Food Policy

Food Policy sub-topics:

Food Taxes
Bill # Author Status Brief Description Past Bills (2011)
SB 493 Sen. Eddie Lucio, Jr. FAILED;
Referred to Finance; Referred to s/c on Fiscal Matters
Imposes a penny per ounce tax on sugary drinks, including powders and syrups used to make sugary drinks. Similar bill SB 1004 Failed to pass; Received a hearing in Health & Human Services but left in committee.
HB 779 Rep. Joe Farias FAILED;
Referred to Ways & Means
Imposes a tax of one cent per oz. on all sugar-sweetened beverages. Dedicates some of revenue to promotion of children’s health programs. HB 2209 Failed to pass; left pending in Ways & Means Committee.
HB 735 Rep. Joe Farias FAILED;
Referred to Ways & Means
Imposes a tax of 5 cents for every 12 oz. on all sugar-sweetened beverages. Dedicates some of revenue to promotion of children’s health programs. HB 2213 Failed to pass; left pending in Ways & Means Committee.
HJR 74 Rep. Richard Peña Raymond FAILED;
Referred to Ways & Means
Proposes a constitutional amendment that prohibits the legislature from imposing a state tax on any food or drink that was not subject to taxation on January 1, 2013.
SB 1151 Sen. Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa Passed Senate & House; signed by the Governor Expands tax break on food products to include certain snack foods (excluding unhealthy snacks).

Resources

1. Texas State Government Effectiveness and Efficiency Report (PDF)–see page 46 of report
2. MSD Center Blog (2011): Help Balance the State Budget; Drink up, Texas
3. Yale Rudd Center: Revenue Calculator for Sugar-Sweetened Beverage Taxes
4. MSD Center Blog (2011): Sugar-Sweetened Beverage Tax Q&A with Experts in Public Health and Economics
5. Yale Rudd Center (2012): Sugar-Sweetened Beverage Taxes, An Updated Policy Brief (PDF)

Keep scrolling. More bills in Food Policy below…

SNAP Program
Bill # Author Status Brief Description Past Bills (2011)
HB 523 Rep. Terry Canales FAILED;
Referred to Human Services;
out of committee
A recipient may not use SNAP benefits to purchase energy drinks.
HB 751 Rep. Richard Peña Raymond FAILED;
Referred to Human Services;
out of committee
A recipient may not use SNAP benefits to purchase sugar-sweetened beverages, cookies, potato chips, or candy. Similar: HB 1151 Failed to Pass; died on House floor.
HB 948 Rep. Susan King FAILED;
Referred to Human Services;
out of committee
Creates pilot projects that would explore & study a variety of different approaches to encourage SNAP benefit recipients to purchase healthier foods.
HB 1101 Rep. Richard Peña Raymond FAILED;
Referred to Human Services; failed in committee
Amends the list of allowable food items under to SNAP to better align with the allowable food purchases under the national free or reduced-price lunch program. Restricts the purchase of foods considered to have minimal nutritional value. Similar: HB 3451 Failed to Pass; died on House floor.
HB 1827 Rep. Naomi R. Gonzalez FAILED;
Referred to Human Services;
out of committee
Aims to encourage SNAP recipients to purchase healthy foods by restricting retailers from promoting the use of SNAP benefits to purchase foods of minimal nutritional value.
HB 3434 Rep. Richard Peña Raymond FAILED;
Passed House;
Left pending in Health & Human Services
Establishes a pilot program that encourages healthy food choices with SNAP benefits. A recipient of SNAP benefits receives additional benefits at the point of sale toward future purchases if the recipient purchases a nutritious food.
HB 3631 Rep. Terry Canales FAILED;
Referred to Human Services;
out of committee
SNAP benefits not used within 90-days will be expunged.

Resources

1. Texas Health & Human Services Commission website: About SNAP Food Benefits
2. MSD Center Blog: Wait!…Why are you drinking that?
3. Yale Rudd Center: Energy Drinks Fact Sheet (PDF)
4. USA Today (Jan. 16, 2013): ER visits tied to energy drinks double since 2007.

Accessibility of Healthy Foods
Bill # Author Status Brief Description Past Bills (2011)
HB 254 Rep. Borris Miles FAILED;
No action taken in Natural Resources
Provides an exemption to community gardens for wastewater fees.
SB 133 Sen. Jane Nelson FAILED;
Referred to Natural Resources
Would establish a plan for using unused / underused state property as community gardens. SB 184 Failed to pass; left pending in Natural Resources Committee.
HB 725 Rep. Ryan Guillen FAILED;
Referred to Public Health
Would establish a revolving loan fund to support investment in low-income areas in need of grocery stores.
SB 415 Sen. Rodney Ellis FAILED;
Referred to Agriculture, Rural Affairs & Homeland Security
Nearly identical to HB 725. Only difference is that SB 415 requires Dept of Agriculture to implement the Act regardless of whether or not any money is appropriated by the legislature for implementation. Companion Bills: HB 1221 andHB 3616.
HB 1221 Rep. Borris Miles FAILED;
Referred to Agriculture & Livestock; failed in committee
Identical to SB 415 andHB 3616
HB 3616 Rep. Lon Burnam FAILED;
Left pending in Agriculture & Livestock
Identical to HB 1221 andSB 415
SB 403 Sen. Judith Zaffirini FAILED;
Referred to Government Organization; out of committee; no vote taken in Senate
Would establish a revolving loan fund to support investment in low-income areas in need of grocery stores OR healthy corner stores. Adds provision that lender provide corner store loan recipients with training in business management & profitable sale of healthy foods, and caps all loans at $250,000.
HB 1306 Rep. Eddie Rodriguez FAILED;
Referred to Agriculture & Livestock; out of committee
Reduces property taxes on urban community gardens.
HB 1382 Rep. David Simpson Passed House & Senate; signed by the Governor Relaxes some existing regulations & fees making it easier for sellers at farmers’ markets to provide cooking demonstrations and food samples to patrons.

Resources

1. Institute of Medicine Fact Sheet: Making Healthy Foods and Beverages Available Everywhere (PDF)
2. Texas State Government Effectiveness and Efficiency Report (PDF)–see page 41 of report re: revolving loan fund
3. Policy Link website: The Grocery Gap – Who Has Access to Healthy Food and Why It Matters

Nutrition Education Programs
Bill # Author Status Brief Description Past Bills (2011)
HB 2111 Rep. Mark Strama Passed House & Senate; signed by the Governor Adds services that will assist youth in developing skills in food preparation and nutrition education that promotes healthy food choices in the transitional living services program for certain youth in foster care.
HB 3401 Rep. Richard Peña Raymond Passed House & Senate; signed by the Governor Establishes an online nutrition and wellness education course that promotes healthy eating habits and a physically active lifestyle. The voluntary course will be promoted to individuals receiving certain state benefits.

Resources

 

2013 Policy Topics

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