News·4 min read

Daily Skimm: Florida, Russian Oil, and Aaron Rodgers

Florida state capitol building in Tallahassee in spring
Getty Images
Mar 9, 2022

Taking It to the Classroom

The Story

Florida’s legislature isn’t feeling the love.

What do you mean?

Yesterday, Florida’s state Senate voted largely along party lines to pass the Parental Rights in Education bill. It blocks school districts from discussing sexual orientation or gender identity with students. Critics have dubbed it the “Don’t Say Gay” bill. Lawmakers have been working on it since last month. And state senators' attempts to amend the bill failed. Now, it heads to Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) for signature.

What's the proposed lesson plan?

The bill is limited to kids in kindergarten through third grade — even though those talks aren’t in the curriculum for those grades. It could also apply to student services like counseling. And it lets parents sue schools if they believe someone is violating the law. 

Can’t imagine everyone’s onboard.

Nope. Since last week, high school students across the state have staged walkouts to protest the legislation across the state. One Democratic state senator is accusing Republicans of engaging in a “culture war against the LGBTQ community.” President Biden previously called the bill “hateful.”

What are supporters saying?

That the bill allows parents to have more control over their kids' education. One Republican state senator says the bill just puts an age limit on certain topics, saying, “it’s not a new concept.”

What’s next?

DeSantis is expected to sign it. And it will go into effect on July 1. But some predict parents could bring on lawsuits if the bill becomes law. 

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Florida’s positioning itself as ground zero for a culture war on LGBTQ+ issues. The battleground: the classroom. But it's not the first issue the right-leaning state has used as a lightning rod — it comes after controversial approaches to everything from book banning to critical race theory.

PS: You've heard the term 'critical race theory' thrown around before. We broke down the buzz here.

And Also...This

Who’s pumping up the pressure…

The US. Yesterday, President Biden announced a ban on all Russian energy imports. Think: oil, liquefied natural gas, and coal. It’s a move Biden has been weighing for a hot minute after Russian President Vladimir Putin invaded Ukraine. But he's held out until now, over concerns it would strain global energy supplies and ramp up prices. Since the invasion, oil prices have jumped to their highest since 2008. And although Russia only makes up 3% of US oil imports, sanctions are making it harder for Russia to export and are pushing up the price. It comes as inflation is already up 7.5% — a 40-year high. And all of this has the stock market saying 'oop, that'll do it.'

  • In your wallet: Currently, the average cost per gallon of gas is over $4. But analysts predict that number could go as high as $7 per gallon. The rise in costs will have a more harmful effect on lower-income people and those who have to drive farther to get to work.

PS: Use these tips to keep your budget grounded while energy prices soar.

What’s leading the news…

This study. It estimates that over 170 million Americans were exposed to harmful levels of lead as children. And that several million of them had blood-lead levels higher than the CDC threshold at the time, resulting in a loss of cognitive ability. (Think: an average of 2.6 IQ points down the drain.) While nearly three points may sound minimal, researchers say that drop could shift a person with below-average cognitive ability to being categorized as having an intellectual disability. Leaded gas was linked to the exposure. And while it was banned in 1996, about half a million US children still have blood-lead levels above CDC recommendations.

  • But, good news: Last year, the Senate passed President Biden's $1 trillion infrastructure bill, setting aside $15 billion to replace lead pipes impacting as many as 10 million homes and businesses. But the bill still doesn't cover other sources of lead exposure in things like children's toys and cosmetics.

Who’s saying moo-ve over regular cows…

Their gene-edited counterparts. Earlier this week, US regulators said modified beef ‘meats’ its safety standards. The cows are altered to have extremely short, slick coats to better withstand hot weather. A comfortable cow means less stress and possibly improved food production and animal welfare. It comes after the FDA has cleared apps for other genetically altered animals like salmon, chicken, and pigs. Udderly impressive. 

What understood the assignment on International Women's Day...

ESPN. Yesterday, it announced it’s launching Fantasy Women’s Basketball with the 2022 WNBA season right around the corner. It’ll be the first season-long, full-scale ESPN fantasy game dedicated to any major women’s league. And comes as the WNBA saw viewership grow more than 20% in 2021. Now, if we could do something about that pay gap

Who’s going to sign the dotted line…

Aaron Rodgers

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