Thursday, October 2, 2008

Bills signed by Governor Schwarzenegger to assist the hungry in California

Governor Schwarzenegger signed three bills that will have positive impacts on people receiving public food benefits.  They are:

AB 433 (Beall)  Allows for “categorical” eligibility for Medi-Cal recipients to access Food Stamps without another application.  It also renames the Food Stamp Program.  Basically, reduces an application barrier. 
Approx. 2 years ago our Food Bank and California Food Policy Advocates met with Assembly Member Jim Beall.  We asked him to sponsor this legislation for us.  Below is a communication from the Governor about this bill.

AB 2300 (Laird) Automatically allows enrollment for children into free school meal program if their family receives Medi-Cal benefits.  Basically reduces application barrier. 

AB 2726 (Leno) Allows for the healthy Purchase Pilot Program which will provide more fresh produce. 

To the Members of the California State Assembly:

I am signing Assembly Bill 433 because I believe it is important to provide food and nutrition benefits to hungry families in our struggling economic times. In California, there are currently more than 2 million people that are eligible for federal food stamp benefits, but for many reasons, these individuals do not apply. This bill will help an additional 32,000 households receive federal food stamp benefits, avoid hunger and stimulate our economy through enhanced federal funds.

Food policy experts and the Department of Social Services have worked hard to design this bill to provide the greatest number of families with benefits at the lowest possible administrative cost. A $4.5 million investment will result in more than $110 million in federal food stamp benefits for California families and an increase of more than $2.5 million in state tax revenues.

In signing this bill, I am mindful of our state’s ongoing fiscal challenges. Therefore, I direct my Administration to fund this new program expansion with existing federal reimbursements that have already been received for the Food Stamp Nutrition and Education program. This will eliminate any potential General Fund impacts. For these reasons, I am pleased to sign this bill.

Arnold Schwarzenegger