SNAP Gap, HIP and School Nutrition Legislation Needing Co-Sponsors – Deadline Feb 1st
Below is a list of five (5) nutrition-focused bills for which we urge your support. Each bill includes the House Docket (HD) and Senate Docket (SD) numbers for reference. Eventually these will get official “bill numbers” by the House and Senate Clerks. The deadline for co-sponsorship is Friday, February 1st
ACTION STEPS: Please contact your State Reps and Senators this week and early next to ask them to co-sponsor these bills for the 2019/2020 Legislation Session. Below is a brief description with more fact sheets to follow.
1. SNAP Gap/Common App: HD #791 and SD #1501 filed by Senator Sal DiDomenico and Rep. Jay Livingstone: Would require the state to create allow both MassHealth and Medicare Savings Program applicants to file for SNAP at the same time. This could impact over 700K Mass residents! It would also require the state to take steps toward a common application for other needs-based benefits
Attached is FACT SHEET. Here is the SNAP Gap Interactive Map where you can find the approximate SNAP Gap in your Senator or Rep’s district by city and town or zip. You can also send an action email directly to your Rep or Senator. Click on Take Actiontab!
2. Healthy Incentives Program: SD #1106 and HD #1083 filed by Senator Anne Gobi and Rep. Paul Mark: Would establish the framework for the program's long-term sustainability. HIP doubles SNAP recipients’ purchases of fresh fruits and vegetables directly from farmers, improving health outcomes for vulnerable communities and increasing sales for local farms. More info at MA Food Systems Collaborative here. https://mafoodsystem.org/
3. Breakfast after the Bell: SD #1878 and HD#3145 filed by Senator Sal DiDomenico and Rep. Aaron Vega: Would require that all schools where 60% or more of the students qualify for free and reduced meals serve breakfast after the bell either in the classroom, “grab and go” or “Second Chance.” More info from Rise and Shine Coalition here. http://riseandshinema.org/
4. School Meal Debt: SD# 770 and HD #3410 filed by Senator Cynthia Stone Creem and Rep Andres Vargas: Would take steps to reduce school meal debt for both school districts and families, boost federal reimbursement for meals and take children out of the meal debt discussion. Among other initiatives it would require districts or individuals schools eligible for universal free meals (Community Eligibility) to participate or take steps to opt out; authorize DESE to reimburse districts for the reduced-price meal co-pay (a number of states do this now) and ensure unpaid meal debt communication is between the district and parents –taking both children and cafeteria staff out of the middle. (Fact sheet to follow)
5. School Meals for Kinship Children: SD#773 and HD #3406 filed by Senator Cynthia Stone Creem and Rep Andres Vargas: Would authorize DESE to reimburse school districts for meals served to children who receive MassHealth but fall through the cracks of the Medicaid Direct Cert program – including severely disabled children who receive SSI, federal Title VIE Adoption Assistance or Guardianship Assistance and other kinship care cases. This provision is also included in SD #770 and SD #3410. (Fact sheet to follow)