March 18, 2023 - PBS News Weekend full episode
03/18/2023 | 26m 45s | Video has closed captioning.
March 18, 2023 - PBS News Weekend full episode
Problems Playing Video? | Closed Captioning
03/18/2023 | 26m 45s | Video has closed captioning.
March 18, 2023 - PBS News Weekend full episode
Problems Playing Video? | Closed Captioning
JOHN YANG: Tonight on "PBS News Weekend," guns in America.
What some states, like Michigan are doing to tighten gun laws, especially background checks and red flag laws.
Then, the growing struggle many pet owners go through to cover the cost of their furry friends, veterinary care.
CHARLOTTE AUSTREW: I just didn't have the money to take her when she needed to go.
You know, you're looking at -- it's $100 to walk through the door, you know, no matter what you're getting done.
JOHN YANG: The pros and cons for student athletes as they take advantage of the NCAA's name, image and likeness policy, especially how it's playing out for women.
(BREAK) JOHN YANG: Good evening.
I'm John Yang.
Former President Donald Trump took to social media today to say he expects to be arrested Tuesday in New York and with echoes of January 6, called on supporters to protest.
A spokesman later said Trump has no direct knowledge of an impending arrest or when it might happen.
His attorney said the post was based on news reports.
A spokesman for the Manhattan District Attorney's office wouldn't comment but New York officials have been discussing security at the Manhattan Criminal Court in case there is an indictment.
The Manhattan prosecutor has been investigating payments during the 2016 campaign intended to buy the silence of several women who claim to have had extramarital sex with Trump, including adult film star Stormy Daniels.
If indicted, Trump would be the first former president to be charged with a crime.
Wyoming has become the first state in the country to categorically outlaw the use of abortion pills, the most common way to end a pregnancy in the United States.
Wyoming's ban takes effect in July pending any legal challenges.
Several other states have introduced legislation to ban or restrict abortion pills.
Medication abortion remains legal in more than half the country, but more than a dozen states limit its use.
More demonstrations across France today as people protest the government's move to raise the country's retirement age from 62 to 64.
Some demonstrators vandalized buildings and lit fires in the streets.
Police deployed tear gas.
In Paris, protests took the form of growing piles of trash in the streets as garbage collectors were on strike for the 13th straight day.
A vote of no confidence in President Emmanuel Macron's government is expected early next week.
A wartime deal that allows Ukrainian grain exports to safely travel the black sea was extended today just as it was set to expire.
It's the second renewal of the unprecedented deal.
But it's not clear how long this extension will last.
Ukraine claims it will be for another 120 days.
Russia claims it's only for 60 days.
Grain from Ukraine is an essential lifeline for impoverished countries suffering mass starvation.
And March madness is in full swing.
Don't worry about spoilers.
No major upsets in the basketball tournament so far today.
But last night brought the biggest upset of the men's tournament when number 16 Seed Fairleigh Dickinson defeated Number One seed Purdue.
It's only the second time in history that's happened.
In the women's tournament overwhelming favorite, the university of South Carolina dominated in its first-round game.
They play again tomorrow.
And in other college sports news, Brown University freshman Olivia Pichardo became the first woman ever to appear in a men's division one baseball game when she pinch it in the bottom of the 9th inning.
Still to come on "PBS News Weekend," the rising cost of veterinary care in America.
And how female college athletes are navigating a world of endorsement and advertising deals.
(BREAK) JOHN YANG: While Congress is unable to agree on major new federal gun safety legislation, some states are making progress on their own laws.
This week, the Democrat controlled Michigan Senate passed a major gun safety package, sending it to the House, which is also controlled by Democrats and which is expected to pass it as well.
The action was spurred by last month's shooting, which killed three students and wounded five others at Michigan State University, less than four miles from the Michigan capital.
Lisa Geller is the Director of State Policy at Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Violence Solutions.
