Stories You Might Have Missed This Week

Prosecutors drop Flint charges, FEMA is short-staffed, and Illinois affirms women's reproductive rights.
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Hurricane Irma (C) in the Caribbean Sea, Tropical Storm Jose (R) in the Atlantic Ocean, and Tropical Storm Katia (L) in the Gulf of Mexico taken at 15:45 UTC on September 8th, 2017.

Hurricane Irma (C) in the Caribbean Sea, Tropical Storm Jose (R) in the Atlantic Ocean, and Tropical Storm Katia (L) in the Gulf of Mexico taken at 15:45 UTC on September 8th, 2017.

This week at Pacific Standard, we brought you stories on the odd bedfellows fighting President Donald Trump's rollback on ethanol restrictions, what Temporary Protected Status would mean for Venezuelans in the United States, and the use of blackouts to prevent wildfires in California.

But as usual, there was much more news this week than our small newsroom could could cover. Here are a few more stories we've been following this week.

Prosecutors Drop Charges in the Flint Water Crisis Case

In a move that surprised many, the Michigan attorney general's office this week dropped all criminal charges against the officials who had been accused of causing Flint's water crisis, saying that "all evidence was not pursued," according to the New York Times. The team that investigated the charges was appointed by Bill Schuette, a Republican, who was the state's attorney general until January, when he was replaced by Democrat Dana Nessel.

It's possible that some of these officials could be charged again, prosecutors told the Times.

FEMA's Staffing Comes Up Short as Hurricane Season Begins

During a hearing to evaluate the agency's preparedness for future disasters this week, Peter Gaynor, acting administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, told the House Committee on Homeland Security that FEMA is "probably short a few thousand employees when it comes to reserves," E&E News reports.

The 2019 Atlantic hurricane season began on June 1st. AccuWeather is predicting that this season with be "a near- to slightly above-normal season with 12 to 14 storms," with two to four of those expected to be major hurricanes.

A New Illinois Law Protects Abortion Rights

At a moment when many states are restricting abortion access, some states are taking steps to protect the right to abortion in the event that Roe v. Wade is overturned. Signed by governor JB Pritzker on Wednesday, Illinois' Reproductive Health Act establishes a fundamental right to reproductive health care, according to a news release from the governor's office.

"When it comes to contraception, abortion, and reproductive care, this law puts the decision-making where it belongs: in the hands of women and their doctors," Pritzker said in a statement. "In this state, women will always have the right to reproductive health care."

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