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Legislation Updates

Monthly legislation updates tracking state and federal policies relating to food assistance programs such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), child nutrition, and other incentive programs are provided below. Please note, we’ve included all bills related to food assistance in this section. Some of the bills strengthen federal food programs while others are detrimental and would weaken the food assistance safety net. This legislation update is provided by the Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity at the University of Connecticut. Legislation update archive is available here.

December 2018

Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)

CONG US H.R. 2 (Federal)
Title: Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018
Enrolled December 14, 2018
Sponsor: Representative Conaway (R-TX)
Summary: This bill (commonly known as the farm bill) reauthorizes through FY2023 and modifies U.S. Department of Agriculture programs that address: commodity support, conservation, trade and international food aid, nutrition assistance, farm credit, rural development, research and extension activities, forestry, energy, horticulture, and crop insurance. The bill modifies agriculture and nutrition policies to: require farmers to make a new election to obtain either Price Loss Coverage or Agricultural Risk Coverage for the 2019-2023 crop years, which may be changed for the 2021-2023 crop years; replace the Dairy Margin Protection Program with Dairy Risk Coverage and modify coverage levels and premiums; make Indian tribes and tribal organizations eligible for supplemental agricultural disaster assistance programs; reduce the adjusted gross income limitation for receiving benefits under commodity and conservation programs; modify funding levels and requirements for several conservation programs, consolidate several existing trade and export promotion programs into a new Priority Trade Promotion, Development, and Assistance program; legalize industrial hemp and make hemp producers eligible for the federal crop insurance program; establish an interstate data system to prevent the simultaneous issuance of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits to an individual by more than one state; increase the loan limits for farm ownership and operating loans; modify the experience requirement for farm ownership loans; authorize a categorical exclusion from requirements for environmental assessments and environmental impact statements for certain forest management projects with the primary purpose of protecting, restoring, or improving habitat for the greater sage-grouse or mule deer; and modify the organic certification requirements for imported agricultural products.

OH H.B. 792 (Ohio)
Title: To require the Director of Job and Family Services to request a federal waiver of time limits for certain Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program recipients
Introduced December 20, 2018
Sponsor: Representative Ramos (D)
Summary: This bill would require the Director of Job and Family Services to request a federal waiver of time limits for certain Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program recipients.

SC H.B. 3250 (South Carolina)
Title: Fruit and Vegetable SNAP Grant Program
Prefiled December 18, 2018
Sponsor: Representative Funderburk (D)
Summary: This bill would establish the "Fruit and Vegetable SNAP Grant Program" to encourage Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program recipients to purchase more fresh fruits and vegetables by providing them with a certain additional allotment, establish the fruit and vegetable snap grant fund, and require the department of social services coordinate with local grocery stores and farmers' markets to develop a plan to implement the provisions of the bill.

Women, Infants, and Children (WIC)

DC L.B. 666 (District of Columbia)
Title: Women, Infants, and Children Program Expansion Act of 2018
Engrossed December 4, 2018
Sponsors: Councilmembers Cheh (D), Grosso (D), Bonds (D), Gray (D), Nadeau (D), Todd (D)
Summary: This bill would prohibit the Mayor from placing restrictions on the square footage, number of cashiers, or organic products for vendors of the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) beyond what is required by the U.S. Department of Agriculture; require the Mayor to report on WIC spending over the past five years and challenges and recommendations for small stores to become authorized WIC vendors; require the Department of Health to coordinate with the Department of Health Care Finance and the Department of Human Services to conduct targeted outreach to WIC- eligible families not enrolled in WIC; and require the Department of Health to convene a WIC Outreach Advisory Board to provide guidance on how to increase WIC participation.

Assistance Programs — General

DC L.B. 207 (District of Columbia)
Title: East End Food Justice Amendment Act of 2018
Engrossed December 4, 2018
Sponsors: Councilmembers Gray (D), Todd (D), White (D), Bonds (D), Evans (D)
Summary: This bill would establish an East End Grocery Incentive Program within the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development to incentivize the establishment of new grocery stores in Wards 7 and 8.

IN S.B. 143 (Indiana)
Title: Sales tax district for healthy food programs
Prefiled December 28, 2018
Sponsor: Senator Taylor (D)
Summary: This bill would allow the fiscal body of a county to adopt an ordinance to impose an additional sales tax in an area designated by the fiscal body as a special food desert district—a census tract with low median income and low access to the nearest supermarket as determined by the United States Department of Agriculture in its Food Access Research Atlas. Provides that an additional sales tax applies to retail transactions within the district. Provides that the additional sales tax rate must be imposed in an increment of .25% and may not exceed 1%. Specifies that this additional sales tax is imposed, paid, and collected in the same manner as the state sales tax. Establishes the healthy food and community development financing fund under the administration of the Indiana housing and community development authority. Requires the amounts received from the additional sales tax to be paid monthly by the treasurer of state to the fund.

Child Nutrition

CONG US H.R. 7342 (Federal)
Title: Stop Subsidizing Childhood Obesity Act
Introduced December 19, 2018
Sponsor: Representative DeLauro (D-CT)
Summary: This bill would amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to protect children's health by denying any deduction for advertising and marketing directed at children to promote the consumption of food of poor nutritional quality.

MO H.B. 132 (Missouri)
Title: Requires certain public schools to offer breakfast after the bell
Prefiled December 3, 2018
Sponsor: Representative Carter (D)
Summary: This bill would require public schools in which seventy percent or more of students enrolled in the school in the immediately preceding school year were eligible for free or reduced price meals through the National School Lunch Program or School Breakfast Program or that uses the USDA Community Eligibility Option to offer breakfast after the bell.
 
MO H.B. 309 (Missouri)
Title: Requires certain public schools to offer breakfast after the bell
Prefiled December 18, 2018
Sponsor: Representative Walker (D)
Summary: This bill would require public schools in which seventy percent or more of students enrolled in the school in the immediately preceding school year were eligible for free or reduced price meals through the National School Lunch Program or School Breakfast Program or that uses the USDA Community Eligibility Option to offer breakfast after the bell.
 
NJ S.B. 3255 (New Jersey)
Title: Requires certain school meal information be provided to public school students' parents and requires school districts to request that families apply for school meals under certain circumstances
Introduced December 6, 2018
Sponsor: Senator Ruiz (D)
Summary: This bill would require certain school meal information be provided to public school students' parents and requires school districts to request that families apply for school meals under certain circumstances.

NM S.B. 115 (New Mexico)
Title: New Mexico-Grown Produce for School Meals
Prefiled December 18, 2018
Sponsor: Senator Woods (R)
Summary: This bill would make an appropriation for procurement of New Mexico-grown produce for school meals.
 
OK S.B. 74 (Oklahoma)
Title: Requiring schools to provide meal applications; requiring schools to provide certain meals to students
Prefiled December 20, 2018
Sponsor: Senator Ikley-Freeman (D)
Summary: This bill would require schools to provide meal applications in enrollment packets; direct a school to file meal applications for certain students; require schools to provide meals to certain students; prohibit schools from requiring that meals be thrown away; require schools to take certain actions due to school lunch debt accumulation; prohibit schools from identifying students, requiring students to perform chores, denying participation in activities or taking disciplinary action.