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Sundial

Rep. Wasserman Schultz, Palm Beach County losing farmland, how psychedelics affect our mind and body

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Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz is pushing a bill looking to keep insurrectionists out of office. Plus, Palm Beach County farmers are losing ground to developers. And a UM researcher decided to look at the impact of psychedelics on health during the pandemic.

On this Monday, January 31, edition of Sundial:

Rep. Wasserman Schultz

"Who is an insurrectionist?"

It's a question that has bigger legal implications now, after the January 6, 2021 attack on the U.S. Capitol, and during the 2022 election cycle.

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One case in North Carolina is already brewing around this question. A group of lawyers is challenging the re-election bid of Republican Rep. Madison Cawthorn. The attorneys argue that because of his encouragement of the January 6 insurrection, he is not qualified to hold office.

This could set a precedent to challenge other Republican lawmakers. Or even future candidates.

Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the Democratic congresswoman from South Florida, joined Sundial to discuss a bill she’s working on that would prevent anyone who is proven to be an "insurrectionist" from holding public office.

Rep. Wasserman Schultz
Former President Donald Trump was impeached for inciting the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, but has been acquitted by the Senate.

Palm Beach County losing farmland

Palm Beach County has some of the best soil in the country for agriculture.

They’re leading the country in the sale of hay and are up there too for vegetables, melons and potatoes.

“If you just look at the raw numbers initially, it looks like we've got a thriving agricultural industry,” said reporter Mike Diamond, who has been covering this story for the Palm Beach Post. “But if you go dig down deeper, which we did, and you look at previous years, there's been a dramatic loss of farmland throughout Palm Beach County and particularly in the [Agriculture] Reserve.”

The Agricultural Reserve was created by county commissioners to protect this valuable soil and limit density.

But with land prices skyrocketing, some of this land is being bought out for development. That means a lot of changes to the environment and people’s livelihoods.

“There is definitely a push-pull with development and with the additional residential housing,” said Beth Rappaport, the president of COBWRA, which is a coalition of residential associations in the area.

“We are really behind in Palm Beach County on the infrastructure and just when we are starting to get caught up, more homes are added and then we are behind the eight ball again and we really need to take a look at that and ensure that development is concurrent with infrastructure.”

That would mean extra road service, schools, public transportation and more.

Palm Beach County losing farmland
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How psychedelics affect our mind and body 

More people started using psychedelics during the pandemic.

Is there something about the times we’re living in that has people turning to hallucinogenic substances?

The impacts of these substances that alter our consciousness have been studied for decades — mostly the impact on our mental health.

But when the pandemic struck in 2020, there was an opportunity to study how — and why — people have been using them more. And what the substances really do to our entire bodies — not just our brains.

University of Miami assistant professor and epidemiologist Denise Vidot joined Sundial to discuss her research that goes into how cannabis and psychedelics can impact our “body, mind and soul.”

How psychedelics affect our mind and body 
Michael Pollan is out with a new book about the science behind psychedelics.

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Leslie Ovalle produces WLRN's daily magazine program, Sundial. She previously produced Morning Edition newscasts at WLRN and anchored the midday news. As a multimedia producer, she also works on visual and digital storytelling.