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Saturday, June 15, 2024

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The Supreme Court throws out a Trump-era ban on gun bump stocks; a look at how social media algorithms and Shakespearian villains have in common; and states receive federal funding to clean up legacy mine pollution.

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The Supreme Court for now protects access to abortion drug mifepristone, while Senate Republicans block a bill protecting access to in-vitro fertilization. Wisconsin's Supreme Court bans mobile voting sites, and colleges deal with funding cuts as legislatures target diversity programs.

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As summer nears, America's newest and largest international dark sky sanctuary beckons, rural job growth is up, but full recovery remains elusive, rural Americans living in prison towns support a transition, while birth control is more readily available in rural areas.

Ohio senators back AM radio in new cars, critics warn of costs

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Friday, May 31, 2024   

The "AM Radio for Every Vehicle Act" now in Congress would mandate all new cars in the U.S. be equipped with AM radios, and it's stirring a debate in Ohio.

The legislation is supported by 60 bipartisan U.S. senators, including Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, and Sen. J.D. Vance, R-Ohio, but it is being criticized by the Consumer Technology Association for its potential to increase vehicle costs and stifle innovation, particularly as electric vehicles rise in popularity.

Gary Shapiro, CEO of the association, testified against the mandate in a House subcommittee. He highlighted the financial and technological burdens a mandate would place on automakers and consumers alike.

"AM radio is wonderful, but it should not be required in every car sold in the 'forever future,' because it is a trade-off with safety and other features and it costs money," Shapiro asserted. "It slows the shift to electric cars."

Proponents of the mandate argued AM radio is crucial for emergency broadcasts, particularly in rural areas where digital signals may be weak. Shapiro pointed out incorporating AM radios into EVs is problematic due to signal interference from the batteries, which would cause costly redesigns and divert resources from other advancements.

Shapiro added the necessity of AM radio is diminishing with the advent of digital and streaming options, which many consumers now prefer. He argued a requirement for AM radio could hinder the state's broader efforts to manufacture and transition to electric vehicles and focus on pertinent issues.

"In Michigan and Ohio, or for anyone working in the auto industry, this is something which is an expensive distraction," Shapiro contended. "It's more of a Washington beltway phenomena, rather than any real problem that Americans want their members of Congress to focus on."

Shapiro emphasized AM radio is not going away and thinks simpler solutions like sellers' disclosures or plugging in an AM radio would be less costly. He added a balanced approach is needed to electrify vehicles while satisfying the radio industry, and respecting consumer choice and market dynamics.


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