Food Policy

Subtopics

Access to Affordable Healthy Foods / Reducing Hunger

Bill # Author Status Brief Description Past Bills (2015)
HB 164 Rep. Eddie Lucio, III

FAILED TO PASS - did not receive committee hearing 

Establishes the Texas Grocery Access Investment Fund which would provide funds to encourage companies to open grocery stores, mobile markets and farm stands in low- and moderate-income areas to increase access to healthier foods. The fund would be comprised of money appropriated by the legislature, as well as federal, state, or private grants or loans, federal tax credits, or other type of financial assistance. Similar bills: HB 3324 and SB 2156 Similar to HB 1485; Failed to pass on House vote.
HB 3324 Rep. Eddie Rodriguez FAILED TO PASS - passed committee, but did not receive House vote Establishes the Texas Grocery Access Investment Fund which would provide funds to encourage companies to open grocery stores, mobile markets and farm stands in low- and moderate-income areas to increase access to healthier foods. The fund would be comprised of money appropriated by the legislature, as well as federal, state, or private grants or loans, federal tax credits, or other type of financial assistance. Similar bills: HB 164 and SB 2156 Similar to HB 1485; Failed to pass on House vote.
SB 2156 Sen. Judith Zaffirini

FAILED TO PASS - did not receive committee hearing 

Establishes the Texas Grocery Access Investment Fund which would provide funds to encourage companies to open grocery stores, mobile markets and farm stands in low- and moderate-income areas to increase access to healthier foods. The fund would be comprised of money appropriated by the legislature, as well as federal, state, or private grants or loans, federal tax credits, or other type of financial assistance. Similar bills: HB 164 and HB 3324 Similar to HB 1485; Failed to pass on House vote.
HB 367 Rep. Diego Bernal

FAILED TO PASS - similar bill SB 725 did pass

Allows school districts to donate surplus food from meals served in the cafeteria to nonprofit organizations. Similar bills: SB 725 and SB 755.
SB 725 Sen. Borris Miles PASSED - signed by the Governor; Effective 6/9/2017 Allows school districts to donate surplus food from meals served in the cafeteria to nonprofit organizations. Similar bills: HB 367 and SB 755.
SB 755 Sen. José Menéndez

FAILED TO PASS - similar bill SB 725 did pass 

Allows school districts to donate surplus food from meals served in the cafeteria to nonprofit organizations. Similar bills: HB 367 and SB 725.
HB 646 Rep. Eddie Lucio, III

FAILED TO PASS - did not receive committee hearing 

Applies minimum nutrition standards for certain foods and beverages sold in vending machines located on state property. Ensures at least a small selection of (more) healthful food and beverage choices. Similar to HB 2831; Left pending in committee (Public Health).
HB 1047 Rep. Shawn Thierry

FAILED TO PASS - did not receive committee hearing 

Creates a a community development grocery store and healthy corner store revolving loan fund program. The fund would not be allocated money from the legislature, but would be composed of gifts and grants plus income earned from the loans. Companion Bill: SB 723. Identical to HB 269; Failed, No action taken in committee (Agriculture & Livestock).
SB 723 Sen. Borris Miles

FAILED TO PASS - did not receive committee hearing 

Creates a a community development grocery store and healthy corner store revolving loan fund program. The fund would not be allocated money from the legislature, but would be composed of gifts and grants plus income earned from the loans. Companion Bill: HB 1047. Identical to HB 269Failed, No action taken in committee  (Agriculture & Livestock).
HB 3299 Rep. Shawn Thierry

FAILED TO PASS - did not receive committee hearing 

Creates a tax credit for companies that open grocery stores or health corner stores in a food dessert.
HB 4022 Rep. Eddie Rodriguez

FAILED TO PASS - did not receive committee hearing 

Would require the Health and Human Services Commission to conduct a study on the access to healthy foods and provide recommendations of best practices and policies to increase access to healthy foods.

