Por
Sarah Owsley

We knew going into the legislative session that it would be a wild year. Unfortunately, wild years where very little gets done has become the normal legislative process in Missouri. It wasn’t designed to be this way. However, partisan infighting, electoral maps designed to favor one party, distrust in government and an overall breakdown in...
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Last week, I offered testimony against a pair of bills in the Missouri House and Senate aimed at reducing homelessness. I first celebrated with the sponsors and the committee members that the Missouri legislature should be doing more to address our neighbors who live outside; homelessness is an untenable situation that is below the dignity...
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As I look back in my life, one specific policy has impacted nearly every decision I’ve ever made: Healthcare. I was a single mom during Obama’s first campaign. I worked two jobs which barely covered rent. Even while working more than 40 hours a week in a hospital, I didn’t have healthcare. I pieced together...
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The Initiative Petition (IP) process is an important tool in Missouri, though few voters fully understand its powers or limits. The IP allows voters who feel unrepresented by their elected officials to propose policy changes to fellow Missouri voters on the ballot. The process to get citizen-initiated petitions on the ballot is arduous. The Secretary...
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Empower Missouri is dedicated to ending poverty within our state. In our day-to-day work, we focus on three key areas: affordable housing, criminal justice, and nutrition access. It also means we have to look beyond those issues, to wages, systemic racism, unchecked capitalism, healthcare, education and more–including family planning. Access to reproductive healthcare is an...
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I’ve been with Empower Missouri nearly 4 years now, and since I started every legislative session we work against work hour tracking for SNAP. It feels almost like a bad cartoon at this point, as we go ‘round and ‘round on the same issue: Work Requirements. On the surface it may sound good, individuals who...
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Later today, the House Committee on Downsizing Government will hear HB 2085, a bill that would prevent households which receive TANF (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families) from withdrawing those benefits in cash. However, cash is a necessary resource, especially for households in poverty. This bill will increase the burdens placed on our neighbors in poverty,...
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Matthew Desmond describes eviction as both a cause and a condition of poverty. What does that mean, and how should Missouri respond? First, it is important to understand that there are different forms of legal eviction in our state. If a tenant damages the property, breaks the law, or violates the lease (say, by having...
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For months, Empower Missouri and our allies in Missouri have been urging our federal representatives to pass the Build Back Better Act, an opportunity to make historic investments for our neighbors with low incomes. Last week, Congress passed what we hope to be a final version of the bill. It includes targeted investments to reduce...
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Empower Missouri has been saying it for years: Homelessness in the United States is a solvable crisis. It is unacceptable that our neighbors work full time jobs and are still unable to cover their basic necessities, like nutrition and housing. According to the 2021 Out of Reach report, parents in Missouri need to work a...
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