The latest local news

Money expert: The closing of Bon-Ton Stores and the state of the retail industry

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Every Monday on Good Morning Quad Cities, Investment Advisor Mark Grywacheski joins us live on the air to talk about a range of financial issues and topics.

On Monday, April 23rd, Mark will discuss the retail industry in the following ways:

  • What drove Bon-Ton Stores (including Younker’s & Bergner’s) to close their doors?
  • The current state of the retail industry.
  • Why some big name stores are expanding while others are closing.

Your Money With Mark airs live on Good Morning Quad Cities every Monday between 6 a.m. and 6:30 a.m. To live stream our newscast from our website, click here.

New Bettendorf apartments add second building to downtown plans

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Downtown living here is getting a sleek, modern look. That's where The Bridges development is ready to start its second phase before the first building even opens.

"The momentum's really building," said Frank Levy, president of Newbury Living, on Friday, April 20.

There's plenty of energy surrounding this $22-million project at the site of the former Twin Bridges Motel.  The first building will open around Thanksgiving 2018, and backers are now green-lighting a second building for Spring 2019.

"The neighborhood's starting to pop," Levy, a West Des Moines-based developer, continued.

There will be 132 units divided between both buildings. About half the 76 apartments in the first building already are booked.  Monthly rent runs from $750 to $1,750.  It's a Bettendorf blend of river views to accompany a downtown renaissance.

"It's a great addition to downtown," said Steve Pennock, who is guiding construction with Build to Suit, Incorporated. "Everybody from out of town, when they come in to visit for an event, will see this and want to move here."

As work continues high above, there's a method to this modular design.  Some construction happens off-site.

"It's basically a big puzzle," Pennock continued.  "Every wall has a number to it.  It helps us out on the speed and efficiency of the building."

Most of all, it's transforming the site near the current and developing Interstate 74 Bridge from an eyesore into something elegant.

"For a pet owner, a person that likes to jog or a person commuting to Moline, it's just a great location," Levy concluded.

It's something to see, from The Bridges, across the Mississippi River.

For rental information:, or phone (563) 349-1619.


There are nearly 160,000 pilots in America. Fewer than 7,000 are women

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(CNN) — Tammie Jo Shults, who guided Southwest Flight 1380 into Philadelphia after losing an engine over southeast Pennsylvania this week, is a rare breed.

Not only is she one of the nation’s first female Navy fighter pilots, but as a pilot for a US airline, she is one of fewer than 7,000 women in her profession.

Here’s a look at the state of female pilots at US airlines:

It’s a man’s world

Of the 159,825 pilots flying for airlines last year, only 6,994 were women, about 4.37%. Both the number and percentage have been on a slow ascent since 2008.

United is a leader in putting women in the cockpit

At three of the top four airlines in the US, fewer than one in 20 pilots is a woman. United, on the other hand, has 934 women flying. That’s more than 7% of its pilot staff. Of those, 285 are captains.

Commercial flight in general is a boy’s club

The number of women flying in other commercial capacities is also low — 6,267 of 98,161 last year — and that number is down since 2008, perhaps as part of a general decline in commercial pilots during that time frame. Still, the percentage has basically been static for the past decade.

More women are learning to fly

More than 19,000 women are learning to fly. While only a small fraction of these women will go on to fly for airlines, the number of female students has more than doubled in the past decade.

Huge strides since the early days

According to “The American Aviation Experience: A History,” Central Airlines became the first American airline to hire a female pilot — Helen Richey, who specialized in racing and aerobatics — in 1934. She quit because she couldn’t break through in the male-dominated profession.

It would be almost four decades before Frontier Airlines became the second carrier to hire a woman, Emily Howell Warner, who would go on to be the first captain for an American airline.

Between 1960 and 2010, the number of airline transport certifications granted to women have increased more than 220-fold.

Woman lost two sons in one night to opioids; fighting the crisis is now her life’s work

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(CNN) — “Everything just kind of seemed like a blur that day,” Becky Savage said. “Your mind is not really meant to process something that extreme.”

The day Savage is describing is June 14, 2015.

