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VA law prevents utility shutoffs in extreme circumstances; MI construction industry responds to a high number of worker suicides; 500,000 still without power or water in the Houston area; KY experts: Children, and babies at higher risk for heat illness.

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The House passes the SAVE Act, but fails to hold Attorney General Merrick Garland in inherent contempt of Congress, and a proposed federal budget could doom much-needed public services.

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Enticing remote workers to move is a new business strategy in rural America, Eastern Kentucky preservationists want to save the 20th century home of a trailblazing coal miner, and a rule change could help small meat and poultry growers and consumers.

AZ Democrats rally for contraception access

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Monday, March 11, 2024   

Last week, Gov. Katie Hobbs called on the state Legislature to pass a law to guarantee women the right to contraception.

Making birth control a right is a top priority for Hobbs but could prove to be difficult for the Democratic governor to sign into law as she faces opposition from the conservative majority in the legislature. In addition, every legislative committee chair is a Republican and they are the ones who decide which bills will get heard.

Hobbs argued the Right to Contraception Act is something supported by most Arizonans and is not a partisan issue.

"When I talk to Arizonans about the threats to women's rights, the number one concern is 'what is next?'," Hobbs recounted. "They've seen the right to abortions stripped away, they've seen attacks on IVF in our state and others and they're scared contraception is the next thing on the chopping block."

Both the Senate and House versions of the act have yet to receive a hearing. Arizona Republican lawmakers argued access to contraceptives is not under attack. But Democratic lawmakers around the country are turning to reproductive health care to criticize Republican-backed policies and are betting on widespread support for contraception and abortion to translate as a win at the ballot box in November.

Sen. Priya Sundareshan, D-Tucson, one of the bill's sponsors, said she was able to have her family when she was ready, after pursuing her education and professional career, thanks to contraception. Her message to Arizonans is the ability for future generations to make their own health care decisions is in jeopardy.

"Our message is clear: We will not back down in defending every Arizonan's right to choose what is best for their own family," Sundareshan asserted. "Democrats have always been at the forefront of defending your reproductive rights and the fight for accessible contraception is no exception."

Sundareshan described her Republican colleagues' lack of action on the measure as "cowardly." At least half of Democratic voters said they think the elections will have a "major impact" on access to contraception, whereas three in 10 or fewer Republican voters say the same, according to KFF.


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