By Aaron Czyzewski
Director, Advocacy & Public Policy
The 2023 Washington State Legislative Session ends on April 23. At the time of this writing, many hunger priorities are riding on final negotiations between House and Senate budget writers to reconcile their state Operating and Capital budget proposals. With food insecurity in Washington still alarmingly high, our advocacy is focused on securing funding for food bank capacity needs and to continue the We Feed Washington program that supplies food banks with Washington grown produce. We are also advocating to dramatically expand Free School Meals for qualifying high-need K-4 elementary schools statewide, as championed by Representative Marcus Riccelli and Senator T’wina Nobles. And for funding to increase SNAP Fruit and Vegetable Incentives offered by the Washington State Department of Health, and to help college students access needed community and public benefits (like food). Already passed and signed into law by Governor Jay Inslee is $28 million for Emergency Food Purchases for food banks, thanks to a bill championed by Representatives Mia Gregerson.
2023 Farm Bill – Even before state session ends, we’ve turned our attention to advocacy in support of a new farm bill. Every five years, Congress reauthorizes this legislation that updates federal agriculture, farm conservation, and hunger relief programs, such as SNAP – the nation’s first line of defense against hunger. Look here to see our priorities for the 2023 Farm Bill. U.S. Representative Marie Gluesenkamp Perez is our state’s only member on the House Agriculture Committee which is responsible for the farm bill. More to come as this critical policy effort unfolds.
Join us on June 1 at noon for a Virtual Town Hall on Military Family Hunger. This edition will feature U.S. Representative Marilyn Strickland, State Representative Mari Leavitt, and other leaders to be announced. We’ll focus on the latest federal & state policy efforts to address food insecurity among active duty servicemembers, veterans, and their families. This town hall is part of an ongoing effort by Food Lifeline to elevate military family hunger as a top legislative priority (learn more here). RSVP to attend the virtual town hall here.