Her two oldest sons, Nick and Jack, were celebrating at high school graduation parties the night before. The boys came home about 12:30 a.m. and checked in with their mom, who had been waiting up.

The next morning, as Savage was picking up laundry in Jack’s room, she noticed that he wasn’t stirring as she tried to wake him.

“He was unresponsive. I called 911, and I remember hollering for Nick, for him to come up, and how he never came.”

Nick, her eldest son, was downstairs sleeping in the basement with friends.

The first responders arrived and tried to resuscitate Jack, and then Savage noticed one of them going downstairs to the basement.

“I had no idea at that point what they were doing in our basement. And then I remember one of them coming up and asking for a coroner. That’s the last thing that I remember that day.”

A tragic consequence

The boys were pronounced dead. Both had accidentally overdosed on hydrocodone and alcohol. Someone at one of the graduation parties had passed around the prescription pills.

Savage says the boys had never been in trouble with drinking or drugs. They just happened to make “a bad choice that unfortunately cost them their lives.”

For the next year, the Savage family — Becky, husband Mike and two younger sons, Justin and Matthew — worked on healing and picking up the pieces. They did not discuss their loss publicly until Becky was asked to speak at a local town hall about underage drinking.

“I had never spoken publicly before, and I was assured there would be maybe between 15 and 20 people there. So, I agreed to do it, and over 200 people showed up. It was just overwhelming.”

That’s when the family realized the impact their story could have on others.

Keeping their memory alive

After their first speaking engagement, more speaking requests came in. The Savage family decided to turn their tragedy into a positive force.

They started the 525 Foundation, named after the boys’ hockey numbers (Jack’s 5 and Nick’s 25) in order to share their story and prevent “another family from having to endure the pain” they experienced.

Savage now estimates that she has spoken in front of 2,300 students. She was also invited to testify before a US Senate committee dealing with the opioid crisis. The determined mother hopes to influence lawmakers to create stricter laws around prescription drugs. She also wants to spread awareness about the abuse of medication.

“We’ve talked to our kids about drinking, but we had never talked to them about prescription drugs, because it wasn’t even on our radar.”

As the Savage family continues to spread their message, they are finding that they are not alone.

“In different communities, there are still people who are unaware of the dangers. After I get done talking to them, the first thing they say is they’re going to go home and clean out their medicine cabinets.”

Taking it to the streets

One of the biggest ways the Savage family and the 525 Foundation are making a difference is by trying to help clean up their own community. They’ve teamed up with local law enforcement to hold pill drop-offs, where people can safely dispose of unused prescription drugs to prevent them from getting into the wrong hands.

After only three of these events, they’ve collected over 1,500 pounds of pills.

“If you think about how much one pill weighs, that’s a lot of pills collected. And when you think that one of those pills could take a life, that could potentially be a lot of lives saved.”

Savage hopes to install permanent pill drop-off boxes across her community soon. In the meantime, she continues to spread her message to protect other families and keep her sons’ memories alive.

“By me telling their story, they’re still able to make a difference in the lives of others. There can’t be a better goal than that.”

NAILED IT OR FAILED IT: Taking on the Unicorn Trend

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You've heard of the Unicorn Frappuccino at Starbucks or maybe you've seen those Unicorn Cakes. The Unicorn Trend is all around us and today on our weekly Nailed It Or Failed It segment on WQAD News 8 at 11am, we tried to make another creation - Unicorn Poop Bath Bombs.

Yes, you heard that right. Unicorn. Poop. Molly McGuire from Sentio Soaps was our Special Guest on Friday, April 20th. She gave us a sneak peek of her next class, which takes place on Saturday, April 21st from 1-3pm at Crafted QC, 217 E. 2nd Street, Davenport. To register, click here. Check out how they made these special bath bombs by clicking the video above.

You can learn more about Sentio Soaps by checking out Molly's Facebook Page here or her website here.

