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This was a big week for Democrats and a historic week for the country. President Joe Biden signed into law the Inflation Reduction Act, a major climate, health care, and tax bill, delivering a much-needed win for his administration and party and setting a precedent for the future.

The law, the result of negotiations between coal baron Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), allocates hundreds of billions of dollars for clean energy initiatives but includes significant handouts to the fossil fuel industry. Renewable development is contingent upon opening up 600 million acres of federal waters for oil and gas expansion over the next decade.

However, the IRA is the first of its kind in that it specifically signals Congress’ intent to address the existential threat of climate change.

The other big news this week is Florida. Gov. Ron DeSantis, widely seen as a strong 2024 Republican presidential candidate, has been taking aim at his perceived political enemies: trans Americans, women seeking abortions, and public school teachers who want to teach history.

DeSantis has signed bills into law banning trans women from sports, prohibiting discussion relating to sexuality in schools, and banning abortions after 15 weeks. He appointed an anti-trans activist to be his surgeon general. On his watch, Florida’s Medicaid administration has banned coverage of gender-affirming care. Earlier this month, DeSantis fired a prosecutor who declared his intention not to prosecute women seeking abortions. And in April, the governor signed the "Stop WOKE" act, a sweeping bill that restricts conversations about race in classrooms.

This week, DeSantis suffered a setback when a federal judge blocked enforcement of the Stop WOKE act, on the grounds that it was impermissibly vague and an assault on the First Amendment.

With that, please enjoy this week’s selections of top stories from OptOut’s participating outlets.

Your Weekly Independent News Roundup

Biden signs the IRA

For a good breakdown of what is included in the Inflation Reduction Act, give this piece from the STATES NEWSROOM a read.

Biden signs into law Democrats’ wide-ranging climate change, health care and tax bill - Louisiana Illuminator
President Biden signed his party’s signature climate, health care and tax package into law Tuesday, capping more than a year of negotiations.
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For a rundown of what is missing from the bill, check out this piece from PRISM.

Biden signs the Inflation Reduction Act into law
The new law aims to reduce the deficit by more than $300 billion over the next decade
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Did you read our first climate-focused newsletter this week? OptOut Climate Editor Cristian Salazar rounds up the best independent reporting about climate change, energy, and the environment every other Wednesday.

Monster Climate Deal Is Called Historic; Others Angered by Embrace of Fossil Fuel Industries
The best independent coverage of the climate crisis.
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To get future climate newsletters in your inbox, sign into your account and click "Manage" to subscribe to OptOut Climate!

The ‘Free State’ of Florida

Another must-read from PRISM outlines the challenges facing Florida’s teachers who now need to contend with DeSantis’ interference in public education.

Florida teachers prepare as conservative legislation takes effect
The “Don’t Say Gay” and “Stop WOKE Act” bills censor conversations about gender, sexuality, and race in schools
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The ACLU of Florida is suing the state’s university system over a DeSantis law known as HB 7 Individual Freedom that restricts discussion of race in classrooms, the FLORIDA PHOENIX reports.

Civil rights groups sue FL university system; claim new law stifles profs’ instruction about race - Florida Phoenix
National civil rights groups are suing Florida higher education officials on behalf of seven university professors and a Florida State University student, claiming that a new law restricts their ability to discuss race in a variety of fields thus violating free speech. “This law is a dangerous attem…
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Another FLORIDA PHOENIX piece has all you need to know about the legal challenges the state’s 15-week abortion ban.

Abortion clinics ask FL Supreme Court to expedite review of 15-week ban - Florida Phoenix
The abortion providers challenging Florida’s 15-week abortion ban asked the Florida Supreme Court on Friday to block enforcement of the law — and to do so quickly because of the harm the ban is doing to their patients. In pleadings filed with the justices, the providers asked the high court to overr…
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There is some good news, though. STATUS COUP covered a decision by a federal judge to block the Stop WOKE act.

Even so, the buzz around DeSantis continues to grow. This week, Kari Lake, the Trump-endorsed GOP candidate for governor in Arizona and Big Lie enthusiast, lauded the Florida governor’s “BDE.” MAJORITY REPORT dissects the video.

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Media Crisis

Have you ever wondered why so many Americans are willing to believe conspiracy theories like Donald Trump’s Big Lie of voter fraud? Well, FAIR dissects the problem: a failure of media.

Media Trust, Polling and the Big Lie - FAIR
Blaming the “mainstream media” for people believing the Big Lie is almost as preposterous as the Big Lie itself.
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The problems with journalism today stem in part from corporate consolidation. DEFECTOR did a dive this week into reporter layoffs at mega-publisher Gannett, which owns state and local news outfits across the country. It is well worth the read.

With Newspaper Owners Like Gannett, Who Needs Enemies? | Defector
Gannett is not a company. It’s the angel of death.
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Democrats, Democrats, Democrats

Why won’t Joe Biden cancel student debt? What is he waiting for? THE AMERICAN PROSPECT published an article this week dismantling arguments against student debt cancellation.

Time for Student Debt Cancellation
Today on TAP: With the climate bill safely signed into law, Biden can get on with this long-delayed executive action.
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Liz Cheney, who recently lost her congressional primary in Wyoming over her willingness to investigate Donald Trump, has become a favorite of liberals. But JACOBIN is out with a new article examining just how closely aligned Cheney actually is with the former president.

Look Closely at Liz Cheney and Donald Trump. It’s Hard to Tell Much of a Difference.
From backing Middle Eastern regime change to supporting an all-powerful presidency, Liz Cheney’s political career has been an endless affront to democratic values — the same values she now accuses Donald Trump, her former ally, of betraying.
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By now, everyone has heard of Sen. Kyrsten Sinema. The Arizona Democrat played spoiler on several key progressive priorities including the $15 minimum wage and closing the carried interest loophole. Well, this week, the CENTER FOR MEDIA AND DEMOCRACY explored her ties to private equity.

Kyrsten Sinema Has Many Friends in Private Equity - EXPOSEDbyCMD
Top executives from some of the largest private equity firms in the world bankrolled Sinema’s campaign as she blocked a popular provision in the Inflation Reduction Act that would have raised their personal income taxes.
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Thanks as always for staying up-to-date on news from the OptOut independent media network! See you soon.

The OptOut Media Foundation (EIN: 85-2348079) is a nonprofit charity with a mission to educate the public about current events and help sustain a diverse media ecosystem by promoting and assisting independent news outlets and, in doing so, advance democracy and social justice.

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