Colorado’s Governor Pushes Back Against Anti-LGBTQ+ Laws
Governor Jared Polis, a Democrat and first openly gay man to be elected to the post, said Republicans had fixated on an issue “the American people have long move[d] past.” Meanwhile, an amendment to Floridian law would make schools tell parents of a child's sexual orientation — if they're not straight.
Colorado Governor: Anti-LGBTQ Laws Are 'Un-American'
Colorado Gov. Jared Polis, the first openly gay man to be elected governor, criticized the push for anti-LGBTQ laws in Republican-led states. “Look, words matter. Laws matter. When a group of people, LGBTQ youth, feel targeted by the words and laws that some politicians espouse, of course, it can increase anxiety, depression,” he said during an interview with CNN’s “State of the Union” on Sunday. Just six weeks into 2022, more than 150 anti-LGBTQ bills have been introduced across the country, according to USA Today. States such as Florida are going as far as prohibiting classroom discussions on sexual orientation and gender identity and requiring teachers to inform parents of their child’s sexuality if they identify as LGBTQ. (Kim, 2/20)
Amendment To 'Don't Say Gay' Bill In Florida Requires Schools To Out Students To Their Parents Within Six Weeks
A new amendment to Florida’s “Don't Say Gay” bill would require schools to inform parents of their children’s sexual orientation within six weeks of learning the student isn't straight, NBC affiliate WFLA reported on Monday. The amendment was filed Friday by the bill’s co-sponsor, state Rep. Joe Harding (R). The bill, which has gained national attention and pushback, bars educators in Florida from talking about sexual orientation or gender identity in primary schools. Parents would be able to take legal action against school districts they believe have violated the measure. (Oshin, 2/21)
Pair Of Bills Targeting Pregnant Drug Users Advance In Wyoming Legislature
In 2005, a Fremont County prosecutor charged a woman with felony child endangerment after finding her newborn baby tested positive for methamphetamine. She was the first person in Wyoming to be charged for endangering an unborn child with drugs. The woman also tested positive for meth at the hospital after giving birth. The next day, she said, police took her child. (Gerst Casper, 2/21)
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:
Two UWM Students Died in their Dorm Rooms Because of Fentanyl. Now, Their Mothers Are Turning Agony Into Action.
In a poem Logan Rachwal wrote as a high school junior, he thought back to simpler times, with late nights on the baseball diamond, building forts with his brother, the warmth of his family home and "easier days ... peaceful days." The poem — and the childhood memories it describes — are among the things his family cherishes today, not the years when their relationship was more strained than peaceful. (Shastri, 2/17)
Los Angeles Times:
Another Sewage Spill Closes Beach Swimming In Orange County
Orange County officials have closed a portion of the ocean near the west end of Newport Bay from 8th Street following yet another sewage spill. The Orange County Health Care Agency said Monday that a blocked sewer line at a restaurant in Newport Bay leaked about 35,000 to 50,000 gallons of untreated sewage into nearby waters. This spill comes less than two months after a 48-inch sewage main in Carson failed, spewing millions of gallons of waste into the Los Angeles Harbor and fouling beaches in Long Beach and elsewhere in L.A. and Orange counties. (Ramsey, 2/21)
Project To Assess Needs Of Long-Isolated Arizona Community
A small, remote northern Arizona town where a polygamist group used to be dominant makes few headlines these days. But that doesn’t mean it’s been entirely forgotten. Mohave County officials have decided to support a project to assess and address the long-isolated community’s health needs, Today’s News-Herald reported. (2/21)
Burlington Free Press:
New Program To Boost Food Access While Supporting Vermont Farm Stands
"Farm Stand Together," a new Vermont-wide food aid program, is providing gift cards to farm stands for low-income people. The goal of the program is to boost food access while supporting local agriculture. Anyone experiencing food insecurity can apply online for a gift card that provides a minimum of $50 at eligible farm stands. (Fisher, 02/22)
North Carolina Health News:
Is This The Year NC Gets Medicaid Expansion?
The state Legislative Building designed by architect Edward Durell Stone almost 60 years ago has a maze of hallways where lawmakers often buttonhole each other for private discussions about contentious public issues. Rep. Donny Lambeth (R-Winston-Salem) is one of those lawmakers who has been taken aside recently to discuss the pros and cons of expanding Medicaid in North Carolina. “One of the hallway conversations always comes around to, ‘Well so and so state has had all kinds of financial problems because they expanded Medicaid’ … so I really want to understand what has been the experience in other states as far as balancing their budgets, the impact on their operating funds and pressure it puts on their operating funds because they expanded,” Lambeth said Friday at the first meeting of the Joint Legislative Committee on Access to Healthcare and Medicaid Expansion. (Blythe, 2/21)
North Carolina Health News:
Reproductive Rights For People With Disabilities In NC
As the reproductive rights of people under guardianship came into the national spotlight with the #FreeBritney movement, disability advocates in North Carolina say people with disabilities in this state could easily face similar threats to their rights. In the case of pop star Britney Spears, she was not allowed to remove her IUD so she could have a third child, despite being rich, white and in the public eye. Spears was legally unable to make decisions because she was under a conservatorship, a legal process in which the court declares a person “incompetent” and someone else is appointed to make their decisions for them. (Thompson, 2/22)
Bill To Consider Churches Essential In Emergencies Advances
A bill that would assure churches can meet in person in South Carolina during a pandemic or other emergency as long as other essential businesses can stay open is advancing in the state Senate. A Senate subcommittee unanimously approved the bill last week, sending it to the Senate Judiciary Committee. The bill passed the House last March. Supporters of the bill said they know the state never closed any churches when other businesses were closed in spring 2020 as the COVID-19 pandemic started. (2/20)