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OFF-KILTER with Rebecca Vallas

Apr 19, 2018

This week on Off-Kilter, the House Agriculture Committee passed its version of the so-called farm bill — a massive piece of legislation that among many other things includes the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly known as food stamps. House Republicans claim the bill is about “lifting Americans out of poverty” — but the draconian nutrition assistance cuts it proposes would be a recipe for massively increasing hunger and hardship, as Joel Berg, CEO of Hunger Free America, explains.

Next, in Florida, climate change issues aren’t just the stuff of Planet Earthepisodes — they’re a day to day reality. The effects of rising seas and intensifying storms are being felt right now, and especially so in low income communities and communities of color. Meanwhile, President Trump and his EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt are doing nothing except making it worse — but there are people fighting back. As we mark Earth Day, Rebecca talks with Caroline Lewis, a south Florida principal turned climate change activist, who founded the CLEO Institute to make the conversation around climate change accessible to the people most likely to bear its burden.

And finally, continuing Off-Kilter’s Second Chance Month series, Rebecca sits down with Tarra Simmons, who after spending 20 months behind bars due to challenges with substance abuse, went to law school to help remove barriers to opportunity for others with records. She was awarded a prestigious Skadden Fellowship to do this work with the Public Defender Association in Washington State — but then was told she wouldn’t be allowed to sit for the bar exam because of her criminal record. Not to be deterred, she sued for the right to take the bar — and won.

But first, Jeremy Slevin, aka The Slevinator, returns with the news of the week for another edition of In Case You Missed It.