Build a Healthier State With the Statewide Anti-Hunger Act
Across the United States, 13% of Americans and 18% of children are hungry. Hunger has severe health and education impacts. Children in food insecure homes have higher rates of chronic illness, and are 30% more likely to be hospitalized and 30% less likely to meet standards in reading and math. Increased use of existing federal programs to fight hunger brings federal funds into states to generate significant economic activity, and better coordination of programs helps make sure no one, especially kids, falls through the cracks. The Statewide Anti-Hunger Act ensures states effectively use all the tools available to fight hunger, and reap the health and educational benefits that will follow.
Farmers and agriculture groups
This act shall be known as the Statewide Anti-Hunger Act
To bring together public agencies, private entities and nonprofit organizations to effectively maximize federal resources and coordinate efforts to fight hunger.
(a) It is the goal of STATE to reduce hunger and food insecurity among its residents.
(b) Accordingly, the COMMISSIONER shall establish and promote an anti-hunger task force to achieve the stated goal in subsection (a).
(c) The task force shall be composed of no more than 23 voting members, including the following:
-(i) Two members of the STATE House of Representatives, one appointed by the Speaker of the House and one appointed by the House Minority Leader;
-(ii) Two members of the STATE Senate, one appointed by the Senate President and one appointed by the Senate Minority Leader;
-(iii) One representative of the office of the Governor, appointed by the Governor;
-(iv) One representative of the office of the Lieutenant Governor, appointed by the Lieutenant Governor; and
-(v) 15 members of the public, appointed by the Governor, including:
–(1) Two representatives of food banks;
–(2) Two representatives of other community-based food assistance programs;
–(3) One representative of an anti-poverty organization;
–(4) One representative of an anti-hunger advocacy program;
–(5) One representative of an organization that serves and/or advocates for children and youth;
–(6) One representative of an organization that serves and/or advocates for older adults;
–(7) One representative of an organization that serves and/or advocates for people who are homeless;
–(8) One representative of an organization that serves or advocates for persons with disabilities;
–(9) One representative of an organization that advocates for immigrants;
–(10) One representative of a municipal or county government;
–(11) One expert in the fields of hunger and nutrition;
–(12) One representative of an organization or company in the agricultural industry; and
–(13) Three at-large members.
(d) The following officials shall serve as ex-officio members of the task force:
-(i) The Director or Secretary of Human Services;
-(ii) The Director or Secretary of Agriculture;
-(iii) The Director or Secretary of the Department of Aging;
-(iv) The Director or Secretary of Education;
-(v) The Director or Secretary of Health; and
-(vi) The Director or Secretary of Economic Development;
(e) The appointed members shall reflect the racial, gender, and geographic diversity of STATE and shall include representation from all regions of STATE.
(f) The representative of the Office of the Governor and a representative of a food bank, as outlined in subsection (d) shall serve as co-chairs of the task force.
(g) Members of the task force shall receive no compensation for their services, but shall be reimbursed for actual expenses incurred in the performance of their duties in accordance with state per diem rules.
(h) The goals of the task force shall include, but are not limited to:
-(i) Maximizing resources to fight hunger by increasing participation in federally funded anti-hunger programs including, but not limited to, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), school breakfast, and school lunch programs;
-(ii) Establishing and strengthening public-private partnerships to increase outreach to those facing hunger and coordinate effective measures from government, researchers, businesses, and the nonprofit sector;
-(iii) Improving access to quality, healthy food through the use of STATE farm products and locally produced goods to combat hunger while creating jobs and supporting economic development;
-(iv) Working with regional and statewide stakeholders to identify communities that lack access to healthy food, determine current barriers to food access, and share this information publicly to encourage best practices and build local food alliances;
-(v) Coordinating with federal, state, and local agencies to promote and increase awareness of programs that promote greater food access; and
-(vi) Identifying distribution barriers that affect food access, including, but not limited to, shortage of food retail outlets, limited store capacity, high distribution costs, and lack of capital funding opportunities.
(j) Not later than 12 months from the date of the first task force meeting, and annually thereafter, the task force shall produce a report highlighting:
-(i) the state of food insecurity in STATE; and
-(ii) recommended solutions and steps that could be taken in STATE to advance the goals described in (h).
–(1) Where feasible, the task force shall execute, oversee and coordinate those steps and solutions.
–(2) Where its recommendations would require state legislation or other action outside the capacity of the task force, the report shall summarize its recommendations and make recommendations on how those recommendations could be implemented.
(k) The task force shall distribute the reports stated in (j) on the
DEPARTMENT’s website and to the legislature, government agencies, the media and others as necessary to reduce hunger and food insecurity in the state.
(l) The task force shall be subject to renewal at the option of the Commissioner five (5) years from the date of its formation.