What we’re reading: Storm causes power outages across Texas and Louisiana

Debris+litters+a+neighborhood+one+block+west+of+Powell+Street+near+Don+Tyson+Parkway+Wednesday%2C+March+30%2C+2022+in+Springdale%2C+Ark.+Severe+storms+that+included+at+least+two+tornadoes+injured+several+people%2C+damaged+homes+and+businesses+and+downed+power+lines+in+Arkansas+and+Missouri+overnight+as+twisters+and+hurricane-force+winds+were+forecast+in+much+of+the+Deep+South+on+Wednesday.%28Flip+Putthoff%2FThe+Northwest+Arkansas+Democrat-Gazette+via+AP%29

AP

Debris litters a neighborhood one block west of Powell Street near Don Tyson Parkway Wednesday, March 30, 2022 in Springdale, Ark. Severe storms that included at least two tornadoes injured several people, damaged homes and businesses and downed power lines in Arkansas and Missouri overnight as twisters and hurricane-force winds were forecast in much of the Deep South on Wednesday.(Flip Putthoff/The Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette via AP)

By Annalise Rogers

More than 102,000 people left without power in Texas and Louisiana

Severe weather in Texas and Louisiana left more than 102,000 citizens in Texas and Louisiana without power, according to ABC News.

Texas, Iowa, Minnesota, and Louisiana were under a tornado watch on Tuesday due to a system affecting millions of Americans. In Iowa and Texas, eight tornados were reported to have caused severe damage.

More tornados are expected on Wednesday. A tornado watch for Texas, Louisiana, Missouri, Arkansas and southern Illinois has been issued. More than 48,000 citizens were reported without power Wednesday afternoon.

The winter storm in Texas this February created a mass power outage, as more than 50,000 citizens were left with no power. Texas Gov. Greg Abbot responded to this crisis by signing a bill to reform Texas’ power grid.

U.S. inflation rates rise but could reverse in the summer

Gasoline prices are displayed at a gas station in Vernon Hills, Ill., Friday, April 1, 2022. Inflation soared over the past year at its fastest pace in more than 40 years, with costs for food, gasoline, housing and other necessities squeezing American consumers and wiping out the pay raises that many people have received. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

The banning of imports of oil and gas from Russia induced a rise in U.S. inflation rates and a surge in U.S. fuel and food prices, according to BBC News.

“The Russia-Ukraine war has added further fuel to the blazing rate of inflation via higher energy, food and commodity prices,” Kathy Bostjancic, chief U.S. economist at Oxford Economics, told BBC.

The lifting of COVID-19 restrictions and the reopening of global economies both led to a rise in inflation rates before the invasion. Some economists believe that in March inflation rates may have peaked or have been close to peaking.

“The bottom line is inflation is going to stick around for a while, but we could see it begin to reverse in the summer months,” Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at Spartan Capital Securities, told BBC.

Mask mandate extension on planes and public transportation

Travelers are lining up at O’Hare airport in Chicago, Friday, July 2, 2021. The federal requirement to wear face masks on airplanes and public transportation is scheduled to expire next week, and airline executives and Republican lawmakers are urging the Biden administration to let the mandate die. The fate of the rule — and consideration of an alternate “framework” of moves to limit the spread of COVID-19 — was under discussion Monday, April 11, 2022 within the U.S. Centers for Disease Control. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

A nationwide mask mandate was extended through the Center for Disease Control and Prevention for all Americans riding on public transportation and planes, according to CBS News.

April 18 was the original expiration date for the mandate, but the Biden administration decided to keep the mandate active until early May.

The fall in COVID-19 cases earlier in the year created pushback from Republican lawmakers against the Biden administration’s mask requirements.

The extension of the travel mask mandate was “on the table,” according to a statement from Dr. Ashish Jha, White House COVID-19 response coordinator. As states have lifted indoor mask mandates, aircraft mandates have been a source of conflict.

Attorney General of South Dakota impeached

South Dakota Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg, joined by a bipartisan group of state attorneys general, speaks to reporters in front of the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington, Sept. 9, 2019. South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem’s cabinet secretary who oversaw an investigation into the state’s attorney general for a 2020 fatal car crash have urged House lawmakers to bring impeachment charges against him. Secretary of Public Safety Craig Price alleges in a letter released Wednesday, March 9, 2022, that Ravnsborg was distracted, was untruthful during the investigation and previously traded “disparaging and offensive” text messages with his staff about other state officials. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg of South Dakota was impeached by the state House on Tuesday after killing a pedestrian in a car crash in 2020, according to AP News.

Ravnsborg initially said he might have hit a large animal when the crash occurred. The incident happened in September 2020 on a rural highway where he fatally struck Joe Boever. Ravnsborg said he didn’t realize he hit a man until the next day when he found the body.

The historic Senate trial takes a two-thirds majority before declaring impeachment charges. In the meantime, Ravnsborg will be temporarily removed from office.

Ravnsborgs charges from the House include committing a crime that caused someone’s death and making “numerous misrepresentations” after the crash to law enforcement officers.

“He should have stepped down, should have done the honorable thing,” said Spencer Gosch, House Speaker who oversaw the House investigation and voted against impeachment.

A majority of the 70 members of the House are required to approve the articles of impeachment, which passed by one vote.

Ravnsborg wrote that no state has ever impeached an elected official for a traffic accident. He added that “in a few hours, your vote will set a precedent for years to come.”

“We’re one step closer to justice. We’re not done,” said Nick Nemec, Boever’s cousin.