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Day of action focuses on CT undocumented's healthcare needs; 7 jurors seated in first Trump criminal trial; ND looks to ease 'upskill' obstacles for former college students; Black Maternal Health Week ends, health disparities persist.

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Seven jury members were seated in Trump's hush money case. House Speaker Johnson could lose his job over Ukraine aid. And the SCOTUS heard oral arguments in a case that could undo charges for January 6th rioters.

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Fears grow that low-income folks living in USDA housing could be forced out, North Carolina's small and Black-owned farms are helped by new wind and solar revenues, and small towns are eligible for grants to boost civic participation..

Indiana Governor Ignores Environmental Group's Plea

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Friday, May 5, 2023   

Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb ignored pleas from environmental advocates who were asking him to veto a bill that gives lawmakers more power over state agencies.

To Hoosiers not familiar with the technical language in House Bill 1623, it may be difficult to decode how it applies to everyday life. But Sam Carpenter understood what's at stake - and was quick to call it a "bad bill."

Carpenter, executive director of the Hoosier Environmental Council, worried that the legislation could affect people's health and the environment. He said it creates more paperwork for state regulators dealing with the ash left behind when coal is burned to make electricity, and collected in ponds, "most of them unlined.

"Indiana has one of the highest - if not the highest - number of coal ash ponds in the state, compared to other states in the nation," he said, "and they are leaching toxic metals - mercury, arsenic, lead - into our waterways."

However, the bill's supporters have said it streamlines rulemaking and standardizes government procedures. Carpenter said his group wanted more common-sense regulation, and blamed special-interest groups and a tendency from some who push back against any new law.

Carpenter predicted that the legislation will limit regulators' ability to effectively do their jobs.

"We're really relying on federal regulations for Indiana problems," he said. "The federal regulations don't always fit our situation; specifically, what we're concerned about - there's language around regulation in setting standards of protection around coal ash."

Holcomb signed House Bill 1623 into law Thursday.


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