What We Are Watching: 2018 State Legislative Session  

Expand Access to School Breakfast for Hungry Kids:

Hungry kids face extra and unnecessary struggles in school - yet feeding kids a healthy school breakfast can have a dramatic impact on their academic, health and economic futures.
Our schools are offering breakfast - but they are not reaching the kids who need it most: WA ranks 45th among states in serving breakfast to low income students.
We know how to fix it: when breakfast is part of the school day - just like lunch - more kids start their day with the fuel they need. Requiring very high poverty schools (70% or more low income students) to change their breakfast service time will help tens of thousands of students at nearly 400 schools. And clarifying instructional time for breakfast means any school can choose to serve breakfast after the bell.

 

Make Our Kids and Communities Healthier by Strengthening Washington's Farms:

Connecting farmers to local schools and other local buyers makes Washington's kids and communities healthier and makes Washington's farms more successful.
WSDA (Washington State Department of Agriculture) created its nationally recognized Farm to School Program (working in tandem with the Small Farms Direct Marketing Program) to provide a valuable resource for our agriculture sector, while also improving school meal quality for students. Restoring $250,000 to WSDA's programs will allow WSDA to meet increasing demand from farmers for the program's expertise and support in expanding farm businesses to new markets, especially schools.

 

Equip School Kitchens to Improve Nutrition for Kids:

School nutrition staff are often unable to prepare and serve healthier food because schools do not have needed equipment for cooking/preparing food from scratch.
Apple A Day kitchen equipment grants support school efforts to cook healthier meals for kids. Maintaining $1 million in the capital budget allows schools to prepare fresh, healthy food for students and sustains a smart investment in our schools and in our children's nutrition.

Additional Anti-Poverty issues we are keeping an eye on:

Fix Our Tax System to Create a Healthy, Prosperous, Hunger-free Washington:

We continue to have the most regressive tax system in the country, which means low income people wind up paying the highest share of their income in state taxes through the sales tax and property tax as passed on by landlords into higher rents. Closing outdated tax loopholes, increasing transparency in tax breaks, and finding new and sustainable sources of revenue are all strategies needed to respond to our growing population and to invest in the basics - food, housing, schools, and health care - that benefit all Washingtonians, especially those who need it most.

 

Strengthen TANF program for Low Income Families with Children:

Temporary Aid to Needy Families (TANF) provides cash assistance and an array of work support services to low income families with children designed to promote family economic stability. There are three key strategies that are being advocated for to strengthen our state's TANF program:
  • Restore the TANF grant cuts so that low income families have more money to meet basic needs.
  • Raise the limits on vehicles and assets so that families can benefit from TANF with resources to help them after TANF ends.
  • Reduce barriers for pregnant and parenting teens to TANF can help end intergenerational poverty.

 

Protect Access to Affordable Housing for Low Income People:

Food insecurity and housing insecurity are tightly linked. One way to fight hunger is to ensure people have adequate, affordable housing. These are some of the key priorities this year in housing and homeless prevention:
  • Pass a capital budget: Protect and expand funds for programs that meet diverse housing needs.
  • Strengthen homelessness funding: Eliminate the sunset date and increase the amount for document recording fees - the largest source of funding for homelessness services. Now is the time for more reliable resources to address the housing crisis facing every county in WA.
  • Ban source of income discrimination: Prevent landlords from excluding renters with Social Security income, disability income, Housing Choice (section 8) vouchers, veteran's housing subsidies, etc. This discrimination has a significant impact on populations who rely on housing subsidies to make ends meet - they are the same people at highest risk for hunger.

 

Improve Access to Jobs with the Fair Chance Act:

 " Ban the Box" that asks about convictions in the very first step of applying for a job, so a person can be assessed on their qualifications and skills first. This policy boosts employment and reduces recidivism, saving the state money in both prisons and social services.

Our Ongoing Commitment:

Protect Investments in Nutrition, Health, and Economic Stability for People in Need:

Our state has created innovative programs and proactive policies that help fight hunger and poverty in our communities. As lawmakers act to improve education, mental health services and more, it is critical to protect funding for basic needs services such as Emergency Food Assistance Program, State Food Assistance, Farmers Market Nutrition Programs, affordable housing, HENS/ABD and other programs for low-income people so these programs remain effective in fighting hunger and poverty. 

   

 
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