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Tribal advocates keep up legal pressure for fair political maps; 12-member jury sworn in for Trump's historic criminal trial; the importance of healthcare decision planning; and a debt dilemma: poll shows how many people wrestle with college costs.

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Civil rights activists say a court ruling could end the right to protest in three southern states, a federal judge lets January 6th lawsuits proceed against former President Trump, and police arrest dozens at a Columbia University Gaza protest.

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Wyoming needs more educators who can teach kids trade skills, a proposal to open 40-thousand acres of an Ohio forest to fracking has environmental advocates alarmed and rural communities lure bicyclists with state-of-the-art bike trail systems.

Smaller governments find voice in Gaza ceasefire resolutions

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Thursday, February 1, 2024   

Dozens of U.S. municipalities have adopted resolutions calling for a ceasefire in Gaza. Recent action by a smaller Minnesota city showed governments of all sizes sometimes feel the need to speak about controversial issues on the minds of locals.

The Israel-Hamas war is now four months old and has led to deep political divisions about how the conflict should be handled, especially with an ongoing humanitarian crisis playing out. The Hastings City Council recently approved a symbolic resolution expressing its support for a ceasefire, as well as more humanitarian aid from the U.S.

Jen Fox, a city council member in Hastings, said it is not just a topic for international governments or major cities to debate.

"Smaller cities and towns and townships all have power in voices as well," Fox contended. "It doesn't necessarily only have to come from the big populous cities."

The Hastings resolution came after a petition was submitted with more than 100 supporters, and Fox noted the council felt compelled to draft a resolution with residents demanding action.

Since the council vote, she added they still get feedback, including from those who disagreed with the move. Minneapolis is among other Minnesota cities to vote on a ceasefire resolution.

Fox stressed the Hastings City Council's action does not include a political stance and it is OK for smaller governments to occasionally step out of their comfort zone when necessary.

"Our responsibility is helping facilitate infrastructure and clean water and staying apolitical is often the argument," Fox emphasized. "I know my colleagues and I believe that calling for peace and acknowledging the harm that is happening is apolitical."

Other smaller cities around the U.S. have taken similar action, including Carborro, North Carolina, and Ypsilanti, Michigan.


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