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Daily Audio Newscast - February 26, 2024

News from around the nation.

Minnesota considers 'organizing' protections for renters; Nikki Haley says 'I have a duty' to stay in race despite latest loss to Trump; Montana teachers' union files pair of 'school choice' lawsuits.


(upbeat music) - The Public News Service DOA newscast, February the 26th, 2024.

I'm Mike Clifford.

Minnesota lawmakers face growing calls this session to boost access to affordable housing.

But there's also a proposal to lend a voice to existing renters who fear speaking out about poor living conditions. - A Minnesota House Committee has advanced a measure that would allow tenants of a residential complex to organize efforts if they feel their landlord isn't keeping up with necessary repairs.

The bill also protects these tenants from retaliation, such as an unexpected fee.

Brooklyn Park resident, Marion Butler, told lawmakers that's what she received after she complained to City Hall. - We are trying to hold them accountable for the things that we've been going through.

And in turn, they are retaliating and using unethical tactics. - Bill supporters say these situations can be especially hard on renters who speak little to no English.

Landlords could be fined $1,000.

An official with a large property management company also testified, voicing concerns about unauthorized people being let into buildings during organizing efforts.

I'm Mike Moen. - If it wins approval, the bill would allow a handful of other renter protections Minnesota adopted last year.

Next, from The Guardian, Nikki Haley headed to Michigan on Sunday after suffering a decisive loss in her home state of South Carolina.

Donald Trump continued his undefeated streak with a double-digit win in South Carolina, further cementing his hold on the GOP party and raising more questions about Haley's decision to remain in the primary.

The Guardian reports, as she addressed supporters at an election night party in Charleston Saturday, Haley deftly framed her candidacy as a moral imperative. - For the many voters who expressed dissatisfaction with a potential rematch between Trump and Joe Biden.

Next, we head to Montana, where the largest teachers union has filed two lawsuits against school choice measures in the state. - Montana lawmakers passed House Bill 393 last year, creating Educational Savings Accounts, or ESAs, that would allow parents to use public money to pay for kids' private school tuition.

Montana's is a little different than similar ESAs around the country in that it applies only to special education student tuition.

Montana Teachers Union President Amanda Curtis says funding the ESAs can't help but affect public school students. - The voucher scheme will defund Montana's public schools, which takes away the constitutional right of every Montana kid to a free, quality public education. - Supporters of ESAs say they can better meet their children's educational needs outside the public school system.

I'm Mark Moran. - This is Public News Service.

Now a new report says that philanthropic organizations need to examine the source of their wealth, which it says often came from systematic racism and discrimination. - Called Cracks in the Foundation, the report from the National Committee on Responsive Philanthropy examines the histories of eight grantmakers.

Catherine Ponce is research manager for special projects with the NCRP. - There's four categories of harm we focus on.

It's like anti-Black media and rhetoric, housing discrimination and segregation, unemployment and hidden opportunity, and then healthcare, both mental and physical. - I'm Suzanne Potter. - The report stresses the need to repair the harm done to Black communities.

The report urges grantmakers to reckon with their past, connect with communities that were harmed, work to repair the damage, and make sure that any harm doesn't continue.

Next to Oregon, where Eric Ticketoff reports a program that would provide food benefits to kids during the summer still needs funding. - The state has already approved the summer EBT program, but needs to agree to pay for half of the administrative costs in order to get access to federal funds.

It would help the families of nearly 300,000 kids receive about $40 for food each month over the summer.

Charlie Krause, with Partners for a Hunger-Free Oregon, says child hunger spikes during the summer months. - When they're fed throughout the school year and they have access to meals throughout the school year, it's only fair that they have access to food throughout the summer.

Their income level doesn't drastically change in the summer.

They still need access to support and access to food. - Krause says there have been bipartisan calls to fund the program.

The state would get access to about $35 million a year from the federal government for benefits.

The legislative session is scheduled to adjourn on March 10th. - Finally, our Alex Gonzalez says no one Utah public lands advocate is standing behind the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration's proposed rule, which aims to improve oversight and reduce pollution from the nation's 3 million miles of US natural gas pipeline. - Ashley Kornblatt is with Public Lands Solutions.

She says the rule is critical to move the needle in an effort to slow climate change and contends it would play a significant role in what she calls rural public land communities in the Beehive State. - The leaks reduce the amount of gas collected and thus lower royalty payments, which many counties depend on.

So that's a problem.

The leaks also damage air quality near important recreation assets like national parks, bike trails, climbing areas, and other public lands that are economic drivers for rural communities. - Kornblatt says companies are moving to states like Utah in search of a better quality of life, but adds that poor air quality in oil-dependent communities damages their future of economic prosperity.

I'm Alex Gonzalez reporting.

This is Mike Clifford.

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