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4 dead as severe storms hit Houston, TX; Election Protection Program eases access to voting information; surge in solar installations eases energy costs for Missourians; IN makes a splash for Safe Boating Week.

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The Supreme Court rules funding for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is okay, election deniers hold key voting oversight positions in swing states, and North Carolina lawmakers vote to ban people from wearing masks in public.

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Americans are buying up rubber ducks ahead of Memorial Day, Nebraskans who want residential solar have a new lifeline, seven community colleges are working to provide students with a better experience, and Mississippi's "Big Muddy" gets restoration help.

'Day on the Hill' in Arkansas calls for investment in families

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Thursday, April 11, 2024   

Family advocates are at the State Capital for a "Day on the Hill" rally today, to voice their concerns to lawmakers about issues affecting Arkansans' quality of life.

The Arkansas Coalition for Strong Families and other organizations would like to see more investments in programs such as preschool, disability services and affordable housing.

Syard Evans, CEO of the Arkansas Support Network and co-chair of the coalition, said it wants to raise awareness and ensure marginalized communities have a voice in state budgeting.

"It's to make sure that when our legislative body convenes and they engage in the work of decision-making around the finances of the state and the budget of the state, we want to make sure that everyday Arkansans need investments in the services and supports," Evans explained.

She pointed out data show in order to be a healthy, functional family, the annual cost of living for a two-parent family with two children in Arkansas should be a little more than $90,000. It represents what it costs to meet basic needs of housing, food and clothing. However, the median household income in Arkansas is about $56,335.

Evans explained members of the coalition are witnesses to the deficiencies in underfunded service systems and she contended the latest appropriation does not adequately fund state services.

"The governor recently announced her draft budget and was very proud of the fact that the budget really has a tiny, tiny increase in it, like a 1.7% increase, which doesn't keep up with inflation," Evans stressed.

Evans noted the coalition works on mental health care, education, disability rights, racial equity, family economic well-being and more. She added they teamed up with the nonprofit child advocacy organization Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families for the Day on the Hill.


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