Saturday, December 3, 2022

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Group wants rollbacks of some IA voting restrictions; RSV, Flu, COVID: KY faces "Triple Threat" this winter; Appeals court halts special master review of documents seized at Mar-a-Lago.

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The Senate passes a bill forcing a labor agreement in an effort to avoid a costly railway worker strike. The House Ways and Means Committee has former President Trump's tax returns in hand. The Agriculture Committee is looking at possible regulations for cryptocurrency following the collapse of cryptocurrency giant FTX. The Supreme Court will be reviewing the legality of Biden s student debt relief program next year. Anti-semitic comments from Ye spark the deletion of tweets from the the House Judiciary Committee GOP's Twitter account.

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The first-ever "trout-safe" certification goes to an Idaho fish farm, the Healthy Housing Initiative helps improve rural communities' livability, and if Oklahoma is calling to you, a new database makes it easier for buyers and builders to find available lots.

CHIPS Act Creates Program to Lift Up Rural Economies

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Thursday, August 25, 2022   

A program approved by Congress aims to give rural communities a boost when applying for federal dollars.

The CHIPS Act, passed last month, boosts semiconductor manufacturing in the U.S. It also includes a $1 billion pilot program to help distressed communities apply for economic development funds.

Kathleen Williams, Montana state director for U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development, said the size of small communities can be a hindrance to applying for federal money.

"Sometimes it's capacity to have grant writers or hire grant writers or go through the application process or do the reporting," Williams explained.

Williams noted the Agriculture Department able to provide technical assistance for communities to boost their capacity.

The pilot program in the CHIPS Act is based on legislation known as the RECOMPETE Act and will be handled by the Economic Development Administration within the U.S. Department of Commerce. It is coming at an especially critical time as legislation such as the infrastructure package passed in Congress directs billions of dollars to states.

Matt Hildreth, executive director of RuralOrganizing.org, said big cities typically are first in line for federal grants, but he believes the new program could bring change.

"It targets funds specifically to small towns and rural communities, and communities across the country that are economically distressed," Hildreth pointed out. "And ensures that they have a shot at getting access to those federal funds as well."

He emphasized the vast majority of communities classified as "economically distressed" are rural, and stressed each place has different development needs, from more broadband to help to transition between industries. He added under the pilot program, communities will guide the investments.

"It allows local leaders to have the flexibility they need to invest in the challenges that they see in their specific community," Hildreth stated. "It's not a one-size-fits-all approach. It is a locally-led approach."


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