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Capitol Insider: Latest News on Food Insecurity Policy & Advocacy (March 2024)

State Capitol ceiling

by Bailey Ashbaker, Senior Policy Analyst and Engagement Specialist, and Jessica Dietrich, Director of Government Relations and Public Policy


State Updates

Welcome back to another exciting roundup of all things food policy in Oklahoma. We’re nearly halfway through Oklahoma’s 2024 legislative session, finally wrapped up a federal FY 2024 budget, and preparing for the 2024 election cycle. A reminder that the Oklahoma primary elections are June 18, 2024, and the general elections are November 5. The deadline to register to vote before the primaries is May 24, and the deadline to request an absentee ballot to vote in the primaries is June 3. You can register to vote, view your registration status, and request an absentee ballot by clicking here. You can also view a full 2024 voter information calendar here.

Anti-Hunger Day at the Capitol

Do you want to activate your advocacy on anti-hunger issues this legislative session? Join Food Bank of Eastern Oklahoma, Hunger Free Oklahoma, and Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma for our 2024 Anti-Hunger Day at the Capitol April 22. Register here by April 17!

Child Nutrition Legislation

  • Thrive Act
    • SB 1363 (Sen. Garvin): Dead pursuant to the rules.
      • Provides meal cost reimbursement to schools with a high percentage of students on free or reduced lunch waivers and proposes a study to evaluate the impact of school meals on students.
    • SB 1473 (Sen. Garvin): Dead pursuant to the rules.
      • Creates a state grant to incentivize purchase of local foods for school meals,
  • HB 1376 (Rep. Boatman): Carried over.
    • Expands free school meals to households with incomes up to 250% of the FPL.
  • HB 1840 (Rep. Kerbs): Dead pursuant to the rules.
    • Proposes to move Child Nutrition program administration from OK State Department of Education to Department of Agriculture.
  • SB 1220 (Sen. Hicks): Dead pursuant to the rules.
    • Expands free school meals to households below 250% of the FPL.
  • SB 1324 (Sen. R. Thompson): Received in the House 3/18/24.
    • Creates optional electronic universal meal application for free and reduced-price meals.
  • HB 3461 (Rep. Moore): Dead pursuant to the rules.
    • Requires Legislature to appropriate funds for no-cost meals for all.

Notable Legislation

  • SB 1244 (Sen. Daniels): Dead pursuant to the rules.
    • Removes certain population size requirements for nonprofits to qualify for a sales tax exemption on services for homeless persons.
  • HB 4060 (Rep. Wallace): Referred to the Senate Agriculture & Rural Affairs Committee 3/19/24.
    • Provides liability protections for donations of wild game to charitable orgs.
  • HB 3831 (Rep. Alonso-Sandoval): Dead pursuant to the rules.
    • Creates Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Act.
  • HB 3829 (Rep. Alonso-Sandoval): Dead pursuant to the rules.
    • Creates grant program to support urban farming, community gardens, and agriculture projects in urban settings.

Benefits Application Legislation

  • SB 1318 (Sen. Garvin): Dead pursuant to the rules.
  • HB 3235 (Rep. Lawson): Referred to Senate Health & Human Services Committee 3/19/24.
    • Creates universal benefits application for SNAP, TANF, Medicaid, and WIC.

Federal Updates 

Federal Budget

On March 23, Congress finally sent the completed budget for the 2024 federal fiscal year, which runs October 1, 2023 – September 30, 2024, to the President’s desk. Included in the final budget was a significant win for food security advocates; $1 billion in increased funding for WIC. Without this increased funding there was potential that the program could run out of funds, which could have created a waitlist for the benefit.

Congress’s attention now turns to the FY 2025 budget, which must be passed by September 30, 2024. Work has already begun, including discussion of potentially expanding the Child Tax Credit (CTC). During the height of the pandemic, the CTC was temporarily expanded by Congress, helping lift millions of children out of poverty. The CTC expansion currently being considered by Congress would benefit roughly 232,000 Oklahoma children in the first year alone. To help ensure this impactful policy is passed by Congress, contact our US Senators, Senator Lankford and Senator Mullin, and ask them to support the expansion of the Child Tax Credit.

Farm Bill

It is still unclear when there will be action on the Farm Bill, but at this time action will most likely be pushed to December 2024 or, more likely, into 2025. Though this extended timeline is disappointing, no Farm Bill is better than a harmful Farm Bill.

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Working together for a hunger free Oklahoma.

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