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Who Said That

Chris Williamson, the assistant secretary of labor for mine safety and health, regarding new federal guidelines that protect coal workers from toxic silica dust. The updated rules will make the exposure limit to silica dust twice as restrictive as currently allowed and will directly regulate exposure so that citations and fines are possible when miners are overexposed. (NPR — April 16, 2024)
Sara Bristol, mayor of Grants Pass, Ore. The town’s policies regarding homelessness are the subject of a case that will be heard by the U.S. Supreme Court on April 22. The case will have an effect on communities nationwide, deciding whether they can fine or jail people for camping in public. From 2013 to 2018, Grants Pass, which has 40,000 residents, issued 500 citations for camping or sleeping in public, including in vehicles. (Associated Press — April 13, 2024)
Carol Topinka, a retired St. Francis, Wis., superintendent, regarding a job listing for the Cedar Grove-Belgium School District in Sheboygan County, Wis. It listed “Christian values” and “conservative politics” as desired characteristics for a new superintendent at a public school. The qualification has since been removed. It was “a comment made during the focus groups,” according to the law firm aiding the school district with the job search. (WPR — April 11, 2024)
Matt Juanes, a salmon fisherman in California, regarding the state’s decision to close the commercial salmon season after not enough fish were able to swim upriver to spawn. This is the second year in a row that the Pacific Fishery Management Council has voted to close the season, harming hundreds of commercial fishers and tribal members who rely on the season for their livelihoods and food supplies. This year’s scarcity of Chinook salmon is tied to California’s last drought, as the fish have a three-year life cycle. (KQED — April 10, 2024)
Charlie Kirk, of the Nebraska Republican Party, regarding the state’s current election system of splitting electoral votes by congressional district. There is a growing movement to implement a “winner take all” system for the state’s presidential vote. (Associated Press — April 10, 2024)
Milwaukee Common Councilmember Michael Murphy. Murphy opted to not seek re-election this year. He was first elected in 1989 and leaves office as the third-longest-serving Common councilmember in history. (Urban Milwaukee — April 9, 2024)
Brigitte Combs, a resident of Richmond, Va., regarding how, decades ago in Texas, she had been married at 15 years old to a 37-year-old man. Virginia lawmakers have passed legislation that would raise the state’s minimum age for marriage to 18; it’s pending action by Gov. Glenn Youngkin. If signed by the governor, Virginia would become just the 12th state to prohibit minors from getting married. (NPR — April 4, 2024)
Bill Jones, head of enforcement for the California Department of Cannabis Control. Despite voter approval of legalized recreational marijuana back in 2016, sales still occur mostly through the black market. Only about 40 percent of local jurisdictions in the state permit cannabis stores. State officials are trying to crack down on the growing illegal industry, but the penalty for getting caught selling unlicensed marijuana is relatively light, usually a $500 fine, which results in officers having to raid the same storefronts multiple times. (NPR — April 5, 2024)
A complaint from six inmates in the Woodbourne Correctional Facility in Woodbourne, N.Y., after the state corrections department decided to lock down prisons during the total solar eclipse on April 8. The inmates filed a lawsuit in federal court, saying the lockdown violates inmates’ constitutional rights to practice their faiths by preventing them from taking part in a religiously significant event. The celestial event won’t be seen in the U.S. again until 2044. The total eclipse will occur in upstate New York around 3:15 p.m. and last just a few minutes. (NPR — April 2, 2024)
Pauline Wasserman, a Kansas City, Mo., voter, regarding the rejection of a proposed ballot measure that would have established a new stadium, ballpark district and residential and retail development. Many voters questioned the need for their tax dollars to aid the teams and their wealthy owners. Others questioned whether the investment of public funds into a new Royals stadium would provide enough economic benefit. (The Kansas City Star — April 3, 2024)
Scott Berkowitz, founder and president of the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network, regarding new guidance from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services stating that hospitals must receive written informed consent from patients before performing breast, pelvic, prostate and rectal exams for “educational and training purposes.” Doctors and medical students sometimes perform exams of sensitive areas for training purposes when a patient is under anesthesia. Already, at least 20 states have passed laws requiring a patient’s consent. (Associated Press — April 2, 2024)
David Santoro, president of the Pacific Forum think tank in Honolulu, on the growing recognition among Hawaii residents that their state is technically not covered by the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. The clue is in NATO’s name, while Hawaii is in the Pacific. . (CNN, March 30, 2024)
Tennessee state Sen. London Lamar, a Democrat, regarding a new law that GOP Gov. Bill Lee signed on Thursday, March 28. The new law prevents local governments from passing policies to interfere with police stopping crime. After Tyre Nichols was beaten to death by officers last year, the Memphis City Council adopted several ordinances aimed at reforming the city’s police department. (WPLN — March 28, 2024)
