You are here

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.

April 2018

SNAP

CONG US H.R. 2 (Federal)
Title: Agriculture and Nutrition Act of 2018
Introduced April 12, 2018
Sponsor: Representative Conaway (R-TX)
Summary: This bill would provide for the reform and continuation of agricultural and other programs, including SNAP, of the Department of Agriculture through fiscal year 2023. For more detailed information, check out the U.S. House Committee on Agriculture section-by-section summary of the Agriculture and Nutrition Act of 2018.

Assistance Programs – General

PA S.B. 1100 (Pennsylvania)
Title: An Act providing for the Pennsylvania Fresh Food Financing Initiative; and imposing powers and duties on the Department of Community and Economic Development
Introduced April 10, 2018
Sponsor: Senator Schwank (D)
Summary: This bill would establish financing for a state program designed to increase the availability of fresh and nutritious food, known as the Pennsylvania Fresh Food Financing Initiative, by stimulating investment of capital, job creation, economic vitality and financing for the construction, rehabilitation or expansion of grocery stores, farmer’s markets or other healthy food retail establishments in underserved and low-income or moderate-income communities.

TN S.B. 2634 (Tennessee)
Title: Economic and Community Development - As introduced, authorizes a pilot program to terminate on January 1, 2034, that allows the department to make grants and loans to governmental entities for financing food desert relief enterprises in low-income, underserved areas; deposits the revenue generated by a certain percentage of the food sales tax rate levied on retail sales of sugar-sweetened beverages to a special fund for financing the grants and loans. - Amends TCA Title 4, Chapter 3; Title 67, Chapter 4 and Title 67, Chapter 6
**Adopted April 20, 2018**
Sponsor: Senator Norris (R)
Summary: This bill directs the Tennessee Advisory Committee on Intergovernmental Relations to perform a study of the potential, overall effects of creating a grant program administered by the Department of Economic and Community Development to encourage the financing and development of food desert relief enterprises that sell fresh food in low-income, underserved areas of this state. The study shall include the benefits and costs of creating a Fresh Food Financing Fund into which the revenue from (.0625%) of the tax rate imposed on the retail sales of sugar sweetened beverages is used to fund grants and loans awarded under this program.   

Child Nutrition

NJ A.R. 155 (New Jersey)
Title: Urges President and Congress to enact measures to provide enhanced federal subsidy to public schools that use local produce for school meals
Introduced April 5, 2018
Sponsors: Representatives Houghtaling (D), Taliaferro (D), Andrzejczak (D)
Summary: This bill urges the President and Congress to enact measures to provide an enhanced federal subsidy to public schools that use local produce for school meals.

CONG US S 2641 (Federal)
Title: American Food for American Schools Act of 2018
Introduced April 10, 2018
Sponsor: Senator Sullivan (R-AK)
Summary: This bill would amend the Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act to improve the requirement to purchase domestic commodities or products.

HI S.R. 131 (Hawaii)
Title: Urging the Department of Education to ensure that all public school students, including public charter school students, have equal access to appropriate food services
**Adopted April 4, 2018**
Sponsor: Senator Inouye (D)
Summary: This resolution urges the Department of Education to ensure that all public school students, including public charter school students, have equal access to appropriate food services.

IA H.F. 2467 (Iowa)
Title: A bill for an act relating to school meal debt and to school meal programs offered by school districts and accredited nonpublic schools, authorizing the establishment of unpaid student meals accounts, and authorizing the transfer and expenditure of certain funds, and including retroactive applicability provisions
**Adopted April 17, 2018**
Sponsor: Committee on Education
Summary: This bill relates to school meal debt and to school meal programs offered by school districts and accredited nonpublic schools, authorizing the establishment of unpaid student meals accounts, and authorizing the transfer and expenditure of certain funds, including retroactive applicability provisions.

LA S.R. 154 (Louisiana)
Title: Requests the state Department of Education to create a committee to study and develop mechanisms and processes whereby every student is served a meal at school, regardless of ability to pay
Introduced April 25, 2018
Sponsor: Senator Erdey (R)
Summary: This bill would urge and request the state Department of Education to establish a committee to study and develop mechanisms and processes whereby every student is served a meal at school, regardless of the student's ability to pay.

MA S.B. 2441 (Massachusetts)
Title: An Act regarding breakfast after the bell
Introduced April 19, 2018
Sponsor: Joint Committee on Education
Summary: This bill would provide for the development and distribution of a schedule and waiver process for districts to implement breakfast after the beginning of the instructional day. The department shall review all schools where at least sixty percent of students are eligible for free or reduced-price meals under the federal National School Lunch Program in order to determine level of need and create an implementation schedule to be phased in beginning with the 2019-2020 school year and ending no later than the 2021-2022 school year.