We also had a Special Guest in studio to make our Cocktail of the Week this week. Jon was in charge Friday morning, and he brought in his wife's friend, Moria Stephens, a former bartender at Kelly's Irish Pub. Stephens made a Peach Moscow Mule. Here are the instructions for it:

Fill cup with ice (copper cups preferably)

1.5 ounces of peach vodka 1.5 ounces of peach juice/nectar Top with ginger beer (the amount depends on the number of drinks you're making) Squeeze lime in, garnish with peach, and Enjoy!


It’s time you learned how 4/20 became ‘Weed Day’

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April 20 is a day of celebration for marijuana enthusiasts. The origin of 420 dates back to the early 1970s, when 4:20 p.m. marked the time that high school students in Marin County, just north of San Francisco, would regularly meet to consume marijuana.

As people across the United States light up to mark the occasion, it is important to reflect on the ongoing legacy of marijuana criminalization and its widespread impact on black and brown communities.

Marijuana prohibition started in the 1920s at the state and local level in the southwestern United States. Despite widespread use by white people, both then and now, prohibition was driven by xenophobia and racism toward Mexican immigrants working as farmworkers.

The term “marijuana” came into use as anti-cannabis factions sought to associate the substance with Mexicans, who by the early 1920s were caricatured as using marijuana to gain superhuman strength to commit acts of violence.

By the 1930s, Harry Anslinger, the godfather of modern drug prohibition, connected marijuana use to black jazz musicians and campaigned to prohibit marijuana nationally. He succeeded in 1937 with the passage of the Marijuana Tax Act.

This racist attitude carried over to the modern-day war on drugs, first declared by Richard Nixon in 1971. John Ehrlichman, one of Nixon’s former chief aids, confirmed that the drug war was intended to marginalize anti-war protesters and black people. Nixon achieved his goal using drug war tactics to target black communities.

According to a 2013 study from the ACLU, a black person in the United States is nearly four times more likely than a white person to be arrested for marijuana possession, despite similar rates of use.

Today, support for marijuana legalization is at an all-time high, with nearly two-thirds of the public now in favor. Nine states and Washington, D.C., have legalized marijuana for adult use, and many more states like New Jersey, New York and New Mexico could join them in the coming years. And a new report suggests the cognitive impairments associated with marijuana use in young people have been overstated and any potential impacts are not detectible after 72 hours of abstinence.

Just last Friday, Sen. Cory Gardner of Colorado announced that he has persuaded President Donald Trump, a fellow Republican, to protect states with legal marijuana from federal interference.

The evidence is clear that marijuana legalization is working. States that have legalized are experiencing dramatic declines in marijuana arrests, preventing thousands of people each year from entering the criminal justice system for conduct that a majority of Americans think should be legal. At the same time, these states are filling their coffers with millions of dollars in new tax revenues.

The question is increasingly no longer whether to legalize marijuana, but rather how. Going forward, legalization advocates are demanding that lawmakers write or amend laws to repair harms against people of color. This includes provisions that remove past marijuana convictions from criminal records, invest marijuana tax revenues in the communities most harmed by the war on drugs, and ensure an equitable marijuana market.

Some states are doing just this. In California and Oregon, thousands of people can now reduce or clear past marijuana convictions. This protects people from the devastating consequences of a criminal conviction, including barriers to employment, education, housing, and public benefits. California and Massachusetts are also reinvesting marijuana tax revenues in the communities most harmed by the drug war.

So, this 420, look beyond just legalizing it. Marijuana legalization isn’t simply about greater access to marijuana. We must center the people who have been most harmed by decades of racialized drug policies. If we don’t, marijuana legalization won’t fulfill its potential to repair the devastation that mass criminalization has wrought on black and brown communities.

How Earth Day evolved from an idea to a global holiday

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Earth Day started in the United States in 1970 and has been embraced by nearly every country in the world over the past 50 years.

Earth Day events happen all over the globe and this year's theme is to end plastic pollution. It’s hard to imagine now, but fifty years ago, environmental issues weren’t really considered "issues," smokestacks were a sign of economic prosperity.

In 1969, a massive oil spill off the coast of Santa Barbara, California started to make the public aware of the impacts humans had on the environment.

Gaylord Nelson, a United States Senator from Wisconsin initially came up with the idea of designating an annual day to focus on the environment. He was inspired by witnessing the damage caused by that oil spill and the anti-Vietnam War student movement that had been thrust into the national spotlight.