Lisa, a lot of these things in this Michigan package are things that gun safety advocates want Congress to do, expanding the types of transactions where a background check is required, red flag laws, requirements to store guns safely.
This state law going to be as effective as a national law?
LISA GELLER, Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Violence Solutions: So first, thank you for having me.
And what we know about how gun policy and gun violence prevention happens is it's typically at the state level.
So, while we did see last summer President Biden signed the historic bipartisan Safer Communities Act into law, most of the action we've seen on gun violence has been at the state level.
So, while it would great to pass federal, you know, universal background checks, it would be great to have a universal safe storage law that applied to all 50 states.
And of course, the same with an extremist protection order.
It is unfortunately, the reality of getting gun policy passed is that we do it at the state level.
JOHN YANG: The Michigan State shooter was able to buy his weapons legally, even though he had a history of mental problems with the laws that -- are under consideration prevented that?
LISA GELLER: Extreme risk protection orders are designed to be a preventative measure.
So, if an individual is at risk of harm to self or others, an individual in that state, in Michigan's law, it could be family, household members, law enforcement and other groups could petition a court to make sure that they temporarily don't have access to firearms.
So while I won't say that any one policy here would have absolutely prevented what we saw at Michigan State and at Oxford High School the year before, we do know that these laws are being used every day to temporarily restrict access to firearms from someone at risk of gun violence.
JOHN YANG: And while the law being considered in the legislature now would expand, the background checks include gun shows close what's called the gun show loophole.
You've got to your South State, Indiana, which has much less restrictive gun laws as the people in Chicago and Illinois know.
So how do you solve that problem, the sort of checkerboard nature of state laws and the fact that state borders are porous?
LISA GELLER: Well, you're absolutely right.
And what I say all the time is your state's gun laws are only as good as your neighboring state's gun laws.
So, certainly someone, if they were very determined, could perhaps travel to a neighboring state and still possess a gun.
And so it's important to put in the protections in state law to prevent that purchase and possession of firearms.
JOHN YANG: Are there other states that are moving forward in this way?
LISA GELLER: This legislative session, there is a lot happening on gun violence prevention.
Michigan's neighbor in Minnesota is also considering an extreme risk protection order, also known as a red flag law, 19 states and the District of Columbia already have these laws in place.
And what we saw last summer was that Congress allocated funding for the first time to implement these gun laws.
So, I'm hopeful that not only the 19 states and District of Columbia with ERPO laws, extreme risk protection orders will now have funding to implement them, but other states will follow suit now that there is a funding stream to make sure that they're used equitably and efficiently.
JOHN YANG: I know in your role you've been talking to the lawmakers in Michigan.
What have they said about the Michigan state shooting, how it affected them, and whether this is the main impetus for what's going on now?
LISA GELLER: Because Democrats now control the trifecta in Michigan, that is really what's ultimately making these bills able to go through and be signed by Governor Whitmer into law, hopefully in the next couple of weeks.
Democrats also tried to introduce this legislation after the Oxford High School shooting in Michigan and have actually introduced gun violence prevention policies for several years.
But the Michigan State University shooting, combined with the fact that Democrats have control of the Michigan legislature means that we can actually do something now to keep people safe from gun violence in the State of Michigan.
JOHN YANG: You've mentioned a couple of times the Safer Communities Act, which was passed by Congress last year, signed into law by President Biden.
Is that having an effect?
LISA GELLER: Well, we already know that funding has been allocated to states to implement their crisis intervention orders.
Those orders include the Red Flag Law, the Extremist Protection Order.
I am proud to announce that we also -- the Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Violence Solutions, got a grant from the Department of Justice to enact a national Extremist Protection Order Training and Technical Assistance Center.
So, as the co-director of that new center, I will be able to work directly with states that have extremist protection orders to make sure that they are utilizing the funds and implementing them in the ways that they need to be able to reduce gun violence.
So, it is a historic accomplishment that the Biden administration has been able to do to prioritize gun violence prevention.
