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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.

ME lawmakers increase aid for families experiencing deep poverty

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Monday, April 22, 2024   

Gov. Janet Mills has signed legislation to increase temporary assistance payments to families experiencing deep poverty.

Payments will increase by 20%, meaning a single-parent family of three will now receive nearly $870 per month.

Ann Danforth, policy advocate with Maine Equal Justice, said the aid will help families get beyond just surviving.

"It enables parents to be able to have child care, to go to work," said Danforth, "and enables kids to grow up in strong families, where they are then able to participate in the workforce, too."

Nearly one in eight Maine children live in poverty. The bill passed both chambers with unanimous support, signaling what Danforth said is a greater understanding that poverty impacts us all.

Childhood poverty in the United States was cut nearly in half during the COVID-19 pandemic, as expanded federal and state tax credits put cash in parents' pockets to help cover their basic needs.

Danforth said Maine lawmakers heard testimony from families utilizing these rebates and temporary aid, providing them with direction on what policies work best.

"All of the research and data from these policies reinforce what people with low income tell us," said Danforth, "which is that when we give people the resources and supports they need and trust them to do what's best for themselves and their families, we all win."

Danforth said she'd like to see a renewed expansion of the federal Child Tax Credit and further consideration of direct cash payments in Maine.

She said these policies not only help families pay for rent and food but help lift the constant stress that comes with poverty, giving parents time to plan for the future.




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