By
Christine Woody

As the 2021 Legislative session gets underway, we must not forget what happened in 2020: Let us not forget how the killing of George Floyd brought to light the fight for policing reform. Let us not forget how COVID ran through our prisons, which holds many individuals who could successfully and safely be released.  Let...
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Just recently, a federal judge formally struck down the Trump Administration’s attempt to end food stamp benefits for nearly 700,000 unemployed people. In his ruling, the judge called the proposed rule change “arbitrary and capricious.” The Trump Administration tried to impose a new rule that would have severely limited the states’ option to waive the...
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As always, the happenings in Jefferson City these past two months have been full of twists, turns and surprises. And it is not over yet, so keep taking those motion sickness pills! It all began back on July 15, 2020, when Governor Parson issued a proclamation to convene an Extraordinary Session on Violent Crime. Thus,...
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In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, federal lawmakers have passed multiple pieces of legislation to provide emergency relief and enhance the economy. Within those first few pieces of legislation, Congress began to address the impending increase in food insecurity by implementing important waivers and new programs to help individuals and families access much needed support...
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Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, the connection between unemployment, poverty and food insecurity has been clear. One of the best indicators of food insecurity is poverty. At the end of 2019, Missouri’s food insecurity rate was 12% while its poverty level was 13.2%, both above the national average. At that point, according to...
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Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, lots of rule changes and new waivers have taken place within the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, commonly known as food stamps). Empower Missouri is grateful for the Missouri Department of Social Services (DSS) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), as well as our federal delegation...
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TANF, or Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, is a federal cash assistance program for low income families with children that provides for basic needs. Families who qualify receive money on a debit-like card that they can use to help cover their monthly expenses, like food, rent, clothing, and transportation. TANF’s History In 1911, a version...
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It seems as if many of the issues today that are being debated in our state and federal legislatures are seen as partisan, but criminal justice reform is an exception. Criminal justice reform is a great example of how bipartisanship can really work! Legislators and advocates from both sides of the political spectrum are working...
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I have been learning about and advocating on safety net programs since I started at Empower Missouri 13 years ago, but have never really learned the history and inner workings of the TANF program.
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The time is right in the Show Me State for even more positive changes to our justice system and Empower Missouri, along with the advocates who are a part of the Smart Sentencing Coalition, will be right there pushing it along.
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