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The Supreme Court throws out a Trump-era ban on gun bump stocks; a look at how social media algorithms and Shakespearian villains have in common; and states receive federal funding to clean up legacy mine pollution.

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The Supreme Court for now protects access to abortion drug mifepristone, while Senate Republicans block a bill protecting access to in-vitro fertilization. Wisconsin's Supreme Court bans mobile voting sites, and colleges deal with funding cuts as legislatures target diversity programs.

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As summer nears, America's newest and largest international dark sky sanctuary beckons, rural job growth is up, but full recovery remains elusive, rural Americans living in prison towns support a transition, while birth control is more readily available in rural areas.

Hoosier mom: Bring back expanded child tax credit

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Tuesday, April 23, 2024   

The U.S. House has approved a measure to expand the Child Tax Credit. It would help 16 million children from low-income families in Indiana and nationwide. Despite bipartisan support, the bill is stalled in the Senate. Advocates praise the credit's pivotal role in combating child poverty, pointing to its effectiveness in the past, and especially during the pandemic, when it was broadly expanded.

Candace Baker, an Indianapolis mother of 4, said the previous tax-credit expansion worked for her family, and she wants it reinstated.

"Having a child, and I had to get on some government-assistance programs. My grandmother never did because she just didn't want that stigma over her, but I utilized those services when I had a child. I didn't want to either, but I'm like, I need this support," she explained.

Congress approved expanding the Child Tax Credit in 2021. However, the expansion has expired, leaving families without vital assistance. As the Senate deliberates, pressure mounts on lawmakers to prioritize the needs of struggling families and secure passage. Opponents believe taxpayers who don't work should not be eligible. Some Republicans also contend the provision may incentivize parents to leave the workforce.

Families reeling from the pandemic received between $300 and $360 per month per child from the expanded tax credit. It lifted 3.7 million children from poverty. Baker currently works for a food bank in Indianapolis where she says she is able to help neighbors in need and give back to the community.

"Being able to be a voice for those who have no voice - that is my motto. Even though where you start, you don't have to stay there. So, that is my biggest motto that I stand on: You may start here, you may be on government assistance, you may be in poverty, but that does not have to be your end game," she said.

Families who benefited from the increased aid were more than twice as likely to pay their overdue rent during the initial stages of the pandemic. The Child Tax Credit did not pass in time for this year's tax deadline, and its prospects for the future are uncertain.


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