Selected Examples of State Legislation on Hunger and Hunger Related Issues

(Revised January 2012)

Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)

California AB 433 (2008) establishes broad-based categorical eligibility for SNAP applicants.

California AB 6 (2011) eliminates fingerprinting requirement for food stamp recipients. The California Statewide Fingerprinting Imaging System ended on January 1, 2012.

California AB 69 (2011) lets counties use Social Security Administration data to identify and enroll elderly residents who are eligible for CalFRESH.

Colorado HB 1022 (2010) directs the state agency to formulate a SNAP outreach plan and establishes broad-based categorical eligibility.

Nebraska L 543 (2011) directs the state to create a statewide SNAP outreach plan and eliminates the asset test for SNAP eligibility.

Child Nutrition Programs

Arkansas S 424 (2011) appropriates grants for after-school, literacy and nutrition services for at-risk youth through the Department of Education.

Illinois S 1957 (2009) establishes breakfast program incentives for schools and requires that schools provide meals through the National School Lunch Program and School Breakfast Program unless a public meeting is held and a local district opts out of the programs.

Illinois S 1977 (2009) continues a year-long pilot to require schools that have at least 50 percent of students qualifying for free or reduced-price meals to hold a summer food service site.

Virginia S 414 (2010) requires the Board of Education and the Department of Health to promulgate and periodically update regulations setting nutrition guidelines for competitive foods sold in schools.

Emergency Food

Arizona SB 1053 (2011) creates a special license plate that garners $17 per plate in donations to the Association of Arizona Food Banks, pending start-up funding of $32,000 from the Association.

Arkansas HB 1694 (2011) directs the Department of Financial Administration to appropriate grant funding to the Arkansas Hunger Relief Alliance in the amount of $2 million.

Illinois S 1544 (2009) creates a place on the state income tax return to allow taxpayers to contribute to the Hunger Relief Fund, with funding ultimately granted to local food banks.

Maine S 264 (2011) requires a public school in which a specified percentage of the students qualify for a free or reduced-price lunch to implement a federally subsidized summer food service program to provide meals to children during the summer months.

New York SB 2803 (2011) allocates aid via state agencies to localities to carry out hunger and obesity prevention programs.

Washington H 1211 (2011) authorizes public utility companies to collect voluntary donations from their customers for donations anti-hunger programs in the state.

Farmers and Healthy Food Access

California AB 537 (2010) encourages and provides support for farmers’ markets working to give SNAP users EBT access at markets.

Georgia SB 44 (2009) allows for state contacting agencies to give preference local food vendors.

Illinois SB 1221 (2009) appropriates $10 million from the Build Illinois Bond Fund to the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity to develop grocery stores in underserved areas.

Illinois SR 72 (2010) follows up SB 1221 by creating a Task Force to consider an Illinois Fresh Food Fun and recommend potential legislation.

Louisiana SB 299 (2009) creates the Healthy Food Retail Act and provides the statutory structure and goals for a supermarket development program for underserved communities. The bill providing funding for the bill was pushed to the next legislative session.

Massachusetts HB 4919 (2010) requires the state to make reasonable efforts to procure foods locally unless the cost is 10 percent greater than the cost for comparable food grown outside the state.

New York AB 159 (2010) creates the Healthy Foods/Healthy Communities Initiative and provides $10 million to be privately leveraged to $30 million for the development of supermarkets in low-income areas.

Pennsylvania (2004) provided $30 million dollars over three years for the Fresh Food Financing Initiative, now a national model for providing financial assistance to supermarkets locating in low-income and underserved areas. The Reinvestment Fund and other partners leveraged the funding to $120 million.

Vermont H287 (2011) creates a local food coordinator in the agency of agriculture, food and markets  to assist Vermont producers to increase their access to commercial markets and institutions, including schools, state and municipal governments, and hospitals.

Study, Planning and Recognition

Georgia HR 589/SR 508 (2011) recognizes March 30, 2011 as Farm to School Day at the state capitol and the benefits of farm to school programs for students, farmers, schools, communities and the environment.

Illinois S 3158 (2011) establishes the Commission to End Hunger for the purpose of developing an action plan and ensuring cross-collaboration among government and community entities toward the goal of ending hunger in the state.

Louisiana SR 13 (2011) expresses support for the Second Harvest Food Bank of Greater New Orleans and Acadiana in its efforts to fight hunger and promote nutrition programs.

Louisiana SR 112 (2008) provides for the creation of the Healthy Food Retail Study Group to make recommendations for a healthy food retail development program. The project resulted in the introduction of SB 299 in 2009.

Massachusetts HB 4568 (2010) establishes a state food policy council to develop recommendations to advance the production of locally grown foods, promote programs that deliver local foods to consumers, protect land and water resources and retain and train new farmers for local food production.

Pennsylvania HR 235 (2011) creates a state holiday to recognize the national letter carrier “Stamp Out Hunger” event.

Pennsylvania HR 924 (2010) recognizes November 14-20, 2011 as “Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week.”

South Carolina SR 782 (2011) recognizes April 14, 2011 as “hold out for hunger day,” during which state residents are encouraged to skip one meal to recognize the plight of people who experience hunger.

Texas SR 145 (2011) establishes Texas Food Bank Day at the state capitol and commends public-private partnership like the Surplus Agricultural Products Grant Program through the Texas Department of Agriculture.

This document prepared by Jennifer Arguinzoni, NCSL State-Federal Relations, and updated by Marie Lawrence, Emerson National Hunger Fellow.