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Arise Daily News Digest 12-12-2013
AL.COM - Sen. Jeff Sessions co-sponsor of $87 million bill to help victims of child abuse.
AL.COM - Medicaid expansion would make state's economy healthier, group urges.
AL.COM - Native American inmates plan court challenge to Alabama prison rule on haircuts.
AL.COM - Satire website The Onion takes stab at state's legislators and gun owners.
AL.COM - Union confirms it has entered into negotiations to keep production of Boeing 777X in Washington state.
AL.COM - Stan Cooke seeking Tea Party support in challenge to Lt. Gov. Kay Ivey.
AL.COM - Enticed by whiter, more conservative district, Republicans jump to challenge state Sen. Keahey.
AL.COM - Long-running legal battle over proposed rock quarry near Gurley back in Madison County court.
AL.COM - Constitution Party candidate falls short of qualifying in Alabama House District 31.
AL.COM - Public Service Commissioner Terry Dunn disputes effort to tie him to environmental groups.
AL.COM – Contributor Mary Jones: Food assistance on rise after SNAP benefit cuts.
ALABAMA POLITICAL REPORTER - Hubbard: Keeping It In The Family
ALABAMA POLITICAL REPORTER - Alabama Progressives Plan Organizational Meeting in Mobile
(FLORENCE) TIMES DAILY - Legislator: Protect retirement chief’s decision-making power.
(FLORENCE) TIMES DAILY - The Times Daily: Political ploy harms state.
ANNISTON STAR - Bill would exempt health care workers from liability in conscience cases.
ANNISTON STAR – The Anniston Star: If in Alabama, where?
MONTGOMERY ADVERTISER - Obamacare: Alabama applications, enrollments on federal health insurance exchange up in November.
MONTGOMERY ADVERTISER - Punishments keep coming for ASU student's vocal protest.
MONTGOMERY ADVERTISER - Contributor Vanzetta McPherson: Race remains a test for U.S.
DOTHAN EAGLE - The Dothan Eagle: They’ll never learn.
WASHINGTON POST - House Republicans appear to be rallying behind $85 billion budget deal.
WASHINGTON POST - How sequester cuts divided the winners from the losers — including Head Start children.
WASHINGTON POST - The Fix: Pope Francis, political uniter.
WASHINGTON POST - Columnist E. J. Dionne: The inadequate, necessary budget deal.
NEW YORK TIMES – The New York Times: The Minimalist Budget Deal
AT ISSUE: Payday and auto title lending in Alabama
How much should people have to pay to get financial help in a tight spot? Payday and auto title lending are two forms of high-cost credit marketed toward Alabamians who are desperate for short-term cash. These loans carry triple-digit interest rates that can threaten the economic well-being of borrowers who fall behind on payments.
Examining Alabama's lifetime SNAP and TANF bans for people with felony drug convictions
How long should former drug felons who have completed their prison term continue to pay for their crime? Alabama is one of 10 states that still impose a lifetime ban on receipt of SNAP (formerly known as food stamps) benefits for anyone who has ever had a felony drug conviction, and one of 12 states with a similar ban on receipt of TANF (formerly known as welfare) benefits. The bans include no exceptions for people who have completed their sentences, complied with their probation terms, paid all their fines and penalties, and overcome their addictions.
This issue brief examines how many Alabamians may be affected by this lifetime ban and the potential financial and social effects of keeping it in place.
910,000 Alabamians to see cut in food assistance beginning Nov. 1, 2013
More than 900,000 Alabamians -- nearly one in five -- will see their food assistance benefits cut beginning Nov. 1, 2013, when a temporary boost to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) expires. More than 47 million Americans, including 22 million children, will face the reductions. For a family of three in Alabama, the cuts mean a reduction of $29 each month. Families' benefits this month now will average less than $1.40 per person per meal.
"SNAP has been a powerful tool to keep families out of poverty during the long recession and recovery, and for most of the 910,000 Alabamians still on SNAP, it doesn't feel like the recession has ended," ACPP executive director Kimble Forrister said. "To adjust for this week's cuts, many struggling families in Alabama will literally have to tighten their belts."
A fresh start: Debtor protections in Alabama
When people fall into debt, it shouldn't ruin their lives. Nearly every state endorses this simple idea by placing some limits on how much creditors can collect from people struggling to pay what they owe. But in Alabama, weak and outdated limits make it much harder for many debtors to rebuild their lives after a judgment.
Alabama's exemptions from debt collection are far lower than those in many nearby states. This issue brief examines how an update to the state's exemptions could give people who are struggling with debt a better chance to keep working and continue meeting their family's basic needs.
Health security for Alabama's working families
Hundreds of thousands of uninsured Alabamians would qualify for Medicaid if Alabama expanded eligibility to adults with incomes up to 133 percent of the federal poverty level. (That's about $15,000 a year for individuals and $31,000 a year for a family of four.) Many hard-working Alabamians have no health coverage because they earn too much to qualify for Medicaid and too little to afford private health insurance. This fact sheet examines what's at stake for Alabama in deciding whether to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act.