Last month, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Trump Administration unveiled their third attack in a year on the nation’s nutrition safety net, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). This latest proposal would essentially force families to choose between paying their utilities and putting food on the table.
The proposed rule, which the USDA is currently accepting public comment on, would prevent states from establishing utility and housing allowances, which are used in determining SNAP benefits for families based on state-specific housing costs and needs.
Read more in Kelly’s blog post and visit handsoffSNAP.org to urge the USDA to protect SNAP for 71,000 West Virginia families. Comments are due by Monday, December 2.
Earlier this week the Labor Department released state unemployment and job figures for October that show there has been no statistically significant increase in jobs over the last year in West Virginia. According to preliminary figures, the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in October was 4.8% and payroll employment stood at 733,100, an increase of 3,200 from October 2018. West Virginia has not experienced any job growth in 2019.
Read more in Ted’s blog post.
November Legislative interim meetings saw an interesting mix of developments foreshadowing what is sure to be a busy 2020 regular session.
In addition to a last minute special session, lawmakers heard informed testimony about West Virginia’s prison overcrowding crisis. WVCBP advisory committee member Lida Shepherd presented on multiple policy solutions that would improve West Virginia’s criminal justice system for the better to what seemed to be a receptive joint committee on the Judiciary.
Meanwhile, in the House Chamber, the Joint Committee on Finance took time to acknowledge many of the things your WVCBP have been saying for a long time. Namely, cutting severance taxes is bad for revenues and pipeline construction work is temporary. Representatives from the Justice administration acknowledged the need for ‘cuts’ but provided little information as to what they would or would not cut. WVCBP will be keeping a close eye on the budget process, kicking off our analysis with our annual Budget Breakfast. Get your tickets today!
Have you ever taken paid or unpaid leave to care for a loved one or yourself, or had someone take leave to care for you?
Have you ever needed to take family or medical leave, but found out this was financially impossible when unpaid leave was your only option?
We want to hear from you. Share your story here.
Economist Timothy Bartik details the need for place-based policy to combat regional inequality and help distressed places- strategies outlined in his new book. Read more.
The price of insulin has skyrocketed in the United States. Join the caravan to Canada to send a message to policymakers about the unacceptably high cost of insulin. Tickets are still available to attend. Register or make a donation to help cover the cost for others to attend at insulincaravan.eventsmart.com.
Mark your calendar for January 15, 2020 for our 7th annual Budget Breakfast as we kick off the 2020 Legislative Session.
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