The climate was right for Sen. Nelson's initiative. He had bi-partisan support and interest from urban and rural communities. There was a big effort to publicize the first Earth Day and 20 million Americans came out to peacefully demonstrate healthy and sustainable practices.

The first Earth Day brought awareness to things like oil spills, factory emissions that were polluting our air, toxic waste, and extinction. Earth Day ultimately led to the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency, and environmental legislation like the Clean Air, Clean Water, and the Endangered Species Acts.

In 1990, Earth Day went global when 200 million people from over 140 different countries put environmental issues on the world stage and gave a huge boost to worldwide recycling efforts.

There are many different ways to get involved, especially at the local community level. See how to celebrate Earth Day in your community.

Schumer plans to introduce bill to decriminalize weed

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(CNN) — Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer plans to propose legislation decriminalizing marijuana on a federal level.

While Schumer, who was elected to the Senate two decades ago, has been supportive of medicinal marijuana, he has now “evolved” his thinking on recreational marijuana.

“The time has come to decriminalize marijuana,” the New York Democrat said in a statement Friday announcing his plans to introduce a new bill in the Senate.

“My thinking — as well as the general population’s views — on the issue has evolved, and so I believe there’s no better time than the present to get this done. It’s simply the right thing to do,” he said.

Schumer announced the proposed legislation Thursday in an interview with “Vice News Tonight.”

The senator told Vice News he had “seen too many people’s lives ruined because they had small amounts of marijuana and served time in jail much too long.”

Schumer further explained his decision in a Medium post Friday.

“A staggering number of American citizens, a disproportionate number of whom are African American and Latino, continue to be arrested every day for something that most Americans agree should not be a crime,” Schumer wrote. “Meanwhile, those who are entering into the marijuana market in states that have legalized are set to make a fortune. This is not only misguided, but it undermines the basic principles of fairness and equal opportunity that are foundational to the American way of life.”

According to Schumer’s office, under the new bill, marijuana would be removed from the list of substances classified under the Controlled Substances Act.

Schumer’s legislation would leave in place decisions by states on how to regulate marijuana, the authority of federal law enforcement to penalize trafficking from states that have legalized the drug to those that have not, and federal regulation of marijuana advertising so children aren’t targeted.

The bill also seeks to allocate funds for women and minority-owned marijuana businesses and public health research regarding the effects of THC, the main active chemical in marijuana.

Father, 4-year-old son run over by teens stealing Bud Light from grocery store

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. — A father is still recovering in the hospital days after he and his young son were run over by a teenager in the parking lot of a popular south Charlotte shopping center, WSOC reports.

According to a police report, the teen stole a 24-pack of Bud Light from the Harris Teeter in the Blakeney Village shopping center on Rea Road Tuesday evening and ran out of the store.

The thief jumped into a waiting car, which sped away and collided with 41-year-old Nathan Green and his 4-year-old son, knocking them both to the ground.

Green suffered multiple skull fractures, and the boy had a deep gash on his head. Both were hospitalized at Carolinas Medical Center, where Green continues to recover.

No arrests have been made.

Student wounded in shooting at Florida high school, authorities say

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(CNN) — A student was wounded in a shooting Friday morning at a high school in Ocala, Florida, the Marion County Sheriff’s Office said, shortly before students were to walk out as part of a national protest against gun violence.

The student was shot in the ankle at Forest High School and transported to a hospital with a wound not considered life threatening, said Kevin Christian, Marion Public Schools spokesman. The victim is 17.

A school resource officer heard a loud bang at 8:39 a.m., Marion County Sheriff Billy Woods told reporters.

Three minutes later, the officer took a 19-year-old suspect — who’s not a student — into custody without incident, Woods said.

The motive is unclear for what’s the 20th US school shooting this year.

“It’s a shame what society has come to in that we even have to be here on a school campus,” Woods said. “Society has changed since I was in school. … We as a whole need to do something. My emotions are running rampant.”

Woods and school officials said the resource officer’s quick response and active shooter protocols at the school helped save lives.

