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Progressives call push to change Constitution "risky," Judge rules Donald Trump defrauded banks, insurers while building real estate empire; new report compares ways NY can get cleaner air, help disadvantaged communities.

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House Speaker McCarthy aims to pin a shutdown on White House border policies, President Biden joins a Detroit auto workers picket line and the Supreme Court again tells Alabama to redraw Congressional districts for Black voters.

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An Indigenous project in South Dakota seeks to protect tribal data sovereignty, advocates in North Carolina are pushing back against attacks on public schools, and Arkansas wants the hungriest to have access to more fruits and veggies.

AZ Schools Set to Receive Trees Through State Budget Appropriation

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Monday, May 22, 2023   

Arizona environmental-justice advocates are celebrating some big wins passed through the state budget.

One of the provisions, Senate Bill 1689, also known as the Trees for Kids bill, will make $300,000 available to make tree shade a reality for low-income schools across the state.

Vania Guevara, advocacy director for Chispa Arizona, said the efforts will help mitigate extreme heat in communities, while also providing a healthier learning environment for students.

"For me, the revolution starts with our little ones," Guevara emphasized. "I think that if we are able to have the best quality of life for them and sort of create a nurturing, beautiful environment where they can learn, thrive and continue to grow alongside with nature, we are setting our state up for success and I think our future would be in good hands."

Guevara pointed out the funding will be distributed by the Department of Education on a first-come, first-served basis to schools serving 75% or more students eligible for free or reduced-price lunch. She acknowledged improving tree coverage is expensive, but hopes the funds can help address some of the inadequacies in the state.

Guevara noted the bill aligns itself with Chispa Arizona's priorities. The group is aiming to increase tree shade canopies and cool corridors in Arizona communities by 20% by 2030 as they say communities of color are "excessively impacted by extreme heat."

Guevara added she is thankful to state Sen. Mitzi Epstein, D-Tempe, who introduced the bill, and to Gov. Katie Hobbs for her commitment to supporting the environment.

"We knew it was going to be hard to pass," Guevara admitted. "When we found out that it made it into the budget because of some of our allies and the governor's Office of Resiliency and their support, we were extremely pleased."

Guevara argued green infrastructure is crucial for overall community health and well-being. She stressed while her group and others are happy about the measure being included in the budget, they will continue to push and work toward more green spaces.Arizona environmental-justice advocates are celebrating some big wins passed through the state budget.

One of the provisions, Senate Bill 1689, also known as the Trees for Kids bill, will make $300,000 available to make tree shade a reality for low-income schools across the state.

Vania Guevara, advocacy director for Chispa Arizona, said the efforts will help mitigate extreme heat in communities, while also providing a healthier learning environment for students.

"For me, the revolution starts with our little ones," Guevara emphasized. "I think that if we are able to have the best quality of life for them and sort of create a nurturing, beautiful environment where they can learn, thrive and continue to grow alongside with nature, we are setting our state up for success and I think our future would be in good hands."

Guevara pointed out the funding will be distributed by the Department of Education on a first-come, first-served basis to schools serving 75% or more students eligible for free or reduced-price lunch. She acknowledged improving tree coverage is expensive, but hopes the funds can help address some of the inadequacies in the state.

Guevara noted the bill aligns itself with Chispa Arizona's priorities. The group is aiming to increase tree shade canopies and cool corridors in Arizona communities by 20% by 2030 as they say communities of color are "excessively impacted by extreme heat."

Guevara added she is thankful to state Sen. Mitzi Epstein, D-Tempe, who introduced the bill, and to Gov. Katie Hobbs for her commitment to supporting the environment.

"We knew it was going to be hard to pass," Guevara admitted. "When we found out that it made it into the budget because of some of our allies and the governor's Office of Resiliency and their support, we were extremely pleased."

Guevara argued green infrastructure is crucial for overall community health and well-being. She stressed while her group and others are happy about the measure being included in the budget, they will continue to push and work toward more green spaces.


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