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California lawmakers agree on plan for 'strongest net neutrality protection' in nation

Ending a dispute over a proposed net neutrality bill, California Democratic legislators said Thursday they have agreed on a proposal that would provide the strongest protections of open access to the internet in the country in response to last month’s federal repeal of similar rules.The compromise measures, which still require legislative approval, would bar internet service providers from blocking, speeding up or slowing down websites and video, as well as charging websites fees for fast lanes, said state Sen. Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco), an author of one of the two proposed bills.

Opioid measures among new Tennessee laws kicking in

Requirements aimed at curbing Tennessee’s opioid epidemic are among more than 150 new laws that kick in Sunday. Many laws take effect on July 1 each year, when a new state budget year begins, and some of the highest profile ones this time around are part of Republican Gov. Bill Haslam’s “TN Together” opioid plan. Tennessee will begin limiting initial opioid prescriptions to a three-day supply, with exceptions for major surgical procedures, cancer and hospice treatment, sickle cell disease and treatment in certain licensed facilities.

As State ‘Water Wars’ Get Salty, Oysters Get a Say

Florida and Georgia have been arguing about the water that flows into the Apalachicola Bay for three decades, about as long as Tommy Ward and his family have been selling oysters from the bay. Florida says Georgia draws more than its fair share of water from the Flint and Chattahoochee rivers before they fuse to create the Apalachicola River. Georgia uses the water to supply thirsty Atlanta and the vast farmland south of the metropolis.

An Ipad project re-energizes rural school district

The biggest asset in a rural Tennessee school district’s innovative technology project may be the school system’s rural setting and eagerness to perform at the highest level. Polk County Schools, a small district in southeast Tennessee, is using its “rural pride” and “just rolling up our sleeves and getting it done,” said Jason Bell, the district’s supervisor of secondary curriculum and assessment.

Virginia Governor announces new initiative to bring high speed internet to rural areas

Gov. Ralph Northam arrived to announce a new broadband initiative to improve internet services in rural areas. Northam said Virginia used to be ranked No. 1 as the state in which to do business nationwide, but has fallen down the list in recent years. “One reason for that is lack of broadband,” Northam said, particularly in rural areas.

Indiana resident catches rare form of flu following exposure to pigs at a county fair

State health officials are warning Hoosiers to take preventative measures this fair season, after an Indiana resident caught the influenza virus following a visit to a county fair. This is the first human case of the H3N2 influenza in the Indiana since 2013, and first case reported nationwide this year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Pa. dairy farmers find happy collaboration for surplus milk

Last year, food banks statewide came up with an idea. Using funding from the Pennsylvania Agricultural Surplus System and donations from the dairy industry, they got 12 tanker loads of surplus milk a local co-op was going to dump. (Milk-transport trucks can hold anywhere from 5,000 to 8,000 gallons.) They took the rescued milk to local cheesemakers and made thousands of pounds to give away free at food pantries and shelters. For farmers, it meant total revenue of $165,000. Philabundance purchased 27,680 pounds of that cheese for donations, but then took the idea one step further.

Four State Dairy Extension group is hosting three webinars that discuss how to recognize the signs of stress

Farming is one of the most stressful occupations in the United States. This is particularly true for dairy farmers as they are experiencing an extended period of low milk prices.  In response to the current dairy situation, the Four State Dairy Extension group is hosting three webinars that discuss how to recognize the signs of stress, how to deal with dairy farm families experiencing stress, analyzing a dairy for profits, the profitability of various dairy systems and what the Farm Financial Management Database says about production costs. The webinars will be held at 12 p.m.

As water shortages loom, Wyoming seeks water bank law

Worried by growing demands and shrinking water supplies in the Colorado River Basin, Wyoming lawmakers are seeking legislation to authorize water banking in Wyoming and declare it a “beneficial use.” The proposed changes to water law could allow Wyoming to “bank” Green River water for the purpose of meeting obligations to downstream states, and in doing so keep the state’s water users from running dry in the event of a shortage.Lawmakers on two legislative committees were briefed recently of looming disruption in the Colorado River Basin due to drought and growing demand.

The HSUS Wildlife Land Trust: 25 Years of Waste and Pointlessness?

The Humane Society Wildlife Land Trust, an affiliate of the D-rated Humane Society of the United States, celebrated its 25th anniversary. The Trust’s goal is to take donated land and “[prohibit] commercial and recreational hunting and trapping, a promise that no other national land conservation organization makes.” In fact, there is good reason to suspect this $12 million organization has a bankrupt track record on conservation. The HSUS Wildlife Land Trust boasts about 20,000 acres of protected land—which is next to nothing to accumulate over two and half decades.

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