Newscasts

PNS Daily Newscast - July 20, 2018.  


Trump now wants Putin to visit the White House this fall; Also on the Friday rundown: health insurance rates to rise by almost 9 percent in California; and as the climate crises reaches “Zero Hour” young people take a stand.

Daily Newscasts

New Law Aims to Fix Food Assistance in Some Colorado Counties

A new law designed to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of food assistance in Colorado was signed last week by Gov. John Hickenlooper. (Hunger Free Colorado)
A new law designed to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of food assistance in Colorado was signed last week by Gov. John Hickenlooper. (Hunger Free Colorado)
June 6, 2016

DENVER – Struggling Coloradans could face fewer barriers to accessing the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.

Gov. John Hickenlooper last week signed a legislation designed to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the SNAP program and other services.

Colorado Rep. Bob Rankin, a co-sponsor of the legislation, says the move will help people get assistance.

"In some counties, and not all, there were significant delays and significant errors in the determination of eligibility and providing those services,” he points out. “So we needed to fix that."

Rankin, a Republican from Carbondale, says going forward, the measure will take a carrot and stick approach to improving performance by shifting federal rewards and penalties from the state to counties.

The USDA has repeatedly criticized Colorado for its handling of the federal SNAP program. Some counties were found to enroll just 10 percent of people eligible when the national average is 75 percent.

Last year, the state was forced to pay a $1 million sanction to settle federal complaints.

Cate Blackford, director of public policy for Hunger Free Colorado, says the food assistance program not only provides critical short-term support for thousands of residents, the program also impacts local economies.

"For over a decade Colorado has been among the bottom of the national rankings in terms of access to food assistance,” she states. “We've lost over $680 million in grocery sales last year alone because of low participation among eligible households."

Blackford adds the majority of people eligible for help are children, seniors, working adults, veterans and people with disabilities.

Rankin says the plan is to assess why assistance programs work better in some counties than others, and then share best practices and tools with under-performing counties.

"This particular bill is one of the best things we did this year because it's not just about spending more money,” he stresses. “It's about spending money more efficiently, more effectively, and really helping people who need help."

The Colorado General Assembly approved the measure unanimously.


Eric Galatas, Public News Service - CO