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Capitol Insider: Latest News on Food Insecurity Policy & Advocacy (September 2022)

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by Jessica Dietrich, Director of Government Relations and Public Policy

White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health 

We are extremely proud and honored to share that our Executive Director, Chris Bernard, received an invite to attend the White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health in person on behalf of Hunger Free Oklahoma.

This invitation is a testament to the work that partners across the state have done collectively to work towards a hunger-free Oklahoma. Chris’s attendance at the conference ensures that there is a strong advocate at the table to ensure the conversation and solutions center the needs and concerns of Oklahomans.

  • The conference is being held in Washington, D.C. on September 28, 2022.
  • In-person attendance at the conference is by invitation only and is extremely limited.
  • What to expect: Agenda
  • How to watch: Click here to request a link – Coverage expected 8am-5pm Central

Hungry for Action Speaker Series Policy Session Next Month 

Our team is excited to continue our speaker series entitled Hungry for Action. The next session is on October 11 and is all about food security policy and advocacy. Our panel of expert speakers will cover hot topics like Child Nutrition Reauthorization and the upcoming 2023 Farm Bill (which has major implications for federal nutrition programs), and how new and experienced advocates (and everyone in-between) can take action. Our expert panelists include: 

  • Ty Jones Cox, Vice President for Food Assistance, the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities 
  • Abi Fain, Director of Policy and Government Relations, Intertribal Agriculture Council 
  • Chris Bernard, Executive Director, Hunger Free Oklahoma 

Though this session is primarily focused on state and federal level policies, Oklahoma City Councilor and food security advocate, Nikki Nice, will help kick off the beginning of the session. 

We hope to see you there. Please register here and encourage others to attend. 

SNAP Cost of Living Adjustment 

Last month, the USDA announced the cost-of-living adjustment to SNAP benefits will be a 12.5% increase beginning in October 2022. SNAP benefits are adjusted each year based on the cost of groceries, and high inflation led to the largest cost of living adjustment in recent history. While this will provide some breathing room to families trying to stretch their grocery budgets, it only means roughly $0.20 more per person per meal. 

Child Nutrition Program Reauthorization 

The House Committee on Education and Labor passed H.R. 1850 out of committee on July 27, 2022. The reauthorization package is now eligible to be heard on the House floor, but an exact timeline is not clear at this point. The Senate had an opportunity to include Child Nutrition Reauthorization provisions in the budget reconciliation (Inflation Reduction Act) but chose to leave these provisions out of the package. While Child Nutrition Reauthorization has a path forward in the House, it faces greater hurdles in the Senate. As a reminder, here are some of the provisions that will impact Oklahoma the most. 

What advocates can do: Please contact both your House and Senate members and tell them to prioritize passing Child Nutrition Reauthorization before the end of the year. 

P-EBT Updates 

School Year 2020–2021 Benefits:
Families who filled out the review form on OSDE’s page are starting to receive these benefits. 

School Year 2021–2022 Benefits:
Oklahoma was recently approved to operate the P-EBT program for school closures during the 2021–2022 school year. At this time, we are unsure of when these benefits will be issued. 

Summer 2022 Benefits:
Oklahoma was recently approved to operate the P-EBT program for Summer 2022. Unlike school year benefits, summer benefits are a uniform amount of $391 for all qualifying children. Benefits went out at the end of July and beginning of August. 

Federal Public Health Emergency 

The federal public health emergency has been extended through October 13, 2022. At this time, we anticipate that the emergency declaration will be extended one more time (from October 2022 through January 2023), though no official action has been announced or taken yet. The end of the federal public health emergency will mean several changes to federal nutrition programs. We are tracking this very closely and will keep our partners updated with the latest information. 

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Working together for a hunger free Oklahoma.

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