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Tribal advocates keep up legal pressure for fair political maps; 12-member jury sworn in for Trump's historic criminal trial; the importance of healthcare decision planning; and a debt dilemma: poll shows how many people wrestle with college costs.

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Civil rights activists say a court ruling could end the right to protest in three southern states, a federal judge lets January 6th lawsuits proceed against former President Trump, and police arrest dozens at a Columbia University Gaza protest.

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Rural Wyoming needs more vocational teachers to sustain its workforce pipeline, Ohio environmental advocates fear harm from a proposal to open 40-thousand forest acres to fracking and rural communities build bike trail systems to promote nature, boost the economy.

Alabama Arise unveils 2024 policy priorities to aid marginalized communities

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Monday, November 27, 2023   

Alabama Arise, a statewide advocacy group, is fighting for marginalized communities affected by poverty.

The organization recently unveiled its 2024 policy priorities, highlighting the importance of expanding Medicaid and ending the state sales tax on groceries to improve residents' overall well-being.

Robyn Hyden, executive director of the group, believes addressing the issues will create lasting effects on communities and improve communication with legislators.

"Some people feel a sense of powerlessness, a feeling that our political systems are not set up to listen to us or respond to our needs, the needs of everyday folks," Hyden explained. "We really work hard to refute that by showing that regular everyday citizens do have power in raising their voices together. "

She noted Arise's policy goals also include increasing human service budgets, securing education funds, preserving voting rights through no-excuse early voting and easier rights restoration. The organization also aims to tackle policies aimed at improving criminal justice outcomes, maternal and infant care and public transportation funding, and requiring unanimous jury decisions in death-penalty cases.

Hyden pointed out change does not happen quickly and takes everyone working together. She emphasized some ways they plan to work to bring the policies to life are through policy analysis, producing advocacy materials such as fact sheets and reports to spread information, and empowering regular citizens to engage with local lawmakers in their districts.

"We always want to go into the legislative session having fully educated lawmakers about how important it is to address poverty in their district and how we think they could do that," Hyden stressed. "We never want to hear a lawmaker stand up and say, 'Hey, nobody in my district has talked to me about this.'"

Alabama Arise achieved partial success this year when the state sales tax on groceries was unanimously reduced by half. However, she admitted more can be done and said they will continue to fight for the complete removal of this tax burden on low-income families. She added they will be challenging state income tax deductions currently benefiting the wealthiest households.

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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