PNS National Newscast

Audio Activation
"Siri, play the Public News Service (podcast)"
"Hey Google, play the Public News Service podcast"
"Alexa, play Public News Service podcast"
or "Alexa, what's my news flash?" once you set it up in the Alexa app

2020Talks

Audio Activation
"Siri, play the 2020Talks podcast"
"Hey Google, play the 2020Talks podcast"
"Alexa, play Two-Thousand-Twenty Talks podcast"
or "Alexa, what's my news flash?" once you set it up in the Alexa app

Newscasts

PNS Daily Newscast - March 2, 2021 


Human rights advocates applaud Biden's policy to reunite immigrant children separated from parents; pivotal SCOTUS arguments today on Voting Rights Act.


2021Talks - March 2nd, 2021 


President Biden meets with Mexican President Lopez Obrador; DHS Secretary Mayorkas says separated immigrant families may be able to stay in U.S.; and Sen. Elizabeth Warren introduces legislation for a wealth tax.

Hunger Relief, Equal Rights to See Legislative Push in MN

Downloading Audio

Click to download

We love that you want to share our Audio! And it is helpful for us to know where it is going.
Media outlets that are interested in downloading content should go to www.newsservice.org
Click Here if you do not already have an account and need to sign up.
Please do it now, as the option to download our audio packages is ending soon

Anti-hunger groups say the pandemic has exacerbated food insecurity in Minnesota. They want state lawmakers to adopt short-term and long-term changes as they respond to greater demands for food donations. (Adobe Stock)
Anti-hunger groups say the pandemic has exacerbated food insecurity in Minnesota. They want state lawmakers to adopt short-term and long-term changes as they respond to greater demands for food donations. (Adobe Stock)
January 6, 2021

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Minnesota lawmakers have kicked off the 2021 session, with pandemic-related issues commanding most of the attention. Advocates of specific proposals, some directly connected to the crisis, hope to see some movement.

The pandemic has shed new light on hunger in Minnesota and across the country. Hunger Solutions Minnesota estimates local food shelves saw 3.75 million visitors last year, the highest ever. Leah Gardner, the group's policy director, said there's also strong demand for the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), and they'd like the state to adjust eligibility requirements.

"We want to increase the income threshold, which I think is a perfect thing for us to do at the state level," she said, "because we can get more families eligible by making a state-level change."

Because it's federally funded, Gardner said, it wouldn't add costs for Minnesota. For the long term, Hunger Solutions wants all students to have access to free school meals, not just those who qualify. She said that could keep families from struggling with lunch debt if they suddenly fall into poverty. However, legislative leaders have questioned whether that can be addressed amid other budget demands.

Supporters of an Equal Rights Amendment say they're pushing again for adoption of a state bill. The federal amendment, which prohibits discrimination based on sex, reached a milestone in 2019 when Virginia became the last state needed to ratify the proposal. Minnesota joined the federal movement early on, but it's been a struggle to get a state change approved.

Heather Allison, president of ERA Minnesota, said they're not giving up.

"We are back to square one," she said. "We have to get new bill numbers, new bill authors."

Most opposition has been in the Senate, where some Republicans have questioned past bills including the word "gender," saying it could open the door to debates about transgender individuals using facilities designated for the opposite sex. Allison said they've worked with lawmakers on the language. She also noted that some newly elected Senate Republicans have signaled their support.

Disclosure: Hunger Solutions Minnesota contributes to our fund for reporting on Hunger/Food/Nutrition, Livable Wages/Working Families. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.
Mike Moen, Public News Service - MN