Maricopa County Attorney’s Office Launches Veterans’ Diversion Program

Woman in Army uniform

The Maricopa County Attorney’s Office is launching a new pre-trial diversion program for military veterans. 

The Veterans’ Diversion Program, which begins on April 4, 2022, aims to provide evidence-based services and treatment to some veterans before a conviction.

The County Attorney’s Office notes that some veterans have post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and cannot access treatment. The office notes that this can result in domestic violence, drug and alcohol abuse, mental health disorders, and suicide. 

The Veterans’ Diversion Program will try to identify and treat those issues, according to a press release issued on Wednesday this week. A veteran who completes the program can have their charges dismissed.

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Lamont: Family First Prevention Plan Gains Federal Approval

Ned Lamont

A plan that provides greater access to mental health services and substance abuse treatment has received federal approval, Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont said.

The governor announced the Family First Prevention Plan was approved by the U.S. Children’s Bureau. The plan is drawn from the Family First Prevention Services Act that was signed into law as part of the U.S. Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018.

“This prevention plan is designed to enhance the well-being of all of Connecticut’s children, youth, and families,” Lamont said in the release. “I am very proud of the collaborative and deliberate approach taken by the Connecticut Department of Children and Families to lead this effort. This is Connecticut’s plan and one that will lead to our children having a brighter future.”

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Taxpayer-Funded Critical Race Theory Training Program Draws Criticism

Young girl in pink long sleeve writing

Critics are questioning a taxpayer-funded program that trains students in critical race theory.

The backlash comes after The Center Square uncovered federal grant documents from the Department of Education that showed the federal government has awarded millions of dollars to a program that trains future educators in critical race theory.

Experts said the program disproves claims that critical race theory is not being pushed at K-12 schools.

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Commentary: The Uncomfortable Truths About the Food Stamp Program

Volunteers sorting through food stamps

A recent administrative action has permanently increased benefits for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) by 25 percent. Unfortunately, this historic boost fails to address the structural problems that plague this nearly 60-year-old program.

The official Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) webpage proudly proclaims that, “SNAP provides nutrition benefits to supplement the food budget of needy families so they can purchase healthy food…”

To that admirable end, the program formerly known as food stamps distributed $79 billion to 40 million people last year. Yet this desire to provide wholesome food to needy families conflicts with clear evidence that wholesome food is not what they think they need. Whether they play by the rules or not, people receiving SNAP benefits currently spend between 70-100 percent of that benefit on things other than healthy food.

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‘Anti-Racist Transformation in Medical Education’ Commits 11 Universities to a $377k Undertaking

Person on laptop with stethoscope in front

Several leading medical schools across the United States will participate in a three-year Anti-Racist Transformation in Medical Education program.

The program, which is organized by the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and funded by the Josiah Macy, Jr. Foundation, attempts to help medical students “dismantle systemic racism and bias in their work and learning environments” while sharing insights across institutions through a virtual learning platform.

The Josiah Macy, Jr. Foundation — which believes that health professional education ought to contain a “strong social mission” — frequently funds diversity, equity, and inclusion programs. 

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Minnesota Abortion Advocates Call on State to Cut Funding for Adoption Services

Baby hand in adult hand

Pro-abortion activists in Minnesota want the state to defund its program that provides medical care, housing assistance, education, nutrition assistance, adoption services and more to underserved mothers.

The “Positive Alternatives” program, created in 2005, presently operates on a $3.3 million annual budget and provides grants to nonprofits that mainly assist pregnant women “at what could otherwise be a challenging time.”

For perspective, the state has spent over $7 million on a rest stop, $12 million on an “elevated walking trail” at the Minnesota Zoo, $6.9 million on an unused morgue, and $367,883 on a gay men’s choir.

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Bipartisan Michigan Bills Aims to Restore Tax Incentives for Business Development

Mark Tisdel and

A bipartisan bill aims to revive a killed business subsidy incentive that they say will spur new job creation in Michigan.

