Even though the final midterm election results for The House of Representatives are still up in the air and most states voted as predicted, there have been a few unexpected flipped seats, codified laws, and historic victories.
A key Democratic win happened in Pennsylvania when democrat John Fetterman flipped the Republican Senate seat in his victory against opponent Mehmet Oz. These campaigns have been one of the most watched Senate races in the country, and this race was one of the most contentious. Abortion rights and laws were a significant issue that were voted on in the midterm elections as a whole. Fetterman was a firm pro-choice supporter, and it is presumed that this was a key element in the Democrat’s win. Another major seat flip happened in The House when Sean Maloney conceded to Mike Lawler. Maloney was the chair of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee; a committee that selects candidates to run for democratic positions in The House and Senate, runs and organizes campaigns, and supports democratic candidates. The victory was such a remarkable feat as it was the first time a campaign chairman has lost a re-election in either party since 1980.
During midterm elections, ballot measures are also voted on. Ballot measures can be new laws, state constitutional amendments, propositions, or questions that are voted on either state or local level. They are used to gather public opinion and set proposed legislation in place. Idaho had two ballot measures: an advisory question about a 5.8 percent tax rate for income and corporate taxes and allocating more money to education funds, and state amendment 102 which would allow the state legislature to assemble a special session, not just the governor. The advisory poll, which does not have an immediate effect on any laws or amendments but rather gauges public opinion, resulted in 79.8 percent in favor of the new tax system. Amendment SJR 102 passed with 51.8 percent.
There have been several historic victories to come out of this year’s midterm elections. Many women have broken barriers and have become the first female officials elected in their state; these include Maura Healey, the first openly lesbian governor of Massachusetts; governor Sarah Sanders of Arkanas; and Summer Lee, the first Black woman elected to Congress in Pennslyvania. Democrat Maxwell Frost will be the youngest member of Congress once he is sworn in next January. At only 25 years old, he is the first Gen Z individual to secure a seat in The House, and he represents the start of a new generation entering the United States government.
After a nail-bitingly close race, Democrats are projected to keep control of the Senate after Nevada called their election on Wednesday night. With this addition, Democrats will keep their slim majority with or without a Democratic win in Georgia, which could still go either way. This is due to the fact that Vice-President Kamala Harris can cast a tie-breaking vote to keep Democrats in control.
Hearing loss is usually correlated with old age, but it is common among teens too. In fact, there are several students at Bonneville High School who are hard of hearing (HoH). According to The Center for Audiology in Texas, one in five teenagers exhibit at least some hearing loss, although the majority of that is damage from loud noises. One misconception about HoH or deaf individuals is that all hearing loss is the same, which is far from the truth. Hearing loss is scientifically measured in five stages: mild, moderate, moderately severe, severe, and profound. When an individual is deaf, they can not understand speech even with amplification, and profound or total deafness refers to a complete lack of hearing.
Samuel Memmott, and Rebekah Grover are HoH seniors at Bonneville High School. They are both the only person in their family with hearing loss, and neither of them know what caused their impairment.
Memmott was diagnosed at the end of fourth grade, but his hearing had been degrading for around a year before his official diagnosis. His hearing loss is moderate to severe, and is still declining over time. He wears hearing aids in both ears and would have to give a microphone to his teachers that automatically connects with his hearing aids, but has since learned to lip read and infer from context clues well enough that the microphone is no longer necessary. When asked what most people do not realize about hearing loss, he said, “It's not only frustrating for people when I have to say ‘what' 20 times, it's also super frustrating for me wishing I could just hear better, it makes you feel fairly inadequate.” Despite the downsides, Memmott points out a silver lining: his hearing aids have bluetooth to connect directly to his phone’s audio. Both Memmott and Grover have a 504 plan for their hearing loss, which means that teachers are required to provide accommodations such as captions on videos, printed notes, and a desk at the front of the classroom.
Grover was diagnosed with moderate hearing loss just before sixth grade and has been wearing hearing aids in both ears ever since. In an interview, she said, “I can still hear sounds without my hearing aids, but sounds are very muffled and speech loses its clarity.” Because of her hearing loss, social situations can be difficult sometimes. “Those who are deaf or HoH may interrupt without realizing someone was talking simply because they could not hear,” Grover stated.
Just because someone has hearing loss does not mean that they can not participate in everyday school activities and social conversations. Grover stated, “When hearing people say ‘nevermind’ or ‘it's not important’ after being asked to repeat themselves, it is exclusive.” While accommodations sometimes have to be made for HoH or deaf individuals, they should not be treated any differently than a hearing person.
“Grr…” Many students in traditional United States school systems hear rumbling coming from their stomachs in the middle of class. Since the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has reduced, U.S. government officials have decided that the need for free school lunch has expired. Free school lunch was available during the pandemic because many people were not being paid and had to stay at home. The government temporarily made school lunch free to help families who were already living in harsh conditions. Officials hoped that subtracting the cost of school lunch would help low income families.
According to California’s Department of Education, California is the only state in the US in which students are still given free lunch; however, they are only provided in the schools with high poverty rates. California governor Gavin Newsom recently signed a mandate pushing schools to apply for federal provision. This allows schools’ incomes to be evaluated and government officials can determine whether they qualify for free lunch or not. It is believed among many politicians that free school lunches are no longer needed because of the ending of the pandemic. According to some, most workers are able to be paid for working again and income is less of a concern.
Many students would argue that school lunches are still a problem even though the pandemic is nearly over. Some parents have naturally low wages and the pandemic did not affect them in any way. These parents could have a hard time financing school lunches into their budget because they are used to it being provided. Before the virus, school lunch was not free. Free school meals were only to help families who needed financial support during covid, not all families low income.
A survey was taken among students at BHS. According to the survey, most of the students going to Bonneville ate school lunch last year but do not this year because many can not afford to pay for the lunches. Although less than half of the students at BHS are affected, those who are must face harsh results from the loss of universal school lunch. According to a Bonneville student, their transition to buying lunch has not been easy, “In four days, I will not have any of the money that I saved for school lunch this summer left. It was supposed to last me for a lot longer than that. I will not be able to afford to eat.” This student is one of many at BHS who is suffering from this change. Many students are in distress and the government does not have unlimited funds to pay for students’ lunches. This is likely to be a long lasting conflict but hopefully the result will be full and content bellies.
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