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Capitol Insider: Latest News on Food Insecurity Policy & Advocacy

by Jessica Dietrich, Policy & Government Relations Manager

Though the Oklahoma State Legislature has adjourned their regular session, there is still ongoing work for our elected officials. State Representatives and State Senators recently submitted their requests for interim studies. Senate President Pro Tempore Greg Treat approved 71 interim study requests and House Speaker Charles McCall will approve House interim study requests by the end of this week.

The Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH) recently announced an opportunity for public comment regarding the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC). Public feedback is needed for the State Plan of Program Operations for the 2022 Federal Fiscal Year. Comments must be received before July 30, 2021. If you are interested in submitting a public comment, please read this release for more information.

The Oklahoma Joint Committee on Pandemic Funding met this week to discuss plans for distributing the state-level American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds. Unlike the CARES Act state-level funds, ARPA funds have to be allocated by December 2024 and must be spent by December 2026. The joint committee has designated four working groups to consider funding proposals.

The temporary 15 percent boost in SNAP benefits, which is separate from the SNAP emergency allotments, is currently set to end as of September 30, 2021. With this and other pandemic-related benefits likely to sunset over the next several months there will be benefit “cliffs” for many families who are still working to recover from the pandemic. Members of the U.S. House Agriculture Committee called for action to avoid the impending “COVID benefit cliffs” at a subcommittee hearing on July 12.

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