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

FAILED TO PASS - left pending in committee

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

FAILED TO PASS - passed committee but did not receive House vote

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

PASSED - Signed by the Governor; effective 5/24/19

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

FAILED TO PASS - did not receive committee hearing 

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 FAILED TO PASS - did not receive committee hearing  Requires that Lone Star Cards include photos, Fraud Hotline info, and the SNAP website. Companion Bill SB 671
SB 671 State Sen. Brandon Creighton FAILED TO PASS - passed committee but did not receive House vote Requires that Lone Star Cards include photos, Fraud Hotline info, and the SNAP website. Companion Bill HB 1250
SB 981 State Sen. Lois Kolkhorst PASSED - Signed by the Governor; effective 6/14/19 Establishes guidelines for interactions between SNAP providers and local governments in times of disaster.
HB 4364 State Rep. Briscoe Cain FAILED TO PASS - did not receive committee hearing  Eliminates sugar-sweetened beverages and chips from eligibility for purchase with SNAP benefits.
HB 3541 State Rep. Toni Rose FAILED TO PASS - passed committee but did not receive House vote 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 PASSED - Signed by the Governor; effective 9/1/19 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 FAILED TO PASS - did not receive committee hearing  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 FAILED TO PASS - passed committee but did not receive House vote 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 FAILED TO PASS - passed committee but did not receive House vote 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

FAILED TO PASS - did not receive committee hearing 

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

FAILED TO PASS - left pending in committee

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 FAILED TO PASS - left pending in committee 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 FAILED TO PASS - passed committee but did not receive Senate vote Adds "pickled fruit or vegetables" to the list of foods allowed to be treated as cottage foods.
SB 236 State Sen. Jane Nelson FAILED TO PASS - did not receive committee hearing  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 PASSED - Signed by the Governor; effective 9/1/19
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 FAILED TO PASS - did not receive committee hearing  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

FAILED TO PASS - did not receive committee hearing 

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

FAILED TO PASS - Left pending in committee

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. Energy Drinks Fact Sheet; Yale Rudd Center.
  9. Questions and Answers About Energy Drinks and Health; International Food Information Council Foundation.
  10. UConn Rudd Center: Revenue Calculator for Sugar-Sweetened Beverage Taxes