MN H.F. 4325 (Minnesota)
Title: Identification of students eligible for free meals under the Community Eligibility Provision provided, and report required
Introduced April 9, 2018
Sponsor: Representative Poston (R)
Summary: This bill would require the Department of Education to: 1) identify schools and districts participating in the National School Lunch Program that have identified student percentage of 40 percent or higher under federal guidelines for the Community Eligibility Provision (CEP); 2) to communicate potential eligibility and provide technical assistance; and 3) to track whether a participant applies or declines to apply for the CEP. Districts that decline to participate in the CEP must report to the Department the number of new students who could be served free meals under CEP and their reason for declining. The Department must provide an annual report to the legislature on schools and districts that have not applied for CEP, reasons for nonparticipation, and calculated amount of federal resources declined. 

MN H.F. 4393 (Minnesota)
Title: School hot lunch grant program established for students who do not qualify for free or reduced-price lunch, report required, and money appropriated
Introduced April 12, 2018
Sponsor: Representative Jurgens (R)
Summary: This bill would create a grant program for school sites to assist in paying for regular school hot lunches for students who do not qualify for free or reduced-price lunches but who have extenuating financial circumstances.

RI H.B. 8059 (Rhode Island)
Title: An Act Relating to Education—Federal Aid 
Introduced April 5, 2018
Sponsors: Representatives Lancia (R), Shanley (D), Vella-Wilkinson (D), Mendonca (R), Nardolillo (R)
Summary: This bill would prohibit the stigmatization (lunch-shaming) of children unable to pay for meals served as part of the breakfast or lunch program offered at elementary and secondary schools.

March 2018

SNAP

NY A.B. 9971 (New York)
Title: Relates to authorizing the use of electronic benefit transfer technology at community supported agriculture markets
Introduced March 2, 2018
Sponsor: Assemblyman O'Donnell (D)
Summary: This bill would expand access to electronic benefit transfer technology at community supported agriculture markets.

CONG US S 2477 (Federal)
Title: SNAP Work Opportunities and Veteran Protection Act of 2018
Introduced March 1, 2018
Sponsor: Senator Blumenthal (D-CT)
Summary: This bill would amend the Food and Nutrition Act of 2008 to modify the exception to the SNAP work requirement for certain veterans.

IN H.B. 1285 (Indiana)
Title: Nutritional assistance
**Adopted March 15, 2018**
Sponsors: Representatives VanNatter (R), DeVon (R)
Summary: This bill will assign a committee the task of studying issues related to eligibility verification and monitoring, identity authentication, and work requirements for participation in the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program and Medicaid program.

ME H.P. 1306 (Maine)
Title: An Act to Align State-funded Benefits with Federal Eligibility Standards
Introduced March 22, 2018
Sponsor: Representative Sanderson (R)
Summary: This bill would repeal a provision that requires the Department of Health and Human Services to provide a food supplement benefit to noncitizens who would be eligible for SNAP but for their status under the federal Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996.

NJ S.B. 2082 (New Jersey)
Title: Requires DHS to use funds awarded from performance bonuses to increase staffing for processing certain applications and providing certain services
Introduced March 5, 2018
Sponsor: Assemblywoman Turner (D)
Summary: This bill would require the Commissioner of Human Services to use funds received by the Department of Human Services (DHS), as a result of a performance bonus awarded to DHS, for the purpose of increasing the number of trained personnel available to process applications for nutrition assistance under the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and public assistance under the Work First New Jersey program, and for providing services to certain individuals served by DHS.

Child Nutrition

HI S.C.R. 194 (Hawaii)
Title: Urging the Department of Education to ensure that all public school students, including public charter school students, have equal access to appropriate educational facilities and food service
Introduced March 9, 2018
Sponsors: Senators Inouye (D), Ruderman (D)
Summary: This resolution would urge the Department of Education to ensure that all public school students, including public charter school students, have equal access to appropriate educational facilities and food service.

KY H.B. 150 (Kentucky)
Title: An Act relating to the Farms to Food Banks Advisory Committee
**Adopted March 2, 2018**
Sponsor: Representative Dossett (R)
Summary: This bill changes the name of the Surplus Agricultural Commodities Advisory Committee to the Farms to Foodbanks Advisory Committee and removes the requirement that the Advisory Committee annually review and update its written plan for the expenditure of funds.