Cliff Green, a mechanic at the Black Butte Coal mine in Kemmerer, Wyo., regarding his belief in the resiliency of the coal industry despite the push toward renewable energies. Green was laid off just a few weeks before Christmas last year, which has been a common trend in the industry. Eleven coal power plants in Wyoming are set to be decommissioned or converted to natural gas in the next 15 years. (NPR — March 28, 2024)
Susan Brossman of Street Moms, regarding the way many residents treat the homeless population in Wheeling, W.Va. A majority of the city’s homeless individuals have experienced significant trauma stretching back to childhood, have mental illness or are in active addiction. (West Virginia Watch — March 26, 2024)
John Dixon Keller, who heads the Justice Department's Election Threats Task Force, commenting about the prosecution of 20 people who threatened election workers. (Washington Post — March 25, 2024)
Judith Vogel, the director of the Stockton Maple Project, a program at Stockton University that produces maple syrup. The project is in its fourth year of producing syrup from the 300 acres of maples surrounding the school. In 2022, New Jersey produced 1,817 gallons of maple syrup, worth $88,000; by contrast, Vermont produces nearly 3 million gallons each year, worth approximately $105 million. (Associated Press — March 24, 2024)
Joe Mellis, regarding the effort it took to compost his father’s body after his death. Just seven states have legalized human composting, including Washington, Oregon, Colorado, Nevada, Vermont and New York. In 2027, California will also legalize the practice. (NPR — March 22, 2024)
Alabama state Sen. Will Barfoot regarding his legislation banning state funding of diversity, equity and inclusion programs in schools, public colleges and state agencies. Barfoot’s bill, which Gov. Kay Ivey signed on Wednesday, bans eight “divisive topics” that range from the idea that “any race, color, religion, sex, ethnicity, or national origin is inherently superior or inferior” to the idea that any “individual is inherently racist, sexist, or oppressive, whether consciously or subconsciously.” Since 2023, 80 anti-DEI bills have been introduced in 28 states and Congress. Measures have been signed into law in eight states. (NPR — March 20, 2024)
Florida state Rep. Sam Garrison, regarding a new law that bans homeless people from sleeping in public spaces. There were an estimated 30,700 homeless people in Florida last year. Gov. Ron DeSantis signed the bill on Wednesday. (Associated Press — March 20, 2024)
Bruce Cline, a grain and tobacco farmer in Crofton, Ky., regarding industries’ growing dependence on seasonal workers under the H-2A visa program. A higher proportion of U.S. farms are now relying on contract workers who face demanding jobs and conditions. There have been steps at the federal level to protect migrant workers under the H-2A visa system, but those regulations have strong opponents and there remain no federal rules about heat exposure. (Associated Press — March 19, 2024)
Bill Callahan, Ocean Casino’s general manager, regarding the eroding beaches of Atlantic City, N.J., after weeks of winter storms. Three of the city’s northernmost casinos, Ocean Casino Resort, Resorts and Hard Rock, are urging federal and state governments to expedite a beach replenishment program that was supposed to have been completed last year. Last summer, Ocean Casino spent $600,000 to truck in and dump sand on its beach. (Associated Press — March 18, 2024)
Book critic Ron Charles, after testing ChatGPT’s knowledge of classic literature. (Washington Post – March 15, 2024)
Former Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, regarding his interest in buying the social media platform. (NPR — March 14, 2024)
New Orleans Police Superintendent Anne Kirkpatrick, regarding a vermin infestation of confiscated weed at police headquarters. The building has housed the department since 1968 and is decaying, with mold and cockroaches. The City Council is considering a proposal to spend $7.6 million on a 10-year lease to temporarily relocate the force to a pair of high-rise buildings downtown. (Associated Press — March 13, 2024)
Margaret Nimno, chief engagement officer for enCircle, referring to budget cuts to West Virginia's services for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Despite an ongoing federal investigation into the state's treatment of people with disabilities, an amendment on the final night of the session cut spending. (West Virginia Watch — March 12, 2024)
House Majority Leader Jamie Long is lead author of a Minnesota bill aimed at preventing the practice of majority parties drawing favorable district maps and prohibiting lawmakers from becoming lobbyists within one year of leaving office. (Minnesota Reformer — March 11, 2024)
Ohio state Rep. Sean Brennan, regarding the replacement of police dogs as an unintended consequence of legalizing recreational marijuana. Nearly 400 dogs in the state who were trained to detect marijuana will need to be retired because they cannot reliably be retrained. Proposed legislation would provide each agency with up to $20,000 per dog to offset the cost of acquiring, training and equipping narcotics dogs. (Associated Press — March 7, 2024)
Iowa state Sen. Jason Schultz, regarding his proposed legislation that would remove a mandate that state, county and local decision-making bodies are balanced by gender. (Associated Press — March 7, 2024)
Dawn Ramsey, mayor of South Jordan, Utah, regarding the scores of dried tumbleweeds that bounced into the city after several days of high winds. Crews were able to remove about 13 dumpster loads of tumbleweeds. (Associated Press — March 5, 2024)