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Tuesday, June 25, 2024

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Opponents of latest AR state tax cuts say they benefit wealthy Arkansans; Julian Assange agrees to a plea deal that would allow him to avoid imprisonment in US; Tech-based carbon-capture projects make headway in local government; NV nonprofit calls Biden's student debt initiatives economic justice.

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Charges against fake electors in Nevada are dismissed, Milwaukee officials get ready to expect the unexpected at the RNC convention, and the Justice Department says Alaska is violating the Americans with Disabilities Act.

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A Minnesota town claims the oldest rural Pride Festival while rural educators say they need support to teach kids social issues, rural businesses can suffer when dollar stores come to town and prairie states like South Dakota are getting help to protect grasslands.

Advocates rally for 2025 summer EBT funding amid Alabama meal gaps

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Thursday, April 25, 2024   

Alabama is one of 14 states opting out of the 2024 summer electronic benefit program.

As summer rolls around, there will be no programs in place to help low-income families with grocery costs.

LaTrell Clifford Wood, hunger policy advocate for the group Alabama Arise, said as a result, more than 500,000 children who usually receive free or reduced lunch could go without meals. She noted while summer feeding programs will be available, they will not reach everyone in need.

"Ninety-four percent of Alabama children who rely on free and reduced-price meals won't have access to them over the summer," Clifford Wood reported. "That means that only 6% of the children who rely on those meals during the school year are going to be fed through summer feeding programs."

Clifford Wood warned limited hours, transportation and strict program rules will hinder many families from benefiting from such vital programs. The Alabama Legislature did not allocate the necessary $15 million for the program by the end of the last session. However, Clifford Wood noted there is a chance the program will be funded in the summer of 2025.

As legislators focus on next year's budgets, Clifford Wood stressed the need for funding next summer's EBT program. She pointed out Alabama Arise is calling for lawmakers to allocate funds from the Education Trust Fund to combat child hunger, affecting one in four children in the state.

"This is a program that's been tested for 13 years," Clifford Wood emphasized. "It's had three rigorous evaluation periods, and it was shown to improve the diet of children and decrease children's food hardship by a third."

Clifford Wood believes prioritizing children's needs and addressing food insecurity is a form of preventive care and serves as an early investment in the state's overall wellness.

The Food Research and Action Center said funding the e-benefits program would also benefit the economy - adding anywhere from $98 million to $117 million. The Alabama Senate Finance and Taxation Education Committee is expected to vote on the budget next week.

Disclosure: Alabama Arise contributes to our fund for reporting on Budget Policy and Priorities, Health Issues, and Poverty Issues. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.


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