Washington State wrapped up this legislative session a little over a week ago and included in the final budget were some programs that Nutrition First and our Coalition partners considered high priorities for funding.
The Emergency Food Assistance Program (EFAP) received $800,000 to help relieve some of the pressure Food Banks have felt over the last several years with increased participation.
The Farmers Market Nutrition Program was increased by $200,000 (100K each for WIC and Seniors).
The Healthiest Next Generation Bill that would help coordinate efforts to prevent childhood obesity didn’t pass a floor vote, but was funded for 3 FTE positions at Department of Health, Department of Early Learning and Office for the Superintendent of Public Instruction in the budget so we hope to see the work of this move forward.
The Breastfeeding Friendly Washington Bill also did not make it off the Senate floor due to heavy opposition from formula companies. We hope this might be picked up in the body of work of the Healthiest Next Generation.
The Prenatal Nutrition Education Bill which states the Department of Health will develop and make available nutrition and pregnancy related education resources was passed and signed by the Governor.
The State Food Assistance Program did not receive any additional funding, however language was included in the budget for this State funded look alike SNAP program that provides benefits to legal immigrants that they will be no less than 75% of the federal benefit.
Breakfast after the Bell unfortunately also failed to move off the floor.
Please take time to write and thank you legislators for their work over this session and funding of these vital programs. You can visit leg.wa.gov to determine who your legislators are and see how they voted.