Resources for Access to Affordable Foods

  1. Roadmap for Encouraging Grocery Development in Houston and Texas: A Report of the Houston Grocery Access Task Force; report from The Houston Grocery Access Task Force (2012).
  2. Access to Healthy Food and Why It Matters: A Review of the Research; report from The Food Trust (2013).

SNAP Program

Bill # Author Status Brief Description Past Bills (2015)
HB 146 Rep. Sarah Davis

FAILED TO PASS - did not receive committee hearing 

Would require authorized users to provide a valid photo ID when using their SNAP benefits card.  
HB 148 Rep. Matt Schaeffer

FAILED TO PASS - did not receive committee hearing 

Would require photographs of authorized users on SNAP benefits cards.   Companion bill: SB 1443.    Similar to HB 620; Failed, Died on House floor
SB 1443 Sen. Brandon Creighton FAILED TO PASS - passed the Senate (20-11), but did not receive a House committee hearing Would require photographs of authorized user on SNAP benefits cards. Companion bill: HB 148
HB 842 Rep. Dustin Burrows

FAILED TO PASS - did not receive committee hearing 

Prohibits the use of SNAP benefits to purchase certain low-nutrition foods and beverages, like candy and energy drinks. Goes further than HB 493; Failed, Left pending in committee (Human Services)
HB 1126 Rep. Drew Springer

FAILED TO PASS - did not receive committee hearing 

Would prohibit the state from providing certain work exemptions or waivers for those receiving SNAP benefits. The waivers and exemptions are currently given with consideration to multiple factors including local unemployment rate and availability of local jobs.
HB 1533 Rep. Jessica Farrar FAILED TO PASS - passed committee, but did not receive House vote Would exclude certain liquid assets and value of cars in determining SNAP eligibility. Similar to HB 2666; Failed, Left pending in committee (Human Services).

Resources for SNAP Program

  1. Food and Nutrition in Texas: What You Need to Know (see page 7 on SNAP); report from the Center for Public Policy Priorities
  2. Energy drinks and adolescents: what’s the harm? (April, 2015) - In this review, the emerging issue of energy drink consumption by youth is discussed and the evidence used to support both sides of the debate is summarized.
  3. Eligible and ineligible SNAP food items; U.S. Department of Agriculture (includes explanations and reports)
  4. Energy Drinks Fact Sheet; Yale Rudd Center
  5. Questions and Answers About Energy Drinks and Health; International Food Information Council Foundation.

Community Nutrition

Bill # Author Status Brief Description Past Bills (2015)
HB 231 Rep. Eddie Rodriguez

FAILED TO PASS - did not receive committee hearing 

Reduces property taxes on small tracts of land used for sustainable farming purposes. Similar to SB 700 Similar to HB 1306 (2013); Out of committee (Agriculture & Livestock), failed to get on House calendar.
SB 700 Sen. Judith Zaffirini

FAILED TO PASS - did not receive committee hearing 

Reduces property taxes on small tracts of land used for sustainable farming purposes. Similar to HB 231

Resources for Community Nutrition

  1. Food and Nutrition in Texas: What You Need to Know; report from the Center for Public Policy Priorities

Food Taxes

Bill # Author Status Brief Description Past Bills (2015)
SB 596 Sen. Eddie Lucio

FAILED TO PASS - did not receive committee hearing 

Would impose a penny per ounce tax on sugary drinks, with monies collected added to the general revenue fund. The tax would increase annually based on the Consumer Price Index. Identical to SB 1371; Failed to get out of committee (Finance).

Resources for Food Taxes

  1. MSD Center Blog (2011): Help Balance the State Budget; Drink up, Texas
  2. UConn Rudd Center: Revenue Calculator for Sugar-Sweetened Beverage Taxes
  3. MSD Center Blog (2011): Sugar-Sweetened Beverage Tax Q&A with Experts in Public Health and Economics
  4. UConn Rudd Center (2012): Sugar-Sweetened Beverage Taxes, An Updated Policy Brief (PDF)