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Public Policy Update – August 2010

August 31st, 2010 at 4:05 pm

Lone Star Stewards

On Monday, August 16, Suzii Paynter participated in a press conference with fellow members of the Clean Energy Coalition announcing the release of a new economic study.  The study, prepared by Billy Hamilton Consulting and produced for the Cynthia and George Mitchell Foundation is called Texas’ Clean Energy Economy: Where We Are. Where We’re Going. What We Need to Succeed (pdf).

Among the major findings, the report concludes that the state has the resources and the opportunity to become a leader in the worldwide clean energy economy but to maximize these economic benefits we will need to institute coherent, long-term state policies that support and encourage this emerging sector of our economy. The report predicts that if the 2011 Texas Legislature were to raise the state’s Renewable Portfolio Standard to 13,000 Mega Watts of clean power and set aside 3,500 MW for solar photovoltaic energy, Texas would gain 22,900 jobs per year, the gross state product would increase by $2.7 billion per year, and state and local tax revenues would increase by $279 million per year, or more than half a billion dollars per biennium.

:: View The executive summary of the report (pdf)

The CLC is working with the Clean Energy Coalition to support these efforts out of our commitment to be good stewards of God’s creation, and because we believe investments in clean energy will result in jobs and economic development for many Texas communities. Our role, in partnership with Texas Impact, is to engage and educate the Texas faith community. To do so, will be holding three regional meetings throughout the state of Texas this Fall.   All forums (LoneStarStewardsBrochure2010.pdf) are open to the public and registration is free.  You can register online at www.texasimpact.org/lonestarstewards or call 512-473-2288.

  • September 27, 2010 | 12:00 pm-5:00 pm (lunch & snack provided) | North Texas Regional Forum | Brite Divinity School of TCU, Ft. Worth, TX
  • October 25, 6:00 pm-October 27, 9:00am (Food & lodging provided; travel reimbursement is available upon request) | West Texas Regional Forum | Indian Lodge, Ft. Davis Mountains, TX

Texas Food Policy Roundtable

The Christian Life Commission serves on the steering committee for the Texas Food Policy Roundtable, a statewide coalition whose goal is to make Texas a food secure state. The roundtable will focus on four areas of food policy in the 2011 session: the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, the Summer Food Service Program, obesity and nutrition issues, and sustainability & local food access.

The Steering Committee of the Texas Food Policy Roundtable has proposed the following draft agenda for the 2011 legislative session:

Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)
Improve access to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP; formerly known as Food Stamps) to prevent hunger and help Texas families afford a nutritious diet by supporting legislation that -

  • Eases eligibility restrictions that prevent some needy Texans from receiving benefits.
  • Adequately funds the eligibility system with the appropriate number of staff and up-to-date technology.
  • Simplifies enrollment procedures by eliminating finger imaging.
  • Incorporates a streamlining enrollment system, like the Benefit Bank software program, statewide.

Summer Food Service Program
Increase participation in the Summer Food Service Program so that more children in Texas will continue to receive nutritious meals when school is out by supporting efforts to -

  • Address barriers, such as lack of transportation, that affect summer food access participants.
  • Develop alternative service delivery models and expand the use of mobile meal sites to address barriers to participation.
  • Improve coordination of federal, state, and local policies to remove barriers to participation.
  • Provide non-financial incentives for schools to serve as commissaries for summer food programs, and to expand participation in July.

Obesity and Nutrition
Promote policy solutions that increase nutrition, and reduce obesity by-

  • Increasing access to healthy food in low income communities, and exploring the Texas Enterprise Fund as a source of financing for growing and processing food in underserved areas.
  • Increasing the stock of fruits and vegetables in small, independent stores by supporting fresh food financing initiatives, particularly in underserved areas.
  • Simplifying and increasing participation in school breakfast and lunch programs, CACFP, and the Summer Food Service Program.
  • Increasing support for and recognition of healthy initiatives in schools.
  • Increasing accountability for the implementation of school coordinated health programs.
  • Maximizing federal child nutrition reauthorization in Texas.

Sustainability and Local Food Access
Create a local, sustainable, and accessible food system for all Texans by supporting efforts to -

  • Create incentives for local food production, urban farms and community gardens.
  • Assist farmers in transitioning to fruit and vegetable production.
  • Explore using funding for small business to increase food access.
  • Promote local and sustainable food production practices.

We value your input and suggestions.
Your comments and recommended resources are welcome in the comments box below.

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Summer Food Service Program

Increase participation in the Summer Food Service Program so that more children in Texas will continue to receive nutritious meals when school is out by supporting efforts to -

· Address barriers, such as lack of transportation, that affect summer food access participants.

· Develop alternative service delivery models and expand the use of mobile meal sites to address barriers to participation.

· Improve coordination of federal, state, and local policies to remove barriers to participation.

· Provide non-financial incentives for schools to serve as commissaries for summer food programs, and to expand participation in July.

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