Food Policy (Hunger & Access)

2019 Legislative Session bills that are relevant to food policy research taking place at the Michael & Susan Dell Center for Healthy Living can be viewed below.

SNAP

Bill # Author Status Brief Description Past Bills (2017)
HB 251 State Rep. Jessica Farrar

Left pending in committee - 3/26/19

Excludes cars and school accounts from being considered as assets when determining eligibility for SNAP benefits. Similar to HB 1533. Failed, passed committee but did not receive House vote.
HB 285 State Rep. Drew Springer

Out of House Committee - 4/1/19

Restricts the commission from requesting an exemption from certain work requirements around SNAP eligibility. Similar to HB 1126 (2017).  Failed to pass, did not receive a committee hearing.
HB 1218 State Rep. Stephanie Klick

Voted on by Senate - 5/10/19

Requests that the state establish a schedule for distributing SNAP benefits that allows for even distribution over a 28-day period. Companion Bill SB 582
SB 582 State Sen. Charles Perry

Referred to Health & Human Services - 2/21/19

Requests that the state establish a schedule for distributing SNAP benefits that allows for even distribution over a 28-day period. Companion Bill HB 1218
HB 1250 State Rep. Dade Phelan Referred to Human Services - 2/26/19 Requires that Lone Star Cards include photos, Fraud Hotline info, and the SNAP website. Companion Bill SB 671
SB 671 State Sen. Brandon Creighton Left pending in committee - 5/15/19 Requires that Lone Star Cards include photos, Fraud Hotline info, and the SNAP website. Companion Bill HB 1250
SB 981 State Sen. Lois Kolkhorst Out of House Committee - 5/16/19 Establishes guidelines for interactions between SNAP providers and local governments in times of disaster.
HB 4364 State Rep. Briscoe Cain Referred to Human Services - 3/25/19 Eliminates sugar-sweetened beverages and chips from eligibility for purchase with SNAP benefits.
HB 3541 State Rep. Toni Rose Out of House Committee- 4/30/19 Establishes a pilot program to study SNAP incentives to purchase Texas-grown fruits and vegetables. Companion Bill SB 1834
SB 1834 State Sen. Carol Alvarado Out of House Committee - 5/13/19 Establishes a pilot program to study SNAP incentives to purchase Texas-grown fruits and vegetables. Companion Bill HB 3541
HB 3524 State Rep. Stephanie Klick Referred to Human Services - 3/18/19 Simplifies (re)certification process for SNAP benefits for those 60 years old or older.  Requires the use of data matching to enroll eligible Medicaid or Medicare recipients in SNAP. Companion Bills HB 3931SB 1445
HB 3931 State Rep. Thresa Meza Out of House Committee - 4/23/19 Simplifies (re)certification process for SNAP benefits for those 60 years old or older.  Requires the use of data matching to enroll eligible Medicaid or Medicare recipients in SNAP. Companion Bills HB 3524SB 1445
SB 1445 State Sen. Charles Perry Out of House Committee - 5/3/19 Simplifies (re)certification process for SNAP benefits for those 60 years old or older.  Requires the use of data matching to enroll eligible Medicaid or Medicare recipients in SNAP. Companion Bills HB 3524HB 3931

Local Food System

Bill # Author Status Brief Description Past Bills (2017)
HB 97 State Rep. Eddie Rodriguez

Voted on by House - 5/1/19

Adds fruit and vegetable production to the list of farming activities that would allow land to be considered in agricultural use. Multi-use land will be redefined to contribute to "intensity" if usage across several categories, including fruit and vegetable production and small-scale animal husbandry.
HB 605 State Rep. Shawn Thierry

Left pending in committee - 5/1/19

Creates a tax credit for opening a grocery store or a healthy corner store in a food desert located in a low-to-moderate income area and accepts WIC. Companion Bill SB 574 Similar to HB 3299 (2017).  Failed to pass; did not receive committee hearing.
SB 574 State Sen. Borris L. Miles Left pending in committee - 4/15/19 Creates a tax credit for opening a grocery store or a healthy corner store in a food desert located in a low-to-moderate income area and accepts WIC. Companion Bill HB 605 Similar to HB 3299 (2017).  Failed to pass; did not receive committee hearing.
HB 644 State Rep. Gary VanDeaver Voted on by House - 5/3/19 Adds "pickled fruit or vegetables" to the list of foods allowed to be treated as cottage foods.
SB 236 State Sen. Jane Nelson Referred to Business & Commerce - 2/7/19 Request that the General Land Office develop a plan for identifying and using underused state land for community foods gardens by September 1, 2020.
HB 1694 State Rep. Stan Lambert Voted on by House - 4/26/19 Exempts "cottage" food from permitting requirements for the purpose of giving samples or providing a cooking demonstration. Companion Bill SB 789
SB 789 State Sen. Nathan Johnson Referred to Health & Human Services - 3/1/19 Exempts "cottage" food from permitting requirements for the purpose of giving samples or providing a cooking demonstration. Companion Bill HB 1694

Other Food Policy Bills

Bill # Author Status Brief Description Past Bills (2017)
HB 718 State Rep. Eddie Lucio III

Referred to State Affairs - 2/21/19

Requires that vending machines owned by the state or under the charge and control of a state agency carry only foods that meet minimum nutrition standards such as lower sodium (480mg), no trans fats, low-fat or skim milk, 100% fruit juice, unsweetened vegetable juice, lower fats and sugars.
Similar to HB 646 (2017), which did not receive a committee hearing, and HB 269 (2015), which failed, left pending in committee.
HB 1252 State Rep. Eddie Rodriguez

Left pending in committee - 4/25/19

Establishes a Grocery Access Investment Fund that would provide loan funds for financing the construction, expansion or rehabilitation of grocery store, mobile markets, or farm stands in low- to moderate-income areas of Texas.

Nutrition, Food Policy, and SNAP Resources

  1. School Physical Activity and Nutrition Project Data Explorer
  2. The State of Obesity 2018, a report from Trust for America's Health
  3. The Power of Produce: Healthy Food Incentives Empower Families, Support Farmers and Lift Up Communities  (2018); report from the Food Trust (2018).
  4. Closing the SNAP Gap: Recommendations to Prevent Hunger and Strengthen SNAP in Houston (2018)
  5. The SNAP Gap: Understanding Low Rates of Participation for Houston  (2018)
  6. Food and Nutrition in Texas: What You Need to Know; report from the Center for Public Policy Priorities.
  7. 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.
  8. Eligible and ineligible SNAP food items; U.S. Department of Agriculture (includes explanations and reports).
  9. Energy Drinks Fact Sheet; Yale Rudd Center.
  10. Questions and Answers About Energy Drinks and Health; International Food Information Council Foundation.
  11. UConn Rudd Center: Revenue Calculator for Sugar-Sweetened Beverage Taxes