LA H.B. 284 (Louisiana)
Title: Revises procedures relative to a student's inability to pay for school meals and a student's meal debt
Introduced March 12, 2018
Sponsor: Representative Smith (D)
Summary: This bill would revise procedures relative to a student's inability to pay for school meals and a student's meal debt and require the state Department of Education to provide assistance relative to certain federal nutrition options.

LA S.B. 245 (Louisiana)
Title: Revises procedures relative to a student's inability to pay for school meals and a student's debt
Introduced March 12, 2018
Sponsor: Senator Morrish (R)
Summary: This bill would revise procedures relative to a student's inability to pay for school meals and a student's meal debt and require the state Department of Education to provide assistance relative to certain federal nutrition options.

MN S.F. 3831 (Minnesota)
Title: School lunch providers shaming students prohibition; meals policies school Web sites posting requirements; supplementary reserve fund creation
Introduced March 28, 2018
Sponsor: Senator Kent (D)
Summary: This would prohibit school lunch providers from shaming students; requiring meals policies to be posted to school Web sites; and creating a supplementary reserve fund.

NJ A.B. 3501 (New Jersey)
Title: Directs Department of Agriculture in consultation with DOE to establish online applications for National School Lunch Program and School Breakfast Programs
Introduced March 5, 2018
Sponsor: Assemblywoman Lampitt (D)
Summary: This bill would direct the Department of Agriculture in consultation with the Department of Education to establish online applications for National School Lunch Program and School Breakfast Programs.

NJ A.B. 3502 (New Jersey)
Title: Requires school district to report quarterly to Department of Agriculture number of students who are denied school breakfast or school lunch
Introduced March 5, 2018
Sponsors: Assembly members Lampitt (D), Wimberly (D), Jones (D)
Summary: This bill would require a school district to report quarterly to the Department of Agriculture number of students who are denied school breakfast or school lunch.

NJ A.B. 3503 (New Jersey)
Title: Requires certain school districts to submit report on nonparticipation in "Community Eligibility Provision" of National School Lunch and School Breakfast Programs
Introduced March 5, 2018
Sponsors: Assembly members Lampitt (D), Jones (D), Wimberly (D)
Summary: This bill would require certain school districts to submit report on nonparticipation in "Community Eligibility Provision" of National School Lunch and School Breakfast Programs.

NJ A.B. 3504 (New Jersey)
Title: Expands summer meal program to all school districts with 50 percent or more of students eligible for free or reduced price meals
Introduced March 5, 2018
Sponsors: Assembly members Lampitt (D), Marin (D), Barclay (D)
Summary: This bill would expand the summer meal program to all school districts with 50 percent or more of students eligible for free or reduced price meals.

NJ A.B. 3506 (New Jersey)
Title: Requires "breakfast after the bell" program in all schools with 70% or more of students eligible for free or reduced price meals
Introduced March 5, 2018
Sponsors: Assembly members Lampitt (D), Sumter (D), Barclay (D)
Summary: This bill would require "breakfast after the bell" program in all schools with 70% or more of students eligible for free or reduced price meals.

NJ A.B. 3523 (New Jersey)
Title: Requires public and nonpublic schools to notify students and parents of availability of summer meals programs and locations where meals are served
Introduced March 5, 2018
Sponsor: Assemblywoman Lampitt (D)
Summary: This bill would require public and nonpublic schools to notify students and parents of availability of summer meals programs and locations where meals are served.

NJ A.B. 3603 (New Jersey)
Title: "The Smarter Lunchroom Act;" promotes healthy food choices in school cafeterias
Introduced March 12, 2018
Sponsor: Assemblyman Space (R)
Summary: This bill would create "The Smarter Lunchroom Act;" promoting healthy food choices in school cafeterias.

WA H.B. 1508 (Washington)
Title: Promoting student health and readiness through meal and nutrition programs
**Adopted March 7, 2018**
Sponsor: Representative Stonier (D)
Summary: This bill requires qualifying high-needs schools, beginning in the 2019-20 school year and until June 30, 2028, to offer breakfast after the bell (BAB) programs to students after the beginning of the school day. Specifies that the period of time designated for student participation in a BAB program is considered instructional time if required conditions are met. The bill also requires a complete an analysis of BAB programs by December 1, 2026; authorizes the Washington State Department of Agriculture to promote new and existing regional markets programs, including farm-to-school initiatives and small farm direct marketing assistance; authorizes grants to school districts to collaborate with community-based organizations, food banks, and farms or gardens for reducing high school dropout occurrences through farm engagement projects.