Fiscal Cutoff and Gearing up for Budget Talks

Week 5 of the 2014 Legislative Session started with a rush to move bills through the fiscal committee, House Appropriations and Senate Ways and Means, by the end of the day Tuesday. Action is also heating up on the Supplemental Budget which we will likely see House and, perhaps, Senates version of after the next revenue forecast on Feb. 19.

 

2014 Hunger Action Day

Before we shift to Week 5, Week 4 ended with a great Hunger Action Day! More than 200 advocates at United Churches for a morning of information and learning. We were greeted by Rep. Reykdal who shared personal stories about hunger and the importance of food stamps, and spoke eloquently about the need to highlight hunger issues to his colleagues in the legislature. After training in our coalition’s shared priorities and advocacy basics, attendees met with more than 70 lawmakers and their staff throughout the afternoon. Thanks to all who participated! And don’t forget to send a note to the legislators you met with thanking them for your time. Thanks to the many of you who passed along information and questions from members.  Click here to see pictures from the day!

 

Breakfast After the Bell Bill:

The House version of the Breakfast After the Bell bill, HB 2536, was resurrected from the dead last Friday by the House Education Appropriations Committee, HB 2536 was pulled out of the Rules Committee and we expect it to be voted on by the full House at any time.

The Senate version of the bill, SB 6444, died on Tuesday in the Senate Ways and Means Committee which had scheduled the bill for a vote but did not bring it up for a vote prior to the cut-off.

ACTION: Contact members of the House ASAP and ask that they vote YES on HB 2536 on the House floor.

 

State Food Assistance (SFA):

Thanks to everyone who delivered information and a copy of our community sign-on letter to legislators on Hunger Action Day.

This week the Children’s Alliance changed their budget request for State Food Assistance, responding to considerable feedback that the $4.6 million price-tag was too high this year. Linda also recalculated the cost of full benefits based upon Basic Food policy changes included in the 2014 Farm Bill which was signed by President Obama last Friday. The new budget request is for $1.67 million to restore full SFA benefits on January 1, 2015. This timing would still position State Food Assistance for full funding next biennium.

ACTION: An easy way to take action on SFA is to click here and send a message to your legislators.

 

Emergency Food Assistance Program (EFAP):

Thanks also to everyone who talked about EFAP during your visits last Friday. Yesterday Claire and Katharine delivered the community support letter for EFAP to Rep. Hunter and Sen. Hill.   Over 170 community organizations and 350 individuals throughout the state signed onto the letter.  Click here to see the letter.

 

Farmers Market Nutrition Programs (FMNP):

More than 35 advocates arrived in Olympia for Good Food and Farming lobby day on Tuesday to drum up more support and visibility for funding for Farmers Market Nutrition Programs. Rep. Senn is leading a sign on letter for FMNP in the House and Sen. Billig is leading the Senate letter. We’re happy to see a steady and diverse response from lawmakers who represent health, hunger, and agriculture interests.

Action: Ask your lawmaker to sign on to the letter before Feb. 18!