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TPS extended for Venezuelans; some doctors' worries about abortion access; goin' solar

Carl Juste
Miami Herald

Venezuelans are asking for more protections in the U.S. as many continue to flee human rights violations in their home country. Plus, some South Florida doctors argue lawmakers without medical expertise shouldn't be making laws around abortion. And Sundial’s Solar Series continues.

On this Monday, July 11, edition of Sundial:

TPS extended for Venezuelans

The Biden administration has extended Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Venezuelans.

TPS protects immigrants from deportation during humanitarian crises or natural disasters and this special status allows them to work in the U.S.

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Those protections are now extended for another 18 months.

That relief is still not available for Venezuelans who arrived in the U.S. more recently — those who arrived after March 8, 2021, to be exact.

Earlier today, we spoke with WLRN’s America’s editor Tim Padgett. This conversation was recorded before the Biden administration’s decision came down.

He also joined Sundial to discuss the anniversary of the historic protests in Cuba against the regime in power. Those protests were unprecedented and made international headlines. They were followed by harsh crackdowns from the Cuban government and a mass exodus that we’re still seeing from Cubans on the island. Find Padgett’s reporting on this story here.

TPS extended for Venezuelans

Some doctors' worries about abortion access

Florida's new state law banning most abortions after 15 weeks leaves health care providers with fewer options when treating pregnant patients.

Some South Florida physicians are frustrated that state legislators are making abortion laws without medical expertise. They argue these policies could harm patients and providers throughout the state. WLRN’s health care reporter Veronica Zaragovia shares her reporting on Sundial.

Find the full story here.

Some doctors worries about abortion access
Abortion-rights activist argues with anti-abortion-rights protesters outside the U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday.

Goin' Solar

Florida is the sunshine state. But as a state we’re not taking advantage of that resource.

There are roughly 90,000 homes in Florida that are powered by solar energy, according to the Public Service Commission. That’s out of 9.5 million homes that the U.S. Census Bureau documents in the state.

Why aren’t there more solar panels?

We spoke with Miami Herald environment reporter Alex Harris about that. It's part of a recent series — Sundial's been exploring solar energy.

"Something I often hear from folks is that they didn't realize that to get the best amount of energy and have the most efficient solar panel array, like how they lay it out on your roof, sometimes you have to cut down trees," Harris said. "And I think folks sometimes are sad for the idea that they might have to lose the tree that they've grown up with for years or decades just so they can have the most optimal solar array."

"Then the other thing I think folks don't often know is you have to have a roof in pretty good condition because those panels are a little extra weight ... So you might need to double-check your roof," Harris added. "Is it in tip-top shape? Do you need a new one? Do you need to patch something up? And I know building codes have changed a little bit now for some cities and counties around here, you have to have a solar-ready roof."

She continued by explaining there are legislative issues around adding solar to more commercial spaces, as opposed to individual homes.

"If we used up all that available space we have in big box retail and shopping centers and parking garages, we could really do a number on the amount of solar power we have in the state ... ultimately, the government can't force businesses to do that," she said. "I think people sometimes think it's easier than it is. There's a couple more considerations than maybe they think about when they look at their neighbors' roofs and see a bunch of beautiful shiny solar panels on it."

To read and listen to part one of our recent solar series, click here.

To read and listen to part two from last week, click here.

You can listen to Monday's full conversation with the Miami Herald's Alex Harris, below.

Goin' Solar

Leslie Ovalle Atkinson is the former lead producer behind Sundial. As a multimedia producer, she also worked on visual and digital storytelling.
Caitie Muñoz, formerly Switalski, leads the WLRN Newsroom as Director of Daily News & Original Live Programming. Previously she reported on news and stories concerning quality of life in Broward County and its municipalities for WLRN News.