Capitol Insider: Latest News on Food Insecurity Policy & Advocacy (April 2022)

Capitol Insider: Latest News on Food Insecurity Policy & Advocacy

by Jessica Dietrich, Director of Government Relations and Public Policy

April 25, 2022

2022 Legislative Session

The state legislative session will adjourn in the next month. There are approximately 1,000 bills (down from about 5,000) still moving through the process following the recent legislative deadlines. An average of about 19% of bills filed ultimately make it to the Governor’s desk for consideration. Below are a few updates on some of the legislation we are closely monitoring.

  • HB3432 (Rep. Kerbs) and SB1624 (Sen. Pugh) – Moves the administration of the Federal Child Nutrition Programs from the Oklahoma State Department of Education to the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food, and Forestry.
    • HB3432 – Dead pursuant to the rules. Not heard on the House floor by the deadline.
    • SB1624 – Dead pursuant to the rules. Failed the House Committee on Common Education.
    •  
  • SB1495 (Pro Tem. Treat, Speaker McCall) – Removes the state sales tax assessment on most groceries.
    • Set on the Senate Floor Agenda
  • SB394 (Sen. Coleman, Rep. Talley) – Increases the auto equity exemption for TANF from $5,000 to $10,000.
    • Eligible to be heard on the House Floor (2021 carryover bill)

We will continue to provide updates throughout the legislative session. If there is a bill that you have questions about, or if there is a bill you would like to highlight for us, please reach out to Jessica Dietrich (jessica.dietrich@hungerfreeok.org).

 

Child Nutrition Program Waivers

As mentioned in the March edition of Capitol Insider, the USDA’s waiver authority was not extended in the federal budget package. Without further action, this means that many of the waivers that are currently in effect will expire on June 30, 2022. Hunger Free Oklahoma, in partnership with the Community Food Bank of Eastern Oklahoma and the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma, wrote a letter to our members of Congress requesting they take action to extend the USDA’s authority to issue these important program flexibilities. The letter was also accompanied by several stories shared by members of the Oklahoma Childhood Food Security Coalition about how the lack of waivers will directly impact the number of summer meal sites and the overall number of meals food-insecure Oklahoma children will be able to access this year.

We anticipate additional guidance from the USDA this week about what types of waivers they will be able to approve under this more limited authority. Though these waivers were implemented in response to the pandemic, HFO has long advocated for many of these flexibilities, as they allow programs to operate more efficiently and ultimately serve more Oklahoma children. Hunger Free Oklahoma will continue to work with our partners to elevate the importance of these waivers and the need for extension.

 

Federal Public Health Emergency 

Earlier this month the federal public health emergency was extended to July 15, 2022. At this time, it is not clear whether the public health emergency will be further extended. The end of the federal public health emergency will mean several changes to federal nutrition programs. We are tracking this very closely and will keep our partners updated with the latest information.

 

P-EBT Deadline Approaching

If your child received virtual instruction in 2020-21 and you believe your child is eligible and you have not yet received a P-EBT card or believe the amount on the card is incorrect, please fill out the review form on OSDE’s page by April 30, 2022.

 

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