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VA law prevents utility shutoffs in extreme circumstances; MI construction industry responds to a high number of worker suicides; 500,000 still without power or water in the Houston area; KY experts: Children, and babies at higher risk for heat illness.

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The House passes the SAVE Act, but fails to hold Attorney General Merrick Garland in inherent contempt of Congress, and a proposed federal budget could doom much-needed public services.

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Enticing remote workers to move is a new business strategy in rural America, Eastern Kentucky preservationists want to save the 20th century home of a trailblazing coal miner, and a rule change could help small meat and poultry growers and consumers.

Without summer food aid, ID families' options limited

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Monday, June 3, 2024   

Thirty-seven states have signed up for summer meal dollars for kids. Idaho is not among them.

The Department of Agriculture's Summer Electronic Benefit Transfer program provides up to $40 per child per month for eligible families who qualify for free or reduced price lunches during the school year.

It's an extension of a pandemic-era food benefits program. However, Idaho is among the 13 states that decided not to participate this summer.

Dawn Pierce is a board member of the Idaho Hunger Relief Task Force, and said that means families will have to find other ways to feed themselves.

"They're going to continue to rely on churches, food pantries, neighbors to help them get through the summer," said Pierce, "and we could have alleviated a lot of the pressure put on local food pantries and local charities by implementing Summer EBT."

About 107,000 children in Idaho would have been eligible for the Summer EBT program this year, according to the Food Resource and Action Center.

The state would have had to cover $545,000 in administrative fees. Opponents of the legislation say the state doesn't need the welfare program.

Pierce noted that in legislative debates over the program, lawmakers erroneously claimed that kids would be able to buy energy drinks with the money, and that families making six figures would be eligible.

"The senators were factually incorrect when they were debating this," said Pierce. "One senator said that she didn't like it because there were no work requirements for the children and it doesn't teach them that you work for what you get."

State Sen. Cindy Carlson - R-Riggins - made the reference to work requirements and said the program would send the wrong message to parents and kids if the state provided "for everybody without needing something in return."

But Pierce said her organization and others are still fighting for Idaho's participation in the program.

"We're not done," said Pierce. "You can opt in to it at any time. It's not just, 'Well, you didn't do it for '24, so you're done forever.' You can do this every year until you get in."




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