And we saw it just this week with some more executive orders that really solidified the bipartisan Safer Communities Act.
And I am hopeful and excited about the next couple of years with federal funding to enact these policies.
JOHN YANG: Lisa Geller of the Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Violence Solutions, thank you very much.
LISA GELLER: Thank you for having me.
JOHN YANG: Throughout the pandemic, millions of Americans have become pet owners.
Today, about 70% of U.S. households have pets.
Many owners struggle to cover the costs of veterinary care.
Special Correspondent Cat Wise traveled to Tennessee to find out more.
CAT WISE: It's breakfast time in Charlotte Austrew's kitchen and Bubba, Tiny, Tina, King, and Buttercup are hungry.
CHARLOTTE AUSTREW: Come on, Buttercup.
CAT WISE: Austrew, who is 68, lives alone on the outskirts of Knoxville, where she takes care of her great granddaughter and cleans homes on occasion.
Her pets are a huge source of comfort.
CHARLOTTE AUSTREW: They sleep with me, King's usually on my lap 24/7.
They're just such company.
CAT WISE: Austrew says many of her cats and dogs over the years arrived at her door as strays.
Others she's taken in from family members, including Dixie, who passed away several years ago.
CHARLOTTE AUSTREW: This is my poor Dixie girl.
This is the last night before we had her put to sleep, she couldn't walk no more.
CAT WISE: Dixie's death was especially tough because Austrew couldn't afford some of the veterinary care Dixie needed toward the end of her life.
CHARLOTTE AUSTREW: I just loved her so much.
Makes me cry right now just to think about it.
I just didn't have the money to take her when she needed to go.
CAT WISE: She says, it's been difficult to cover medications and vaccinations for her other pets, too.
Austrew is far from alone.
According to a 2018 study from the University of Tennessee, nearly 30% of pet owners experienced barriers to veterinary care.
The main one, cost.
DR. MICHAEL BLACKWELL, Program for Pet Health Equity, University of Tennessee: The cost of care continue to rise, while household income is not.
That's the national crisis that's at work.
CAT WISE: Dr. Michael Blackwell, who led the study, is a veterinarian and director of the university's program for pet health equity.
DR. MICHAEL BLACKWELL: Over time, what we have seen happen is certain animals like dogs and cats have become members of the family, and I mean quite literally, members of the family.
We coined the term bonded family, getting at the human animal bond, at that social unit, and that's the kind of society we are.
CAT WISE: But Blackwell says many of America's bonded families are not getting the care they need.
DR. MICHAEL BLACKWELL: Unlike human health care, veterinary medicine still operates on a cash basis, 3% of the transactions involve pet health insurance, and therefore, when the public goes in for veterinary care, they are paying cash.
It may be on a credit card using debt, but not third-party support.
One can be middle class and still be challenged to pay, especially an unforeseen veterinary bill.
CAT WISE: Blackwell says everyone should be able to enjoy the benefits of owning pets regardless of income.
And he says the lack of access to veterinary care can impact owners mental health and the overall public health of communities.
Another significant issue for owners a shortage of veterinarians.
According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, there are roughly 150 million dogs and cats in the U.S. and just under 60,000 veterinarians who care for them.
Those shortages exacerbated during the pandemic have led to longer appointment wait times.
When pet owners are struggling, they often turn to animal shelters for help.
AMANDA HILTON, Young-Williams Animal Center: For families, their pet can be the reason they keep going, the reason they get up in the morning.
CAT WISE: Amanda Hilton is the Pet Resource Center and Intake Manager at the Young-Williams Animal Center in Knoxville, which takes in about 1000 animals a month.
Hilton says roughly 20% are owner surrenders, often because of housing policies that prohibit pets medical care owners can't afford.
AMANDA HILTON: So this is Dobby, Dobby came injured.
She's had to have her hips replaced.
CAT WISE: Hi, Dobby.
AMANDA HILTON: Hi, Seago.
