Advocacy & Public Policy Update: advocate during Hunger Action Month

September 2nd, 2011 § 0 comments

Federal

Congress remains on break until after Labor Day. Members continue to push for broadcast meetings of the Joint Committee on Deficit Reduction, which will make decisions related to reducing the federal debt and cutting spending. Still at risk are federal nutrition programs, including TEFAP, the commodity program that provides 25% of Capital Area Food Bank’s inventory.

USDA recently reported an increase in farmers markets across the country. Texas came in second, with an increase statewide of 38 percent—a total of 166 markets. Only 14 of the 166 farmers markets statewide currently accept SNAP, six of them being in the Austin area. Nationwide participation in SNAP has grown for 32 consecutive months, since November 2008.

During Hunger Action Month, call your members of Congress and tell them to protect hunger programs. Get the talking points before you call. You may also fill an Advocacy postcard at our headquarters and we’ll send it to your Representative for you.

State

Many new Texas laws passed during the last session go into effect this week. Among those are a law allowing farmers to transport produce to markets by alternative, less expensive methods as well as a law allowing fishing for catfish with your hands, a.k.a., “noodling.”

One of our largest victories is the elimination of finger imaging for SNAP applications. For 14 years, Texas required SNAP recipients to be fingerprinted in the face of numerous studies indicating its inefficiency and wasteful use of the tax dollar.

Starting September 1, HHSC will have new policies and procedures in place to verify an applicant’s identity during telephone interviews and reduce the likelihood of “double-dipping” or fraud.

Thank you to our advocates for helping to make this victory possible.

Local

Last week, the Austin City Council postponed consideration of a Downtown Austin Plan. Among other items, the plan outlines a goal of creating 225 housing units downtown for low-income and homeless people, as well as additional housing units for people who make between $16,000-$63,000 a year.

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