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Family farmers call for tougher CAFO regulations in Farm Bill; The Midwest and Northeast brace for record high temperature in heatwave; Financial-justice advocates criticize crypto regulation bill; Ohio advocates: New rules strengthen protections for sexual-assault victims.

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The RNC kicks off its election integrity effort, Democrats sound a warning bell about conservatives' Project 2025, and Republicans suggest funding cuts to jurisdictions with legal cases against Trump.

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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.

WI Gets $1B from Feds for Boosting Broadband

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Tuesday, June 27, 2023   

As rural communities still suffer from the so-called digital divide, the Biden administration has announced the rollout of more than $42 billion for the expansion of high-speed internet access. That includes $1 billion dollars for Wisconsin. The funding comes from the multi-year federal infrastructure law that was adopted in late 2021. Federal officials say more than 8 million households and small businesses in the U.S. are in areas where there is no high-speed internet infrastructure.

Deb Reinbold, president, Thrive Economic Development, said it is welcome news for smaller towns.

"It's a huge opportunity for the state," she said. "In today's interconnected world, broadband's not just a luxury, it's a lifeline, and especially for rural communities."

Reinbold added her area has seen progress thanks to separate grants in recent months, but said there are still some areas that need service, and there is hope the new funding will close remaining gaps. According to a statewide task force report, nearly 7% of Wisconsin residents lack access to the FCC standard for download speed, mostly in rural areas.

Reinbold is also a board member with the Wisconsin Rural Partners group, and said beyond helping rural residents and small businesses, the extra funding allows health providers in these communities to easily connect with patients.

"Telehealth is also something that we're seeing such a significant investment in from our area, medical clinics and hospitals," she said. "Honestly, the impact is very widespread."

Wisconsin's Public Service Commission will be in charge of distributing the grants. In a statement, it says it will ensure the funding gets to where it is needed as quickly as it can while maintaining transparency in being stewards of taxpayer dollars.


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Since the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in June 2022, 22 states have passed laws to protect or expand access to abortion.

Health and Wellness

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Nebraska physicians and their patients have been dealing with the state's 12-week abortion ban since it went into effect just over a year ago…


Environment

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Ohio advocates said the Biden administration's new Title IX regulations better protect victims of sexual assault, even as a group of states …


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Social Issues

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A Legislature-backed Commission on Poverty in Massachusetts aims to address the state's historic wealth gap. The commission will study demographic …

Social Issues

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Social Issues

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