Jake Mailhiot, 16, a junior, posted a photo to social media of desks, chairs and other furniture piled high over the door to the classroom where he was studying psychology. The barricade was meant to keep out an active shooter.

“I didn’t hear anything other than people from other classrooms crying,” he said.

Mailhiot and other students helped a teacher block the door, he said. They were on lockdown for about an hour.

Authorities asked residents to avoid the area of Forest High, which was surrounded by emergency vehicles and buses transporting students away from the scene.

As Forest High students were being bused to First Baptist Church of Ocala to be reunited with their parents, students at some 2,500 schools around the country were walking out of their classrooms as part of the National School Walkout against gun violence.

“The fact that it happened on this day, in a way, reinforces what we are trying to get across,” said Ryan Servaites, a high school freshman in Parkland, Florida, where 17 students and teachers were gunned down in February. “This happens. It is an issue. We see more people dying. Children are being hurt.”

In a walkout in New York City, Stuyvesant High School sophomore Grace Goldstein, 16, lamented that her generation has become desensitized to gun violence.

“We’re very glad that no lives were lost,” she said of the Ocala shooting. “We’re incredibly grateful for that. Our reaction was, of course, this is how our country works. The person who was shot today is on the list of the people who we’re fighting for.”

Forest High was to participate in the walkout, according to a Thursday post on the Ocala school’s Twitter account.

Instead, aerial news footage from the scene showed a sea of students gathered outside a steepled church to meet their parents and officers, guns at their side, clearing buildings on the sprawling Ocala campus.

School walkouts were canceled districtwide in Marion County after the shooting, according to school board member Nancy Stacy.

The Ocala shooting comes more than two months since the massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland near Fort Lauderdale. Parkland students are participating in the national walkout — which is also the 19th anniversary of the shooting deaths of 13 people at Columbine High School in Colorado.

“We won’t stop,” Servaites told CNN. “This is why. It is, in a way, the world slapping us in the face, but we just have to look at it as a wake-up call.”

Forest High, which was ranked as one of the best high schools in the nation by U.S. News & World Report, has about 2,100 students. Ocala is about 65 miles northwest of Orlando.

CORRECTION: This story has been updated to correct Jake Mailhiot’s grade in school.

Walmart employees may soon get a more lax dress code

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(CNN Money) — Walmart employees could soon be getting a little more wiggle room in their work attire.

The discount giant is testing a new dress code that would allow workers to wear any solid colored shirt and adds blue to the mix of approved pants colors, making blue jeans work-appropriate attire, a spokesperson said.

“We are always testing new ideas and concepts in a small number of our stores,” spokesperson Justin Rushing said in an emailed statement “Some of these tests are expanded while others are retired. We won’t know next steps on this test until we’ve had a chance to learn what works and what could work better.”

The new policy would also stipulate that, beginning April 14, new hires cannot have visible face tattoos.

Rushing added that the new policy will begin with a “small test” in fewer than 100 locations.

The news was reported earlier by Bloomberg.

Related: 8 things you should never do at work

Walmart employees at stores not included in the pilot will have to continue to abide by the old dress code, which bans blue jeans and stipulates khaki or black pants with a solid white or blue top.

With 4,900 US stores, Walmart is the country’s largest employer. About 1.5 million people are employed by the grocery and home goods giant.

Staying dry for a while… Next shower chance not until next week

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What a great way to end the work week as we’ve been seeing plenty of sunshine and temperatures approaching 60 degrees.  As we make our way into the evening and overnight hours a system will be tracking just to our south adding more cloudiness to our skies.  That will allow temperatures to not be as cold with lows only dropping in the upper 30s.

That cloud cover will stick around through most of Saturday which will keep temperatures from not getting out of the 50s that afternoon.  These same clouds will thin out a bit on Sunday allowing highs that day to peak just over 60 degrees.

Warmer 60s will be felt for early next week before a new system tracks across the area Tuesday night into Wednesday.  This will bring our next round of showers to the area and likely our only chance for the rest of the week.

