2016 Legislative Agenda:
Expand Access to School Breakfast in High Need Schools:
The Legislature is challenged in 2016 to fully fund education so Washington kids have the opportunity to succeed – yet hungry kids face extra and unnecessary struggles in school. Most schools offer school breakfast, but it’s not reaching those who need it most: WA ranks 43rd of 50 states in serving breakfast to low-income students. School breakfast legislation will require very high needs schools to offer breakfast in the classroom, grab and go, and second chance breakfast to almost 175,000 low-income students and will clarify the use of instructional time so any schools can serve Breakfast After the Bell.
Restore the Promise of the Local Farms, Healthy Kids Act for Washington’s Kids, Schools, and Farm Economy:
Connecting farmers to local schools and markets makes Washington’s kids and communities healthier and Washington’s farms stronger. Creating WSDA’s Farm to School and Small Farms/Direct Market Farms programs was good for kids, for schools, and for our agriculture economy. More than $750,000 was cut since the recession, crippling the programs’ ability to serve kids, schools and farmers – and diminishing WA’s competitiveness for federal funds. Restore $250,000 to WSDA’s Farm to School and Small Farms/Direct Market Farms programs in this biennium.
Protect Investments in Nutrition, Health and Economic Stability for People in Need:
Washington has created innovative programs and proactive policies that help fight hunger and poverty in communities across our state. As lawmakers act to improve education, mental health services and more, it is critical to protect funding and policies for critical services such as school meals, Basic Food/State Food Assistance, Emergency Food Assistance Program, Farmers Market Nutrition Programs, HENS/ABD, affordable housing, and other programs that serve low-income people so these services remain effective as part of our state’s response to hunger and poverty.
Fix Our State’s Tax System to Preserve and Restore Critical Services
Our coalition continues to support a balanced approach to creating a sustainable state budget that includes new sources of revenue and that reforms our tax system in order to protect, strengthen and restore services that help low-income families to meet their basic needs and help meet the state’s constitutional duties.
2016 Legislative Issues We Support:
Restore Funding to TANF Grants that Help Our Poorest Families
TANF provides minimal cash assistance to children and their parents, and the monthly grant to families was cut during the recession. The grant is used to help pay for families’ basic survival needs: rent, utilities, food, clothes, health, hygiene, and more. Last year our Coalition was grateful the Legislature restored a portion of the cut – we support restoring the final 9% in the grant in this biennium.
Ban Housing Discrimination based on Source of Income and Help Low Income Renters
Food insecurity and housing insecurity are tightly linked in Washington. One way to fight hunger is to ensure people have adequate, affordable housing – and that public investments in housing and income supports are able to be used as intended. In the search for a home, many face outright or unintentional discrimination by landlords unwilling to rent to people with Housing Choice (Section 8) voucher holders, seniors with Social Security income, veterans using housing subsidies, and people with disabilities who receive other legal sources of income. This discrimination has a significant impact on communities who disproportionately need to rely on housing subsidies to make ends meet, including households of color, seniors, people with disabilities, and single-parent headed households with young children – some of the same communities who are at highest risk for hunger.
Pass the Fair Chance Act and Improve Access to Jobs for Qualified Applicants
Even after people have paid their debt to society after a conviction, they continue suffer in the job market, driving families into poverty. The Fair Chance Act would “ban the box” asking about convictions on job applications, so someone will be judged first on their qualifications and then have a chance to explain their past. The “Ban the Box” movement has federal support and in neighboring states, like Oregon, as well as from across the political spectrum. This bill will boost employment and reduce recidivism, saving the state money in both prisons and social services – including anti-hunger programs that are needed when households can’t find a job or earn enough to meet basic needs.
To download a copy of 2016 AHNC Legislative Agenda, click here.
To read about our past Legislative Agendas, Click Here.