of One Voice, Nassamby Lambright-Haines, explains nearly 60 voting rights bills were introduced during the legislative session, but fewer than 10 survived.

Those who have passed the Senate now go to the governor's desk and he can find them or not find them and they become lost.

And those people have their voting rights back or he can choose to veto those.

This is Farah Siddiqui for Public News Service.

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