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    Michigan Close to Being First State to Issue Food Stamps Twice a Month

    The change will afford greater shopping and budgeting flexibility, said local union representatives.

    Michigan is one step closer to becoming the first state in the nation to issue food stamps twice a month, with this week's passage of Michigan State House 120.

    Local labor leaders are heralding the pending change as "a win-win" for Michigan's workers, consumers, and retailers, said Roger Robinson, president of United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local 876.
     
    Among the advantages of twice a month distribution, according to Robinson, are:
    -- Greater shopping and budgeting flexibility for food stamp recipients who would be less likely to run out of food stamps before the end of the month, and be able to purchase fresh product throughout the month.
    -- A greater and more even distribution of work hours for grocery store employees. Currently, these workers' hours are often cut during the last 20 days of the month, coinciding with the drop in shopping experienced after the distribution of food stamps.
    -- Elimination of the financial, management and inventory problems experienced by retailers, suppliers, wholesalers, and manufacturers as a result of the current food stamp distribution system.
    -- A greater selection of fresh food for all shoppers. Currently, many grocers are unable to stock fresh meat, dairy and produce during the last 20 days of the month when their business is reduced due to once a month food stamp distribution.

    The bill, which was sponsored by Martha Scott (D-Highland Park), now heads to Gov. Jennifer Granholm, who is expected to sign it.

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