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Ethics in Action – February 2011

February 28th, 2011 at 8:48 pm

Food Security Updates

According to the USDA, 17.4% of our state’s households are hungry or food insecure. In other words, a staggering number of families in our communities do not have appropriate access to nutritious foods that allow them to lead an active and healthy life. Though the problem may seem overwhelming, we have the tools to fix it. We produce enough food in America to feed everyone – the problem is getting food to the right people, at the right time, and at the right price. This is a logistical problem, not a resource issue, and so is solvable.

Texas leaders, organizations and communities are responding to food insecurity in Texas. Hunger has become a priority among our elected and appointed leaders for the first time in recent history, and the result of these efforts is the beginning stage of a paradigm shift on how we view hunger in Texas – including the steps we take to become food secure.

Now, alongside the great work happening in local communities, the 82nd Legislature has begun to consider food-related bills on the state level. We will be monitoring these bills as this legislative session continues and will send updated e-mail alerts on their status. Now is also a great time to begin contacting legislators and their staff at the capitol about food policy! If you are interested in visiting legislative offices, please contact Anne Olson, Public Policy Specialist at the Christian Life Commission, or call 512-473-2288.

Bills of Interest:
You can also view the bills in more detail at Texas Legislature Online…

House Bills

HB 75 (Flynn):   Relating to the regulation of raw milk and raw milk products
Committee Referral: House Public Health
Identical Companion:   SB 237 (Deuell)

HB 127 (Alvarado):   Relating to the types of beverages that can be sold to students on public school campuses.

HB 642 (Rodriguez):   Relating to free breakfast for certain public school students.
Identical Companion:   SB 88

HB 643 (Rodriguez): Relating to summer nutrition programs provided for by school districts.
Identical companion: SB 89

HB 710 (Walle):   Relating to electronic imaging used in the financial assistance and supplemental nutritional assistance programs.

HB 1139 (Rodriguez):   Relating to the regulation of cottage food products and cottage food production operations.

HB 1151 (Raymond):   Relating to the prohibiting the purchase of certain food items under the supplemental nutritional assistance program.

Senate Bills

SB 39 (Zaffirini):   Relating to improving application and eligibility determination processes and efficiencies for certain benefits programs.
Committee Referral:    Senate Health and Human Services

SB 77 (Nelson):     Relating to certain requirements for sponsoring organizations and other institutions participating in the Child and Adult Care Food Program.
Committee Referral:    Senate Health and Human Services

SB 81 (Nelson):     Relating to food manufacturers, food wholesalers, and warehouse operators required to hold a license.
Committee Referral:    Senate Health and Human Services
Hearing Date:   2/15/2011 11:00AM 2E.20

SB 88 (Lucio):     Relating to free breakfast for certain public school students.
Committee Referral:    Senate Education

SB 89 (Lucio):     Relating to summer nutrition programs provided for by school districts.
Committee Referral:    Senate Education

SB 171 (Hinojosa):     Relating to disclosure of calorie content and nutrition information by certain food establishments; providing an administrative penalty.
Committee Referral:    Senate Business and Commerce

SB 184 (Nelson):     Relating to the use of certain state property for community food gardens.
Committee Referral:    Senate Natural Resources

SB 199 (West):     Relating to the eligibility of nonprofit organizations that partner with certain schools to receive grants for agricultural projects.
Committee Referral:    Senate Agriculture and Rural Affairs

SB 237 (Deuell):     Relating to the regulation of raw milk and raw milk products.
Committee Referral:    Senate Health and Human Services
Identical Companion:   HB 75 (Flynn)

SCR 9 (Lucio):    Urging the United States Congress to amend the list of allowable foods under the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program to eliminate sweetened drinks and snack foods of minimal nutritional value.

Most Texans, regardless of politics or party, agree that in a state as great as Texas hunger is simply unacceptable. Just like social problems of the past, we can end hunger through cooperation and creative problem-solving. There are people like you across Texas taking steps to end hunger in Texas each and every day, and together we have the power to end it for good!

Here’s how YOU and YOUR CHURCH can help:

Call or write your legislator. Let yourself be heard! As a constituent, you have an influence on what issues our state legislators pursue. Let your legislator know that ending hunger is a priority by calling, writing, or visiting your representative or senator. Not sure who your legislators are? Find out who represents you…

Become a Summer Food Site. Our colleagues at Texas Impact have created a wonderful toolkit for folks interested in helping with the summer feeding program. “Feeding Texas Kids with the Summer Food Service Program” gives you step-by-step information on the many different ways you can get involved with SFSP as a faith community.

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

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