MA Senate taking up FY20 Supp Budget and IT Bond Bill: SNAP Gap; School Meals and HIP Amendments - Please call your Senators!
The Mass Senate is hard at work on two important legislative vehicles this week: The FY20 Supplemental Budget S2789 (aka “supp budget”) and the Information and Technology Bond Bill (IT Bond Bill); S 2790. Both will be taken up by the Senate on Thursday. There are three anti-hunger related provisions we want to call to your attention and ask you to get Senate Support: We need you to take action today!
Senator DiDomenico has filed Amendment #95 to include $5 million in funds and language in the IT Bond Bill that would authorize the Baker Administration to create a common application option for MassHealth and Medicare Savings Program applicants to apply for SNAP at the same time, use the same core eligibility information and verifications. This funding was included in the House IT Bond bill and would help the Commonwealth maximize federal SNAP dollars to low income households seeking health care as expeditiously as possible, without requiring duplicate applications.
HIP carry over funding:
Senator Gobi has filed Amendment #5, which would allow funds currently in the HIP account to be used through June 30, 2021 ("carried over" to next fiscal year). Without this action, all of the nearly ~$2 million in the HIP account would return to the General Fund, rather than being spent on the HIP program. HIP makes it possible for thousands of SNAP recipients to afford healthy food at farmers markets, farm stands and CSAs.
School nutrition/Community Eligibility Provision (CEP):
Senator Creem has filed Amendment #50 which would require school districts with 50% or more of their students who are “direct certified” for free school meals, homeless or foster care to request USDA to approve the district or individual schools for CEP (universal free meal) status. School districts now have until August 31st to request CEP under a USDA COBID-19 extension. Schools could still vote to "opt out" if the district determines the meal finances do not work for them under CEP. Without this action, schools may miss the USDA deadline of 8/31/2020 and risk loss of significant federal nutrition dollars.
Ask your state senators to show support for these three amendment by signing on as a cosponsor TODAY and urging Senate Leadership tomorrow to include these in the final FY21 Supp Budget and IT Bond Bill.
P-EBT data point: The last SNAP eblast was missing some critical data. The percent of P-EBT cards “PIN-ned” as of June 26th was 77% (roughly 217K out of 282K P-EBT cards issued).