CAT WISE: An injured dog arrived in animal control truck.
The owners suspected it was hit by a car when they were out of town.
NO NAME GIVEN: Apparently, he, like, broke the chain and was wandering around.
NO NAME GIVEN: The owner surrendered because he couldn't afford vet care.
AMANDA HILTON: It does happen often that seems like the only option.
I know I don't have the money to go take my pet to the vet.
There's one option left, and that's the local shelter.
CAT WISE: Nationally, there are organizations trying to address the problem, like the Humane Society of the United States.
Their pets for life program offers free or heavily subsidized pet care services, including transportation to appointments.
In Portland, Oregon, a new community veterinary hospital provides services on a sliding scale to under resourced clients and their pets.
And in 2020, Dr. Blackwell and his University of Tennessee colleagues launched a research project called AlignCare in Knoxville, Asheville, and eventually eight other communities around the country.
DR. MICHAEL BLACKWELL: AlignCare is designed to spread the cost and to control the cost.
If we get more parties involved with trying to support the care, then we have a better chance of success.
CAT WISE: Here's how it works.
Participating veterinary clinics reduce their fees by 20%.
Eligible pet owners are responsible for a 20% copay per visit and must be enrolled in a government assistance program like food stamps in order to qualify.
AlignCare, which is supported by grants, pays the remaining amount.
The program, which also offers support services through veterinary social workers, currently serves about 1400 pet owners, including Charlotte Austrew, who enrolled earlier this year.
DR. EMMIE TRUETT, Central Veterinary Hospital: Hi, Charlotte.
CHARLOTTE AUSTREW: How are you?
CAT WISE: She brought in one of her cats recently to Knoxville's central veterinary hospital to see if he needed oral surgery, a procedure Austrew says she probably couldn't afford on her own.
DR. EMMIE TRUETT: These resorptive lesions that pop up in the mouth, they can happen at a young age.
CAT WISE: Veterinarian Dr. Emmy Truitt says it's not just about treating ailments or injuries.
DR. EMMIE TRUETT: We actually get a lot of dogs and cats that come in with infectious diseases that could have been prevented with vaccines.
Parvovirus is a virus that we do vaccinate dogs for.
A lot of them that didn't have any vaccines beforehand are really, really sick.
CAT WISE: AlignCare's initial research grant funding will be ending by June 2024.
Dr. Blackwell and his team are now in the process of turning it into an independent nonprofit.
In the meantime, partner communities are being asked to raise their own funds, and some enrollees, including Austrew are losing benefits for now.
That worries her, but she remains hopeful.
CHARLOTTE AUSTREW: I think it would be nice if people that love animals would step up and everybody pitch in and try to help.
CAT WISE: For "PBS News Weekend," I'm Cat Wise in Knoxville, Tennessee.
JOHN YANG: This year's NCAA men's and women's basketball tournaments have tipped off as the sport is getting the highest television ratings in years.
For nearly two years now, athletes have been able to capitalize on the popularity of college sports through endorsement, sponsorship and advertising deals, a policy known as name, image and likeness.
It's a chance for college athletes, very few of whom go on to professional sports careers, to make some money.
But for female athletes, it's also exposing them to the dark side of fan culture.
Molly Yanity is a former Sports Reporter who now teaches Journalism at Quinnipiac University.
Molly, when NIL, when name, image, likeness began, a lot of commentators said this was going to beneficial for female athletes in sort of the less glamorous sports, the sports that didn't get a lot of attention to give them an opportunity to earn some money, has it worked out that way?
MOLLY YANITY, Quinnipiac University: Yes, it has worked out that way.
It has worked out that way in the sense that we see a lot of universities putting together collectives.
I just read in the Athletic this week that UCLA, for example, women's basketball, is putting together a collective where each air will get something along the lines of $50,000 each.
So, in that sense, yes, it is helping.
It is putting money into the pockets of female athletes, particularly -- and athletes and non-rev sports.
