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Daily Audio Newscast - May 30, 2024

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News from around the nation.

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Jurors in Trump hush money trial end 1st day of deliberations after asking to rehear some testimony; IN airport security contract boosts workplace rights; NYC's Mount Sinai Beth Israel Hospital slated to close; Iowa's older voters projected to decide primary election outcome.


The Public News Service DOA newscast, May the 30th, 2024.

I'm Mike Clifford.

The jury in Donald Trump's hush money trial ended its first day of deliberations without a verdict, but asked to rehear potentially crucial testimony about the alleged hush money scheme at the heart of the history-making case.

That from the Associated Press.

They report the 12-person jury was sent home around 4 p.m. after about four and a half hours of deliberations.

The process is to resume today.

The AP notes the jurors also asked to rehear at least part of the judges' instructions meant to guide them on the law.

And signs are the power of unions in America is growing as members are less hesitant to strike for fair workplace policies and livable wages.

The American Federation of Government Employees is the parent for Local 618, which represents transportation security officers at five Indiana airports.

Union President Kevin Smith says the contract boosted the rules of operation from 15 to 37.

The biggest factor behind this new contract was basically the need for better rights and protection for all of our officers.

Our last contract was very limited to what we could negotiate, and it placed a lot of things in the hands of the agency that wasn't always in the officers' best interest.

The revised contract terms outline protection from unfair discipline, new uniform rights, better leave conditions and bargaining input for local issues, among other things.

The union represents officers at airports in Indianapolis, South Bend, Evansville and Fort Wayne.

Lafayette's airport recently completed the process for using federal agents at security checkpoints and baggage sites and for workforce screening.

I'm Terry Dee reporting.

The measure was drafted to make officers' rights a law and to ensure it can't be changed by future administrations.

Meantime to New York City, where the Mount Sinai Beth Israel Hospital is slated to close on July the 12th.

The Mount Sinai Health System cites financial reasons since the hospital lost millions in revenue in recent years.

Closing Beth Israel adds to Lower Manhattan's health care shortage, as New York Presbyterian Lower Manhattan Hospital will be the only full-service hospital in the area.

Arthur Schwartz with the Center for Independence of the Disabled New York says this costs people chances for care.

Every time a hospital closes, it keeps New Yorkers from getting health care in two ways.

One is it prevents people from getting immediate, timely, life-saving care.

And it also prevents people from getting emergency care that may not be life-threatening, but which requires the attention of more than an urgent care center.

Sydney is one of several groups filing a lawsuit to prevent Beth Israel's closure.

A newly filed closure plan calls for expanding Bellevue Hospital's emergency department, but court filings show Beth Israel patients face delays due to unapproved staff cuts.

FDNY ambulances were told to divert stroke patients away from the hospital due to a lack of staff.

I'm Edwin J. Vieira.

This is Public News Service.

Next to Iowa, where advocates for the older population are calling on seniors to vote in Tuesday's primary election and have identified their priorities for candidates seeking their support.

There are three ways to vote in Tuesday's primary.

Seniors can choose to cast a ballot by mail, vote early in person at their county auditor's office or the old-fashioned way by going to polling places and filling out a paper ballot on election day, whatever method they choose.

AARP Iowa's Brad Anderson says there's power in numbers for the state's older voters.

One thing we know for sure is that older voters will dominate the overall turnout.

During the last primary election in 2022, 77 percent were 50 or older.

AARP is telling candidates exactly what's important to the state's seniors and what it takes to win their support.

He says retirement and health care-related issues top the list.

I'm Mark Moran.

Conservation groups in Massachusetts are backing the Biden administration's new plan to update the nation's power grid.

Studies show the U.S. must double its existing transmission capacity to meet clean energy goals over the next decade.

Veronica Umkono with the National Wildlife Federation says a new planning rule will allow grid operators to maximize our existing grid before building new infrastructure.

We just have to find a way to responsibly build that is mindful of wildlife, knowing that so many species are already at risk.

Critics of the planning rule say it could allow states wanting to install more renewable energy to pass those costs on to others.

But Umkono says those states that don't directly benefit from the transmission build-out won't have to pay for it.

I'm Catherine Carley reporting.

The Biden administration set an initial goal of upgrading 100,000 miles of transmission lines over the next five years, unlocking hundreds of gigawatts of additional clean energy.

Finally, from our Roz Brown, anti-hunger groups are alarmed over a draft of the next farm bill that significantly cuts benefits to those enrolled in SNAP, including $340 million in New Mexico.

There are two competing bills, with the U.S.

House Agriculture Committee's bill set to make deep SNAP reductions.

According to Lauren Bauer with the Brookings Institute, when SNAP benefits were increased during the pandemic, families purchased healthier foods.

But she says the proposed change would put a healthy diet out of reach for millions of people.

When they have adequate resources to do so, they tend to purchase more nutritious foods.

So when benefits go up, the nutritional content of their grocery baskets goes up as well.

Bauer says there was evidence food insecurity decreased among low-income households when benefits were boosted during the pandemic.

I'm Roz Brown.

This is Mike Clifford for Public News Service, member and listener supported.

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