In this edition, you’ll find stories about lawmakers working to reach a consensus on how to raise new revenue needed to protect vulnerable kids and families. You’ll also read about early learning bills that await Gov. Chris Gregoire’s signature, and First Lady Michelle Obama calling attention to “food deserts” where a lack of grocery stores stocked with fresh, healthy foods is driving up obesity rates in rural areas and low-income communities of color.
- If any enduring good is coming out of the efforts of state
officials to deal with the billions of dollars the recession has cost
the state, it’s this: The stark reality of making $3.6 billion in cuts
last year and facing a new $2.8 billion shortfall this year has finally
forced them to look at billions of dollars of tax exemptions doled out
years if not decades ago and allowed to persist with little public
- Lawmakers weigh options for state
budget, tax increases I Associated Press I 03-17-2010
- Gov. Chris Gregoire is hoping to nudge lawmakers closer to an
agreement on tax increases to patch the state budget, outlining revenue
options that don’t include a general sales tax hike — the major sticking
point between House and Senate negotiators.
- WA Lawmakers Vote for Early Learning
'Investments' I Public News Service I 03-18-2010
- Two bills awaiting Gov. Gregoire's signature could pave the way
for a more secure future for Washington preschool education programs.
In passing them, the Washington Legislature has pledged to do a better
job of helping "future voters" by taking a closer look at early
childhood education and providing more money for it when the state's
financial condition improves.
- Michelle’s Got Data on Her Side: Food
Deserts are Vast | RaceWire I 03-17-2010
- As Michelle Obama turns up the heat on food manufacturers,
PolicyLink and The Food Trust have released a report that maps America’s
“food deserts” and looks at their lasting effects in rural areas and
low-income communities of color.
- Changing the Food Access Paradigm |
Poverty in America | Change.org I 03-12-2010
- Hunger is a structural problem, and to fix it, we need to
develop comprehensive solutions that go beyond simply donating a can of
green beans to a local food pantry or dropping a few nickels in the
Salvation Army bucket around the holidays. More than anything else, we
need to address the many barriers that keep healthy food from being more
widely available in communities that need it the most. A recent "Food
Policy Blueprint" released by LiveWell Colorado seeks to do just that,
and offers some creative solutions to increasing access to healthy food
in low-income communities.
- Thin Wallets, Thick Waistlines: New
USDA Effort Targets Link between Obesity and Food Stamps I Scientific
American I 03-15-2010
- A growing number of local programs from Boston to San Diego are
trying to make healthier foods more appealing and affordable for
low-income families—the population of Americans who are most reliant on
food stamps, and most likely to be obese. Meanwhile, public health
researchers are looking hard at the federal food stamp program itself,
now known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).
They're questioning why the long-standing strategy for helping the
hungry may, in some cases, actually be hurting their health by packing
on extra pounds. But could a few simple changes transform SNAP into a
powerful vehicle for curbing obesity?
- Waitlist for Washington’s Public
Preschool and Prekindergarten Jumps 263 percent I Birth to Thrive I
- As the U.S. economy slumped over the last two years, poor
families faced longer waits for spots in state-funded preschools and
pre-kindergartens in Washington State, as the number of families on
waiting lists soared 263 percent, one group reports.
- Real Change News | Parents of foster
kids need basic services, study says I Real Change I 03-17-2010
- Sixty percent of the parents with children in the state’s child
welfare system had trouble getting enough food for the family last
year, according to a social survey done by Partners with Our Children.