It is not doing it to the extent of men's football and men's basketball courts.
As a matter of fact, the only woman in the top 10 right now is a gymnast from LSU, Olivia Dunne, where her social media is valued at about two and a half million dollars.
JOHN YANG: Let's talk about Olivia Dunne.
There are many people who say that what she's doing on her social media isn't as much about athletic excellence as it is about sort of selling conventional standards of beauty.
Is that a difference between the men and the women, how they're using NIL?
MOLLY YANITY: Without question, this is the entertainment business.
College sports is an entertainment business.
And Olivia Dunne has become -- I mean, she is, you know, all traditional standards of beauty.
She hits those.
The thing that is really interesting to me about this is that it's literally impacted her safety when she went to a meet in Utah, their bus was surrounded by a bunch of boys and men clamoring for her attention.
Security was brought in.
It was a, you know, a less than desirable situation when we're talking about the safety of a young woman.
This is where the money is for her right now.
And you can't really say, hey, you know, she brought this on herself, or something like that.
You know, she's just conforming to that traditional sense of where she is in the spectrum of things.
We can look at this as, one hand, a great thing she is monetizing this.
She can do what she wants, all the power to her for that.
But on the other hand, there are going to be a lot of female athletes that can't capitalize on this.
Their game is what they need to capitalize.
And we've seen especially with the women's basketball tournament right now, I just watched a commercial with the entire South Carolina basketball team on it for under armor.
That is still there, that does put money in their pockets.
But being the entertainment business that it is, Olivia Dunne has found her niche and the universities are going to have to figure out how to protect their athletes when it comes to things like this.
JOHN YANG: She's also -- Olivia Dunne has also got a lot of criticism for being regressive, as it were, that the people who have fought for equality in college sports for women say it should be about athletic excellence and that this is going back to the idea of women as decoration.
What do you say to those people?
MOLLY YANITY: Yeah, this is one of these things where -- you know, one hand, I don't disagree with that statement, but on the other, as a gymnast, she's not going to go pro and make millions of dollars.
This is her opportunity to do that.
If her looks and her athleticism are what can bring this out, she has to capitalize on it.
If what she is looking for is that money and you can't knock someone for that.
Did they forget about Anna Kournikova, a tennis player who never won a major tournament, but her face was all over everything.
She got endorsement deals.
She's a millionaire because she has those traditional good looks.
JOHN YANG: Are there any changes you'd like to see in the school's name, image, likeness policies to address these questions?
MOLLY YANITY: I think that conversation would take an awful long time for here, but very honestly, much of the name, image, likeness policy, if you will, came out of state legislatures, meaning that there's no federal policy, there's not even an overall NCAA policy.
For all of the rulemaking that the NCAA purports to do, this is something where in one way or another, it has to get under control.
And I say that with the quotes around it because it can't be limiting to the athletes.
I think that the first things that need to happen are that universities need to provide safety, security for female athletes.
And the other thing is that with the non-revenue sports particularly, I think we're going to be seeing, you know, a tidal shift in how college sports runs.
And we're starting to see increments of that here and there.
There's always been the haves and have nots in college sport.
But really what I think we're going to see is a further separation of that.
And when that happens, we're going to see non-revenue sports and revenue sports run differently, I believe.
And the name, image and likeness will -- I think we're just seeing the beginning of this, but there will be guide rails put in place.
JOHN YANG: Molly Yanity of Quinnipiac University.
Thank you very much.
MOLLY YANITY: Thank you, John.
JOHN YANG: You online right now, William Brangham and Nicole Ellis break down the severity of the current avian flu outbreak and how it's affecting both birds and people across the country.
All that and more is on our website, pbs.org/NewsHour.
And that is "PBS News Weekend" for this Saturday.
On Sunday, a look inside the world of book talk, the growing online community of book lovers making recommendations and reviews and helping drive book sales.
I'm John Yang.
For all of my colleagues, thanks for joining us.
See you tomorrow.