On Monday, January 11th, lawmakers in Olympia gaveled in their opening day for the 2016 legislative session. Hearings have already begun as policy-makers consider new legislation and begin to identify their supplemental budget priorities. This year, Food Lifeline is focused on five key items for our legislative agenda.
Hunger is a prevalent issue in Whatcom County, with an estimated 1 in 6 residents experiencing hunger. The Foothills region of East Whatcom County is particularly affected, due to high rates of poverty and geographic isolation. Last fall, following a food summit that addressed the challenges residents face in securing healthy food the idea for the photovoice project emerged.
Advocacy can be tricky work – convincing someone that their voice can make a difference is hard, especially when that person has had their voice silenced in many other ways. One tool that has been used is called ‘photovoice,’ an opportunity for individuals to share their experiences by taking photographs in their community.
You may remember this sneak peek into the Child Nutrition Reauthorization (CNR) from last year. If so, congrats, your memory rocks. If not, here is a quick refresher on the things this bill will cover and how you can help.
Last week the legislature wrapped up its first special session without passing a budget. However, both the Senate and House did release new budget proposals last week.
The Senate’s budget proposal spends an additional $242 million, mostly from increases in expected revenue from current sources. Even with the added funds, this budget falls short in supporting any of the anti-hunger programs you’ve been fighting for, and does not include any new, sustainable revenue sources.
Right now, we have an important opportunity to let Congress know that our network cares ending child hunger and making it easier for donors to give food to food banks.
Two important items of our legislative agenda—Child Nutrition Reauthorization and a food donation tax deduction bill—are moving forward in Congress, and we need your help to demonstrate strong support for these priorities.
We encourage you to sign the two letters below, which outline our priorities for both bills.
The current location for the University District Food Bank in Seattle is a mere 800 square feet in size and has limited storage, shopping space, and no waiting area for clients. Even though they are one of the smallest, they are one of the busiest food banks in the city.
But there’s good news – they’re moving in to a new home!
The regular legislative session ended on Friday, two days early, but they still haven’t passed a budget. Now what? Lawmakers announced last week that they were likely to go into at least one special session given the difficulty in budget negotiations up to this point. The Governor has announced that he will call legislators back for a 30-day special session on Wednesday, April 29. He will be bringing budget negotiators together before that, however, with the hopes of keeping conversations going.
The next step of the budget process has come faster than we anticipated. The Washington State Senate released their budget proposal today. Unfortunately, the news is not good: none of our requests were included.
The Washington State House of Representatives released their budget that includes funding for FOUR key anti-hunger programs.