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Legislative Update: Week 6

What has the Northwest Harvest Advocacy team been up to in Olympia this week?  

A few quick updates:

  • HB 1784 (emergency hunger relief bill) was unanimously voted out of the House Appropriations committee on 2/16. Next step is a House vote, then the bill will be referred to the Senate Ways and Means committee! First Lady Trudi Inslee also testified at a hearing on HB 1784 earlier this week, emphasizing the need for bipartisan support of this bill. You can watch her testimony on TVW.
  • SB 5566 and HB 1559 (hunger free campus bills) were both voted out of their respective policy committees and referred to fiscal committee. Both Christina Wong (Director of Advocacy) and Jake Garcia (Public Policy Manager) were present at the Postsecondary Students Basic Needs Coalition’s lobby day to support the basic needs act on 2/16.
  • HB 1678, one of our support agenda items that would increase access to dental care for marginalized communities, was passed out of the House Committee on Health Care & Wellness.
  • The WAFOOD survey results were published on 2/16. This survey provide insights on the ongoing recovery of Washingtonians as consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic, including price inflation, continue to unfold. The WAFOOD surveys intentionally oversample households with lower incomes and those using food assistance, to provide deeper insights on food insecurity throughout the state. Some key takeaways from the report:
    • Food insecurity was higher in households of BIPOC respondents, households with children, households with low incomes, and renters.
    • Of larger households and households with children, nearly 3 in 4 used food assistance.
    • Over half of surveyed households (52%) received assistance through SNAP, followed by food banks/pantries (38%). The next most frequently used food assistance programs were school meals (27%) and P-EBT (23%), which support households with children.
    • We believe this data strongly supports the need for universal free school meals and demonstrate that this would be an effective tool to address food insecurity for children and their families.
    • Read the full report here.
  • One of our Community Advisory Network members, Brian Clark, was interviewed by KING5 for a story on the upcoming hunger cliff (when COVID-era emergency allotments are dropped from monthly SNAP benefits). Northwest Harvest CEO Thomas Reynolds and Representative Mia Gregerson (the sponsor of HB 1784) were also featured. You can watch the segment or read the article.

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