State Reps. Mark Tisdel, R-Rochester Hills and Angela Witwer, D-Delta Township, introduced House Bills (HB) 5425 and 5426 that aim to form the Michigan Employment Opportunity Program (MEOP) to provide incentives for business developments similar to the Good Jobs for Michigan (GJFM) program, which expired in 2019. 

“The Michigan Employment Opportunity Program will form a public-private partnership to bring good jobs to our state,” Tisdel said in a statement. “Government can make it easier for businesses to invest in our communities and support more Michigan workers, bringing economic growth – and the revenue that comes with it.”

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Georgia Psychologist Indicted for Medicaid Fraud

Doctor with arms folded, holding stethescope

A Georgia man is facing a fraud charge after law enforcement officials said he stole more than $99,000 from the state’s Medicaid program.

The Georgia attorney general’s office said Gainesville psychologist Dr. Guy Jordan filed claims for therapy sessions that never happened. Jordan was indicted on Medicaid fraud and false statements charges by a Hall County Grand Jury.

“We will not stop protecting taxpayer dollars, and we thank the Hall County Grand Jury for their work on this case,” Attorney General Chris Carr said in a statement. “We hope this indictment sends a clear message that tax dollars will not be abused.”

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Ohio State Employees to Be Paid to Get Vaccinated

Doctor giving vaccination to patient

Ohio plans to spend more federal tax dollars to convince more people to get the COVID-19 vaccine.

Gov. Mike DeWine recently announced the state plans to pay $100 to each state employee for getting the vaccine. Their spouses would receive $25.

For spouses and employees enrolled in the state medical plan, the money will come from funds dedicated to state employee health and wellness, which is funded through state employee payroll deductions and state agency contributions. For those not enrolled, the state will use coronavirus relief funds. That is a small number of employees, according to Molly O’Reilly McGhee, public information officer for the Administrative Support Division.

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Gov. Whitmer to Spend $15.6 Million on Economic Recovery

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and the Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity (LEO) announced grants totaling more than $15.6 million to help get Michigan back to work. 

The government awarded Michigan Learning and Education Advancement Program (MiLEAP) grants to 10 groups who will help support individuals who are dislocated, underemployed, essential workers, living in distressed rural and urban communities, or economically disadvantaged.

“My administration is committed to uplifting Michiganders whose economic security has been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic,” Whitmer said in a statement. “By providing grants to help people make the move from education or training programs to good-paying, high-skill jobs, we can ensure all Michiganders thrive as we continue our economic jumpstart. The Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity and their Regional Consortia partners will help people get back on their feet and take the next step on their path to financial security.”

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High Court Hears Arguments on Tennessee’s School-Choice Program

ORNL Traveling Science Fair at the TN 4th Annual Tennessee STEM Innovation Summit and STEMx Event, Nashville, TN

Tennessee’s highest court heard arguments on a disputed school choice program.

Tennessee’s Education Savings Accounts (ESA) pilot program, approved by the state Legislature in 2019, would provide state-funded scholarships of about $7,100 to low-income students in Nashville and Memphis – home to the state’s two lowest-performing school districts. Students would be able to use the funds to attend nonpublic schools of their choice.

A district court ruled the program unconstitutional when the two counties sued the state to stop the program. The state Court of Appeals upheld that ruling, and the state Supreme Court agreed to hear the case.

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Georgia Legislature Approves $27B Budget for New Fiscal Year

Blake Tillery

The Georgia General Assembly has approved a $27.2 billion spending plan for the 2022 fiscal year, which starts July 1.

The Senate and House agreed to spend more money on health care, education, transportation, state positions, internet access and economic initiatives.

The House approved the measure, 148-21, late Wednesday night after it cleared the Senate unanimously, 52-0. Lawmakers now must send the proposal for state spending through June 30, 2022, to Gov. Brian Kemp for consideration.

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Feds Threaten to Remove Work Requirement from Georgia’s Partial Medicaid Expansion

The federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) could decide in a matter of weeks whether it will remove the work or activity requirement in Georgia’s partial Medicaid expansion plan.

The CMS said the plan, which was approved by former President Donald Trump’s administration in October, does not “promote the objectives of the Medicaid program” and would be impossible to accomplish because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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