Chief meteorologist James Zahara

Download the News 8 Weather App — for iOS, click here and for Android, click here

Download the free News 8 App — for iOS, click here and for Android, click here

House Republicans want to give states $1 billion for people on food stamps to get jobs

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$1 billion a year for job training sure sounds like a lot of money. That’s how much Congressional Republicans want to give states to help food stamp recipients find work. It’s a huge increase over the $90 million in federal funding that currently flows to state training programs for those in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, as food stamps is formally known.

The investment — part of the House 2018 farm bill — is historic, say GOP lawmakers.

“The farm bill also keeps faith with [the most vulnerable] families by not only maintaining SNAP benefits, but by offering SNAP beneficiaries a springboard out of poverty to a good paying job and opportunity for a better way of life for themselves and their families,” House Agriculture Committee Chairman Michael Conaway, a Republican from Texas, said when he introduced the legislation earlier this month.

Consumer advocates and workforce development experts, however, counter that the funding is nowhere near enough to cover training for all the food stamp recipients who would be newly subject to work requirements under the farm bill, which is working its way through the House. They argue that states would not be able to set up quality programs that would prepare all these low-income Americans for good jobs and self-sufficient lives, which is the GOP’s stated mission.

Currently, able-bodied adults ages 18 to 49 who don’t have minor children must work or enroll in a training program for 20 hours a week to receive benefits for more than three months every three years. About 3.5 million of the roughly 41 million people who receive food stamps are subject to this provision.

The farm bill would broaden the number of people who have to work. It would require those in their 50s to have jobs or enroll in training and it would extend the mandate to parents with school-age children, starting in fiscal 2021. (Most working-age adults who are not disabled or pregnant must currently register for work, accept a job if offered or maintain their current position if they are employed.) This could double the number of people subject to work requirements, according to the Congressional Budget Office.

Related: House GOP bill would lock the poor out of food stamps if they don’t work

The legislation would also pump more money into training. Currently, every state is required to run an employment and training program, known as E&T, to help food stamprecipients search or prepare for jobs. The federal government now provides $90 million, allocated through a grant process, for these programs, but additional funding is available for states that provide extra services. The programs vary widely, with some states simply offering assistance in job hunting and others providing intensive employment training.

Under the bill, which faces a difficult path ahead in Congress, states would get $1 billion for training, but would have to guarantee a slot in their E&T programs for every recipient affected by the work mandate. This could nearly quadruple the total number of people enrolled in state training programs to 750,000 a month, according to a House Agriculture Committee aide.

The bill would triple the amount invested in each recipient, the aide said, noting this level of funding has never been authorized before.

“It’s a step in the right direction,” the aide said. “The status quo isn’t working. This is a significant and historic investment to provide folks with opportunities.”

Related: Trump signs executive order pushing work requirements for the poor

Still, states would need even more money to offer meaningful training, advocates say.

The farm bill’s funding amounts to just $30 per person per month, according to the left-leaning Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. That’s only enough to pay for services, such as a self-administered employment assessment or the use of computers and copiers at a job center, for example.

“You can do just about nothing for $30,” said LaDonna Pavetti, vice president for family income support policy at the center.

By contrast, the work programs for another federal safety net initiative, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, or TANF, spends $414 per person per month in the typical state. And more intensive training efforts that have proven effective at raising people’s incomes and putting them on a career path can cost between $8,300 and $14,000 per person. Some, for instance, prepare participants for specific fields, such as IT or health care, while others may concentrate on teaching skills such as time management, conflict resolution and goal setting.

“They focus on building skills and creating a set of support services around a person to get them to succeed,” Pavetti said.

Related: Republicans’ new welfare reform focus: Low-income men

Also, most states are not equipped to ramp up their E&T programs to such a level, even though the farm bill gives them two years to do so, said Kermit Kabela, federal policy director at the National Skills Coalition, which focuses on workforce development. And if states stumble, some low-income Americans may not be able to meet their work requirements and could lose a vital federal safety net.

“It’s not the worst idea that ever came out, but if you think about how this would actually play out on the ground, it raises a lot of questions,” Kabela said. “You can’t magically create good training programs overnight.”


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