For Immediate Release: 11/16/2022
Contact: Wesley Story, 972.999.5225
Feeding Texas Announces 2023 State Legislative Priorities
Texas lawmakers can help fight hunger in the 88th legislative session.
TEXAS – Bill filing begins this week for the 88th Texas Legislature. As state lawmakers begin introducing legislation, Feeding Texas calls on our elected officials to push for policy solutions that address hunger and food insecurity.
“The world around us has shifted and Texans everywhere are struggling with the rising cost of food and other expenses,” said Celia Cole, CEO of Feeding Texas. “Inflation is leading to a surge in the number of Texans seeking emergency food from food banks. Food banks are responding as best they can to the increased demand for food, but fighting hunger is a public-private partnership and we need the Texas Legislature at the table.”
The Feeding Texas network has identified five key legislative priorities for the upcoming session. We are calling on lawmakers to:
- Increase funding for produce rescue to help food banks provide nutritious food to their communities. The Surplus Agricultural Products Grant helps food banks rescue unsellable produce for distribution to hungry Texans, offsetting losses for Texas growers and mitigating the impact of food waste on the environment.
- Index the SNAP vehicle asset test to inflation to better reflect today’s car values. Current limits on vehicle value haven’t been updated since 2001 (primary car) and 1974 (additional cars), forcing families to choose between a reliable vehicle and feeding their families.
- Improve college completion rates by maintaining access to SNAP for low-income students enrolled in vocational and technical degree programs. This policy was adopted during the pandemic to ensure students can access the food assistance they need to finish their degrees and go on to gainful employment. This pandemic-era change makes good business sense for Texas.
- Support people exiting the criminal justice system to enroll in SNAP by implementing pre-release registration. By ensuring access to food, SNAP supports the re-entry process and reduces recidivism. Note: This is not an expansion of benefits; these individuals are already eligible for SNAP.
- Improve health outcomes and reduce state healthcare costs by piloting a Medicaid reimbursement program for medical nutrition programs, such as Food Rx and Medically Tailored Meals. These proven interventions demonstrate that healthy food is good medicine.
“We have the tools to solve hunger in Texas and lawmakers have the opportunity to sharpen those tools to work better for Texans,” Cole said. “Finding common ground in today’s highly divided political climate may be challenging, but we can all agree that food should not be an impossible choice.”
Feeding Texas leads a unified effort for a hunger-free Texas. Learn more and find your local food bank at www.feedingtexas.org.