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On World AIDS Day, New Mexico activists say more money is needed for prevention; ND farmers still navigate corporate land-ownership policy maze; Unpaid caregivers in ME receive limited financial grants.

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Secretary of State Antony Blinken urges Israel to protect civilians amid Gaza truce talks, New York Rep. George Santos defends himself as his expected expulsion looms and CDC director warns about respiratory illness as flu season begins.

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Congress has iced the Farm Bill, but farmer advocates argue some portions are urgent, the Hoosier State is reaping big rewards from wind and solar, and opponents react to a road through Alaska's Brooks Range, long a dream destination for hunters and anglers.

Maine Librarians Fight Bill to Ban Books Considered 'Obscene'

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Tuesday, March 14, 2023   

School librarians in Maine are fighting a bill that would ban
schools from providing students with books considered "obscene," saying it could potentially criminalize educators. Proponents of the legislation say they are merely protecting children from inappropriate material but educators say the definition of the word obscene remains unclear.

Heather Perkinson, Maine Association of School Libraries president, said librarians are being singled out and harassed, finding their names and phone numbers posted online.

"We are all worried about whether books that we have in our libraries are going to be challenged and whether it's going to get us into some kind of trouble," Perkinson said.

Perkinson added the bill is similar to other GOP-driven measures across the country and is part of a larger attack on public education. The American Library Association reports
more than 1,600 attempts to ban titles in 2022, the highest number in decades.

Most of the titles garnering complaints from parents and lawmakers deal with LGBTQ relationships or gender identity, including the title, "Gender Queer," a graphic memoir by Maia Kobabe.

Perkinson said the book speaks to many students in Maine who question their own identities.

"Unless you read the whole book, if you just see those images, then you're not getting the whole context and the whole narrative," she said.

Perkinson added librarians work hard to purchase appropriate materials with school district money, considering reputable review sources, book awards and the school's particular curriculum. When one parent attempts to take away the rights of students to read a specific book, they are infringing on the rights of all parents, she said.


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According to the National Family Farm Coalition, the average U.S. farmland value is now $3,800 per
acre, the highest since the 1970s. (Adobe Stock)

Environment

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North Dakota's farming landscape is seeing policy shifts dealing with corporate ownership of agricultural interests. Now, there's fresh debate at the …


Social Issues

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Many older residents of Washington state are facing strains on their budgets -- and the government programs that could assist them are underused…

Environment

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Bloomington and Indianapolis are getting some international recognition for the work they're doing to help the environment. The two have been named …

Today marks the 35th anniversary of World AIDS Day. (Nito/Adobe Stock)

Health and Wellness

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New Mexico activists are tapping today's World AIDS Day, Dec. 1, to announce they'll ask the State Legislature to provide more money for treatment …

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Bipartisan legislation that proposes the installation of solar panels in schools across Pennsylvania awaits a vote in the state Senate. The Solar …

Social Issues

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A bill in Congress with a Connecticut House sponsor aims to reduce child labor in the United States. Called the "Children Harmed in Life-Threatening …

 

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