PBS NewsHour

I am currently the Roy W. Howard Fellow for the PBS NewsHour. I cover general assignment and help with data and special projects.

1 in 100 kids lose legal ties to their parents by the time they turn 18. This new bill aims to help

When the Clinton administration passed the Adoption and Safe Families Act (ASFA) in 1997, it intended to drastically reduce the number of children stuck for long periods of time in foster care. One of the safeguards it put in place was a timeline: If a child was in the foster care system for 15 of 22 consecutive months, states would be required to file for termination of parental rights — with an exception made if the child welfare agency provides a “compelling reason” as to why the parent shoul

How rising prices affect people differently, and what it says about the economy

Connie Myers has always loved a good sale. Two years ago, she would shop sales at her local grocery stores in Winchester Bay, Oregon, but often pay full price for most other products. However during the pandemic, she noticed her dollar didn’t stretch as far. Myers clipped coupons much more religiously at the start of the pandemic. She had a feeling prices would continue to rise after the global toilet paper shortage, a feeling reflected in polls about people’s worries about the country’s overal

COVID relief for thousands of foster youth has expired. Will lawmakers renew it?

Former foster children are among the most vulnerable people during the pandemic. They already are at greater risk for homelessness and living in poverty, advocates said, especially those who aged out during the pandemic. A federal COVID-19 relief package passed in Dec. 2020 helped support more than 40,000 former foster youth, according to Think of Us, a national think tank that focuses on child welfare policy. The measure included extra stimulus money and expanded benefits that helped them surv

What will it take to keep workers from dying of heat? Enforcement and trust, advocates say

The White House announcement last week of a blueprint to address working conditions for laborers in extreme heat was seen widely as a critical first step in developing national rules around heat stress in the workplace, which has killed hundreds of people in the last decade. Heat is the leading weather-related killer in the U.S. The federal proposal prioritizes establishing a first-ever federal heat standard — a widely accepted temperature or series of conditions under which employees would be

Most Americans oppose abortion laws that let private citizens sue, new poll says

The type of anti-abortion law enacted by the state of Texas last month is deeply unpopular with Americans, according to a new poll from the PBS NewsHour, NPR and Marist. The novel legal strategy empowers private citizens to file civil suits against anyone who aids a person getting an abortion, rather than rely on a state agency to bar the medical procedure. It’s one of several restrictive abortion laws that are making their way through the courts. Two of them, from Kentucky and Mississippi, wil

Texas’ abortion law and what it means for the future of abortion rights in the U.S.

Roe v. Wade, the landmark Supreme Court decision that protects a person’s right to an abortion without excessive restrictions, has been functionally overturned in Texas. The state’s Senate Bill 8, one of the most restrictive abortion bans to be signed into law, bans all abortions after six weeks of pregnancy — including in cases of rape and incest — and allows any person to sue anyone who helps a woman in Texas seek an abortion. While people seeking an abortion won’t be the target of prosecutio

How to help people affected by Hurricane Ida

Hurricane Ida, one of the strongest hurricanes ever to hit the United States, has caused at least one death in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and knocked out power for the entire city of New Orleans. The death toll is expected to rise as recovery efforts continue and the storm moves toward Mississippi, Alabama and the Florida panhandle. Officials say it could be weeks before power is fully restored. More than 2,200 evacuees are staying in 41 shelters, a number that’s likely to grow as people are rescu

How you can help Afghan refugees arriving in the U.S.

President Joe Biden announced in April that all U.S. troops would be out of Afghanistan by Aug. 31. Despite the Taliban’s tumultuous overthrow of the Afghan government, following the exit of U.S. troops,, the president is sticking to the self-imposed deadline. This deadline looms as the scenes out of Kabul airport are increasingly chaotic and a humanitarian crisis is unfolding as desperation mounts for Afghan civilians, many of whom worked alongside U.S. troops for the last 20 years. For so many

How to help Haitians after 7.2 magnitude earthquake

A deadly earthquake in Haiti over the weekend has dealt another devastating blow to the nation mired in political crisis. At least 1,297 people have died and more than 5,700 are injured following the earthquake. Tens of thousands more are displaced — officials say over 7,000 homes were destroyed and 5,000 are damaged. In some places, rescue efforts have been affected by landslides cutting off roads. Now Tropical Depression Grace is on course to bring torrential rains through Haiti and officials

We don’t know exactly how many people are dying from heat — here’s why

On the day he died, Florencio Gueta-Vargas woke up at 3 a.m. as he did each day for nearly two decades, so he could arrive early for work as a tractor driver at a hops farm in Yakima County, hand-made tortillas from his wife in hand. On July 29, Gueta-Vargas didn’t return home. His wife, who works at a cherry warehouse, was notified by a cousin that Gueta-Vargas’s truck was still at the farm. The family arrived to the news from a sheriff’s deputy that the father of six had died. “There was no

