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Senate passes House bill to provide healthier food for students

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Students in households that struggle to afford fresh fruits and vegetables as part of their regular diet would benefit from a new state program, under legislation passed today by the Senate.

House Bill 1587 would direct the state Department of Health to develop and manage a Fruit and Vegetable Incentives Program in which eligible households may receive vouchers to purchase fresh fruits and vegetables at authorized farmers markets.

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Senator Clair Wilson, 30th District Democrats, 30th District Senator, Wa Senator, Auburn Senator, Auburn, Auburn Representative
Senator Clair Wilson (D- Auburn, 30th District) | Courtesy Photo

“When families can’t afford the cost of healthy foods, it affects performance in the classroom, on the job, and pretty much anything they do,” said Sen. Claire Wilson (D-Auburn), the vice chair of the Senate Early Learning and K-12 Education Committee. “Access to healthier food improves family health and eating habits, and that improved health shows up in the classroom in the form of stronger academic performance.”

Wilson sponsored Senate Bill 5583, the Senate companion legislation to HB 1587, which passed the Senate on a near-unanimous, 47-1 vote. The legislation expands pilot programs that began with the Food Insecurity Nutrition Incentive (FINI), a federal grant created through the 2014 Farm Bill. Washington state is the recipient of the nation’s largest FINI grant, but it expires this year. HB 1587 would keep the programs funded by the FINI grant moving forward, regardless of what happens at the federal level.

The programs enable people who receive food assistance through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) to purchase produce at farmer’s markets, receive additional funds for fruits and vegetables at authorized grocery stores, and get vouchers from providers at community health clinics good for fruit and vegetable purchases.

“It’s pretty simple,” Wilson said. “Healthier kids do better, including and especially in the classroom.”

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Having been amended by the Senate, the legislation now goes back to the House for reconsideration.


The above is a press release from the office of Senator Claire Wilson.  The Auburn Examiner has not independently verified its contents.

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