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As Congress and presidential candidates trade accusations over immigration reform, advocates and experts urge caution in spreading misinformation; Alabama takes new action IVF policy following controversial court decision; and central states urge caution with wildfires brewing.

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Congress reaches a deal to avoid a partial government shutdown again. Arizona Republicans want to ensure Trump remains on their state ballot and Senate Democrats reintroduce the John Lewis Voting Rights Act.

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Hard times could be ahead for rural school districts that spent federal pandemic money on teacher salaries, a former Oregon lumber community drafts a climate-action plan and West Virginians may soon buy raw milk from squeaky-clean cows.

Family farm advocates in MA rally against EATS Act

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Friday, October 27, 2023   

A coalition of animal-welfare and family-farm advocates say a proposed amendment to the 2023 Farm Bill jeopardizes states' ability to regulate their own farming practices.

The EATS Act is a response to Proposition 12, a California law mandating better conditions for all farm animals raised in the state and transported there.

New England Farmers Union member Matt Barron said agricultural corporations are spreading misinformation about the law and threatening a dramatic rise in food prices.

"The Big Ag conglomerates play the fear card with consumers," he said, "saying if we can't get our way to conduct food production on this massive scale you won't have access to hamburger to grill before the football game."

Proponents of the EATS Act contend it's needed to streamline interstate commerce and prevent states from passing more laws that impose on farmers in other states.

A recent study from Harvard University suggested that the EATS Act would jeopardize more than 1,000 public health, safety and animal-welfare laws. That includes protections against infectious disease in livestock or protocols regarding the use of pesticides, which can have cascading impacts on water resources and wildlife.

Barron said the EATS Act would disadvantage farmers who've adopted environmental protections.

"We're a big specialty-crop state," he said. "The cranberry industry alone requires honeybees for pollination."

Barron said Massachusetts has been a leader in the "buy local" movement and many consumers appreciate knowing where and how their food is produced. Renewal of the Farm Bill has been delayed because of recent paralysis in Congress, but Barron said there's a growing bipartisan group of lawmakers voicing their opposition.


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House Bill passed with an overwhelming vote of 94-6, with three abstentions. Its companion, Senate Bill 159, passed unanimously with a vote of 34-0. (Chad Robertson/Adobe Stock)

Health and Wellness

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The Alabama House and Senate both passed bills this week that would help people resume in vitro fertilization and provide legal protections for provid…


Environment

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It's early in the season for wildfires in Nebraska, but dozens of firefighters have already been battling a large wildfire near North Platte for …

Social Issues

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A new report finds some Missouri laws and prospective laws are perceived as discriminatory regardless of their actual intent - and it outlines some bi…


Many transmission projects already follow highway corridors, but depending on the state, policy experts say laws can make it harder to add new power lines along federal interstates. (Adobe Stock)

Environment

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By Frank Jossi for Energy News Network.Broadcast version by Mike Moen for Minnesota News Connection reporting for the Solutions Journalism Network-Pub…

Environment

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By Claire Carlson, John Upton and Kaitlyn Trudeau for The Daily Yonder.Broadcast version by Mark Richardson for Oregon News Service for the Public …

From book bans to teacher qualifications, a new national report from the Network of Public Education examines the laws and policies that support or undermine each state's public schools and the students who attend them. (Pixabay)

Social Issues

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A new Network for Public Education report grades Florida an "F" for its public school funding. As Florida lawmakers negotiate the state budget in …

Social Issues

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As members of Congress and presidential candidates battle it out over immigration, a group of Nevada leaders and experts dedicated to advancing …

Social Issues

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A bill in Olympia would open access to unemployment while workers are on strike, but time is running out for lawmakers to pass the legislation…

 

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