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Tuesday, June 25, 2024

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Opponents of latest AR state tax cuts say they benefit wealthy Arkansans; Julian Assange agrees to a plea deal that would allow him to avoid imprisonment in US; Tech-based carbon-capture projects make headway in local government; NV nonprofit calls Biden's student debt initiatives economic justice.

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Charges against fake electors in Nevada are dismissed, Milwaukee officials get ready to expect the unexpected at the RNC convention, and the Justice Department says Alaska is violating the Americans with Disabilities Act.

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A Minnesota town claims the oldest rural Pride Festival while rural educators say they need support to teach kids social issues, rural businesses can suffer when dollar stores come to town and prairie states like South Dakota are getting help to protect grasslands.

Florida Supreme Court clears abortion amendment for ballot

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Friday, April 5, 2024   

Reproductive-rights advocates see a silver lining in the Florida Supreme Court's recent decision.

The court upheld a 15-week ban, and a six-week abortion ban is set to go into effect next month. However, it also cleared the path for voters to decide on an amendment that would safeguard access to abortion until fetal viability, typically around 24 to 28 weeks of pregnancy.

Former state Rep. Carlos Lacasa, R-Miami, joined a coalition of GOP figures supporting the amendment, including former Lt. Gov. Jennifer Carroll. Lacasa emphasized the importance of protecting both gun rights and privacy rights "because I believe that a woman's right to choose whether or not to carry a child is a very personal privacy matter, and as women's privacy rights go, so go all of our privacy rights."

Leaders of the Yes on 4 campaign hailed what they claim to be a bipartisan triumph, asserting that "personal medical decisions should be between Floridians and their doctors." The Florida GOP chair expressed disappointment, labeling the proposed amendment as "deceptively worded." The ballot measure would require approval from at least 60% of voters to pass.

Republicans' supermajority in the Florida Legislature enabled them to tighten abortion restrictions from 15 weeks to six starting in May. However, Lacasa believes the ballot initiative might cause a backlash against the conservative agenda.

"How much it will impact the election? I can't say, but it will definitely have an impact," he said. "It will definitely be more than zero percentage points swinging towards Democrats, especially down-ballot."

Gov. Ron DeSantis is critical of the amendment and has predicted its failure. Meanwhile, advocates for abortion access are gearing up for a Yes on 4 campaign launch in Orlando next weekend.

The amendment's language specifies that "no law shall hinder, penalize, delay or restrict abortion before viability or when deemed necessary to safeguard the patient's health, as determined by their health-care provider."


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