Nolan cheers the hands-free law, and Maddie jeers the Trump administration's effect on the Endangered Species Act.

Cheers to the new hands-free law

    Too often, tragedy strikes in a preventable situation. Luckily, Minnesota took a step in the right direction in order to limit such devastations by implementing a hands-free law regarding cell phone usage while driving. The law went into effect August 1.

    The temptation to use a phone while operating a motor vehicle is simply too great for some. Just one quick reply or one short call. Nearly everyone is guilty of it. Maybe, a hefty hit to the wallet will behoove enough to think twice.

    The hands-free law is basically what it sounds like. With the exception of emergencies, the phone cannot be in hands. The only way to access a phone is with voice command, and even that has been proven to distract just enough from the road. Best bet is to put the phone in airplane mode while driving or, even better, turn it off.

    Still want to take the risk? First offense is a $50 ticket. After that, second and later tickets are $275 plus court fees. So, if putting lives at stake is not enough to deter those phone addicts from whipping out their mini-computer, perhaps their financial well-being will be.

– Nolan Beilstein, sports editor

Jeers to the Trump administration for lessening the strength of the Endangered Species Act

    The Endangered Species Act has helped to preserve many endangered species, and while previously the act simply focused on scientific data when deciding which species were endangered and how to preserve them, now, decisions regarding endangered species will also take into consideration economic losses. This means that instead of simply focusing on science, there will also be focus on how saving a species will affect revenue. For example, if a species is endangered or threatened and relies on a certain environment, such as a forest, but a logging company would lose money if the forest was preserved, a choice may be made to cut down the forest for profit rather than saving a dying species. The changes make it harder to preserve species, such as the bald eagle, grizzly bear and American alligator, which were all saved from the brink of extinction by the act. Also, scientists can no longer take climate change into consideration when deciding what needs to be done for a species. This is another clear example of the Trump administration’s continued denial of climate change. By refusing to allow the effects of climate change to be considered, the changes to the act are harming the environment through ignorance. Jeers to destroying protections for many important plants and animals that may not be around in the future if we’re not careful.

– Maddie Everett, intern