Tuesday, March 21, 2023


Texas lawmakers consider legislation to prevent cities from self-governance, Connecticut considers policy options to alleviate an eviction crisis, and Ohio residents await community water systems.


Gov. Ron DeSantis breaks his silence on Trump's potential indictment and attacks Manhattan prosecutors, President Biden vetoes his first bill to protect socially conscious retirement investing, and the Supreme Court hears a case on Native American water rights.


The 41st state has opted into Medicaid which could be a lifeline for rural hospitals in North Carolina, homelessness barely rose in the past two years but the work required to hold the numbers increased, and destruction of the "Sagebrush Sea" from Oregon to Wyoming is putting protection efforts for an itty-bitty bunny on the map.

IA Lawmakers Propose Severe Restrictions for Food Assistance


Monday, January 23, 2023   

A Republican-backed bill in the Iowa Legislature seeks to put strict new limits on which foods people could buy at the grocery store using public-assistance benefits.

House Bill 3 would limit people to items on the state's WIC list, supplemental nutrition for Women, Infants and Children.

The bill would restrict the purchase of such items as grains, baked, refried or chili beans, and fresh and frozen meats. Even American cheese would be off-limits.

Luke Elzinga, chair of the Iowa Hunger Coalition, said the extensive list of banned items includes many foods that people rely on every day.

"No flour, butter, cooking oil," said Elzinga. "No herbs and spices, not even salt and pepper. No bottled water. No frozen prepared goods. Even the items that are on the list are very strict in the specific brands and types of things."

Any changes to Iowa's nutrition assistance programs would require approval by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Almost 40 Republicans support the bill, saying it is needed to ensure the "integrity" of the program. It moves next to committee.

Elzinga said the proposal sends a message that the state doesn't trust low-income Iowans to buy the food their family needs, and ignores the choices people make based on culture, specific nutritional needs or even to avoid food allergies.

He said it would also create a stigma for shoppers who are stopped at the cash register when certain items don't qualify.

"It has to have an effect on Iowans' mental health, who are struggling right now to feed their families," said Elzinga, "to hear that the state's leadership is going to try to tell them what they can and cannot buy for their families to meet their food needs, when food prices are increasing like they have."

The bill also requires people who receive food benefits to be working, looking for work or in job training.

It would also raise the bar to apply for Medicaid in Iowa, which Elzinga said would jeopardize people's physical health as well.

get more stories like this via email
The VOTES Act also ensures the Commonwealth joins the Electronic Registration Information Center, or ERIC, a multi-state consortium which aims to keep voter registration rolls up to date, encourage voter registration and prevent voter fraud. (Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

Voting rights advocates in Massachusetts are applauding Governor Maura Healey's budgetary backing of new policies stemming from last year's passage of…


Climate-change groups are calling attention to the environmental destruction linked to the wood pellet industry - even as California is considering a …

Social Issues

Many Nebraskans know how crucial a family caregiver is to one of their family members. Now AARP research has put a dollar value on that unpaid care - …

Going back generations, many Indigenous cultures developed strong ties with bison and relied upon them for sustenance, shelter, and cultural and religious practices. (Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

South Dakota is home to one of the nation's largest American Indian reservations, and the area is part of a movement among tribal nations to take …

Health and Wellness

As the cost of food, medicine and rent continues to climb, new data shows the benefits miners receive are now 40% less than what they received in 1969…

Stedman farmer Demi Tucker has been growing mushrooms on her family's land for the past few years. (Demi Tucker)


With the cost of farmland up by more than 8% percent in North Carolina, the state's Black farmers are struggling to purchase additional acreage or …


By Zachary Shepherd and Kelsey Paulus for Kent State News Lab.Broadcast version by Nadia Ramlagan reporting for the Kent State-Ohio News Connection Co…

Social Issues

Republican-sponsored bills and amendments in the Legislature would eliminate the Tennessee Commission on Children and Youth. More than 1.5-million …


Phone: 303.448.9105 Toll Free: 888.891.9416 Fax: 208.247.1830 Your trusted member- and audience-supported news source since 1996 Copyright 2021