SENATE BILL 5921
State of Washington 52nd Legislature 1991 Regular Session
By Senators Thorsness, A. Smith and L. Kreidler.
Read first time March 5, 1991. Referred to Committee on Health & Long‑Term Care.
AN ACT Relating to health and nutrition; adding new sections to chapter 74.04 RCW; adding new sections to Title 28A RCW; adding a new section to chapter 43.63A RCW; creating new sections; making appropriations; providing an effective date; and declaring an emergency.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF WASHINGTON:
NEW SECTION. Sec. 1. The legislature finds that adequate nutrition is one of the strongest prerequisites for individual and community health. Women with young children who do not maintain adequate diets are more frequently ill, participate less fully in educational opportunities, experience more preventable health problems and cannot provide for themselves as well as those who maintain adequate diets.
Savings in health care costs, costs of increased disability, and potential loss of human life make increasing the availability of nutritious food to pregnant women and their newborns a wise investment for the state to make.
Children who are hungry, undernourished, or malnourished are unable to learn as easily as other children and often do not achieve to their highest ability. These children also experience more frequent illness and chronic disability than well fed children. When this happens year after year, their ability to reach adulthood prepared to take care of themselves is greatly diminished. All schools do not provide breakfast and lunch programs for their students. During the summer months children are at even greater risk of being hungry, undernourished, or malnourished.
NEW SECTION. Sec. 2. The legislature finds that the supplemental food program for women, infants and children, known as WIC, is cost beneficial and effective in preventing health problems in pregnant and lactating women and in their newborns and young children. Research shows that participation in the program prevents infant mortality, reduces the number of undernourished children with retarded growth, reduces the incidence of delayed or diminished cognitive development, and decreases the number of low-birthweight babies. In order to make this cost beneficial program available to more women and children, the legislature will increase funding to the supplemental food program for women, infants and children.
NEW SECTION. Sec. 3. The legislature finds that delays in receiving food stamps often drive hungry families to food banks. Expediting the issuance of food stamps to eligible applicants will ease some of the pressure on the food bank system. The legislature also finds that although the majority of those who apply for the expedited issuance of food stamps receive them within the five-day waiting period, some do not. Therefore, the department of social and health services is directed to issue food stamps to all eligible applicants within twenty-four hours of application.
NEW SECTION. Sec. 4. A new section is added to chapter 74.04 RCW to read as follows:
The department shall issue expedited food stamps to eligible recipients within twenty-four hours of application. The department shall establish an eligibility process for the expedited issuance of food stamps that conforms to federal requirements and results in no additional workload increase to department staff.
NEW SECTION. Sec. 5. A new section is added to chapter 74.04 RCW to read as follows:
In determining food stamp need and eligibility, the department shall exclude as income the child support exempted by 42 U.S.C. Sec. 657(b) or 602(a)(8)(A)(vi).
NEW SECTION. Sec. 6. The legislature finds that the health of a community is dependent on the ability of all members of the community to have nutritious food to eat. The legislature further finds that children and elderly in care are often unable to provide for their own nutritional needs. The legislature finds that school breakfast and lunch programs, summer feeding programs, and the child and adult day care feeding programs authorized by the United States department of agriculture are effective in improving the health status of a community and its members by addressing unmet nutritional needs by promoting the health and well-being of those who are eligible to participate. However, some communities in the state do not participate in these programs because they do not know about them or because the sites have not been established to provide the programs. The result is hunger, malnutrition, and inadequate nutrition education for otherwise eligible persons living in nonparticipating communities. It is the intent of the legislature to increase the awareness of nutrition programs and increase the availability of sites where nutritious food is served to eligible children and adults.
NEW SECTION. Sec. 7. A new section is added to Title 28A RCW to read as follows:
The community action agencies under chapter 43.63A RCW, in consultation with the superintendent of public instruction, shall aggressively solicit eligible schools, child and adult day care centers, and other eligible organizations to participate in the nutrition programs authorized by the United States department of agriculture.
NEW SECTION. Sec. 8. A new section is added to Title 28A RCW to read as follows:
The department of community development, through community action agencies under chapter 43.63A RCW, and in consultation with the superintendent of public instruction shall:
(1) Provide start-up funds for school breakfast programs in those schools not qualifying as "severe-need schools" as defined in chapter 239, Laws of 1989;
(2) Provide funds for school districts to start or restart school lunch programs;
(3) Provide an additional ten cents per meal reimbursement for all meals served to children in schools. The per meal reimbursement shall be adjusted annually to reflect the cost of living using a process approved by the United States department of agriculture.
NEW SECTION. Sec. 9. A new section is added to chapter 43.63A RCW to read as follows:
Community action agencies and the regional health promotion and disease prevention programs created in Senate Bill No. 5347 shall:
(1) In conjunction with local school boards, parents and parent organizations and with local associations and organizations aggressively solicit programs including, but not limited to summer feeding sites, after school, vacation, and weekend programs which promote the physical and mental health of children through the provision of nutritious meals available to all programs serving eligible children of any age;
(2) In conjunction with local school boards, parents and parent organizations, health providers and public health officials, and other local associations and organizations, develop and distribute material and provide training to help child nutrition programs comply with United States department of agriculture guidelines and administer national nutrition education training funds.
NEW SECTION. Sec. 10. (1) The sum of ........ million dollars, or as much thereof as may be necessary, is appropriated for the biennium ending June 30, 1993, from the general fund to the office of the superintendent of public instruction for the purposes of implementing section 8 of this act.
(2) The sum of ........ million dollars, or as much thereof or may be necessary, is appropriated for the biennium ending June 30, 1993, from the general fund to the department of health for the purposes of section 9 of this act.
(3) The sum of ........ million dollars, or as much thereof as may be necessary, is appropriated for the biennium ending June 30, 1993, from the general fund to the department of community development for community action actions to be used for the purposes of section 9 of this act.
NEW SECTION. Sec. 11. The sum of twelve million dollars, or as much thereof as may be necessary, is appropriated for the biennium ending June 30, 1993, from the general fund to the department of health for the purposes of increasing the number of eligible women, infants and children served by the special supplemental food program for women, infants and children.
NEW SECTION. Sec. 12. The department of health shall report to the legislature and make available to the health care cost control and access commission recommendations on the effectiveness of nutrition programs which include at least school nutrition programs, food stamps, WIC, and nutrition counseling and any other public or private programs which seek to assure that the public maintains an adequate diet. The recommendations shall include an analysis of the cost benefits of including supplemental nutrition and nutrition services in the basic health plan, and removing them from unnecessary medical supervision to decrease the cost of adequate nutrition, as a health promotion and disease prevention effort.
The department of health shall further study and report on the barriers, cultural, social, and economic, that currently exist to the access of adequate private and public food and nutrition programs that have a benefit to public health.
These studies shall be completed by October 30, 1991.
NEW SECTION. Sec. 13. If any provision of this act or its application to any person or circumstance is held invalid, the remainder of the act or the application of the provision to other persons or circumstances is not affected.
NEW SECTION. Sec. 14. This act is necessary for the immediate preservation of the public peace, health, or safety, or support of the state government and its existing public institutions, and shall take effect July 1, 1991.