Farmworkers are dying in extreme heat. Few standards exist to protect them

As he neared the end of his shift July 29 on a hops field in Washington’s Yakima County, Florencio Gueta-Vargas collapsed. That day, temperatures would reach triple digits. When he didn’t return home, his family went searching at the field where he worked; a relative told them that the truck he drove was still at the farm’s main office. That’s where a sheriff’s deputy told the family Gueta-Vargas had died. Gueta-Vargas, 69, had not been taken to the hospital, but instead directly to a local mor

Why Black women are saying no

Even with the swell of support surrounding gymnast Simone Biles’ decision to step back from the Olympics to protect her mental health, there was a nagging narrative that the star athlete — who won nationals with broken toes, won world competitions with a kidney stone and endured years of sexual abuse while representing an organization that protected her abuser — wasn’t strong enough. It echoed a longstanding and problematic stereotype: Black women must be strong. Black women must be resilient. B

Will an 18-year-old pop star convince young people that the COVID-19 vaccine is good 4 u?

Young Americans are trying to return to the normalcy they’ve long yearned for since the pandemic started. And, well? Things are shaping up to be a little brutal out here. Americans between 12 and 29 are contracting COVID-19 at the highest rates while being the least protected — only 38 percent are vaccinated against the virus as of May 22, according to the Centers for Disease and Control and Prevention. The vaccine is now available in every state for people 12 and older, but Gen Z and younger m

Why can’t Olympians smoke weed?

Sha’Carri Richardson, once poised for Olympic gold, will not be running in Tokyo this summer. The news has drawn a sense from supporters that this young, Black track phenom has been wronged by sporting rules on pot that are overdue for a change. USA Track and Field announced that she had not been selected for the U.S. relay team on Tuesday, after she was disqualified earlier from the 100-meter race due to a positive test for THC. Her chances dashed at an Olympic debut, fellow elite athletes hav

What’s causing the drought in the West — and why it’s so bad

Several Western states, including Arizona, California, New Mexico, Utah, Nevada and parts of Oregon and Colorado, are in the grips of a historic drought that has depleted key water sources to a frightening level as temperatures rise and wildfire risk increases. Many scientists are ringing alarm bells that it could mark a tipping point in the water crisis that threatens life in the West as we know it, particularly agriculture. “The word drought just doesn’t do it anymore,” said John Fleck, a pro

7 takeaways from NewsHour’s investigation into harassment Black women in politics face

Black women in politics face a harrowing reality: Harassment, abuse and death threats for doing their jobs as Black women. To better understand their experiences, the PBS NewsHour requested interviews with more than 61 Black women who have held office or run for office at various levels of government and across the political spectrum Eighteen women, 16 of them Democrats, shared their stories. Here’s what they described. Black women are harassed differently than their white or male colleagues. M

More Black women are being elected to office. Few feel safe once they get there

Every day for more than four years, Kiah Morris lived in fear. She developed a safety routine for her family with the help of an international security expert, installed security cameras outside their home and received firearms training. When Morris took office as a Democratic state representative in Vermont in 2015, she was the first Black woman elected to the state’s legislature in 26 years. Her district was located in a county with an estimated population of 36,589 that was about 96 percent

21 lesbian bars remain in America. Owners share why they must be protected

Rachel and Sheila Smallman spent the summer of 2016 traveling the Gulf Coast, trying to find the best place to open a lesbian bar. There were queer bars along the coast, but they largely catered to cisgender gay men. The Smallmans visited at least five cities in four states. On one night, the Smallmans met a friend at a New Orleans gay bar. They were there for about three minutes before some of the patrons and employees started yelling at them to leave because they were women. The couple and t

'It feels like freedom,' 8 people describe getting their COVID-19 vaccine

The COVID-19 vaccine cards are record-keeping necessities. Slightly smaller than an index card, the white piece of paper pinpoints when and where you were vaccinated. But it doesn’t capture the wide range of life experiences that led to that moment. As the Biden administration and local governments expand the availability of vaccinations across the country, that little piece of paper has taken on added weight. Many have shared selfies of themselves after getting the vaccine at a school gymnasiu

After record 2020 election turnout, states look to limit voting options

State legislative sessions often see an uptick in the introduction of restrictive voting bills following an election year, but legislation that aims to limit who can vote, where, when and how has reached unprecedented levels this year. The Brennan Center, an independent nonpartisan law and policy organization in New York, found that more than 253 restrictive voting bills had been introduced in legislatures across 43 states just this year through Feb. 23 — up from 35 bills across 15 states in al
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