3SHB 1562

This analysis was prepared by non-partisan legislative staff for the use of legislative members in their deliberations. This analysis is not a part of the legislation nor does it constitute a statement of legislative intent.

As of February 20, 2018

Title: An act relating to continuing the work of the Washington food policy forum.

Brief Description: Continuing the work of the Washington food policy forum.

Sponsors: House Committee on Appropriations (originally sponsored by Representatives Gregerson, Stonier, Orwall, Senn, Slatter, Peterson, Lovick, Farrell, Santos, Ryu, McBride, Ortiz-Self, Hudgins, Pollet, Riccelli, Macri, Pike, Stanford, Doglio, Fitzgibbon, Bergquist, Tharinger, Sawyer, Ormsby, Dolan, Cody and Fey).

Brief History: Passed House: 2/14/18, 71-27.

Committee Activity: Agriculture, Water, Natural Resources & Parks: 2/20/18.

Brief Summary of Bill

  • Establishes a Food Policy Forum (Forum) as a public-private partnership to promote a variety of goals related to Washington's food system.

  • Directs the Forum to submit recommendations to the Legislature no later than October 29, 2019.


Staff: Karen Epps (786-7424)

Background: The Washington State Conservation Commission (Commission) convened a food policy forum in response to a proviso in the 2016 Supplemental Operating Budget. The 2017-19 Biennial Operating Budget included a proviso to the Commission to continue the work of the food policy forum with the same proviso language from the 2016 Supplemental Operating Budget. The Commission was directed to report to the Legislature with the food policy forum’s recommendations by October 31, 2017. The food policy forum followed a previous food system roundtable established by Executive Order No. 10-02.

The food policy forum is composed of members appointed by the director of the Commission (Director), as well as four members from the Legislature. The proviso established that, in making appointments, the Director must attempt to ensure a diversity of knowledge, experience, and perspectives by building on the representation established by the food system roundtable initiated by Executive Order 10-02.

The Commission submitted the food policy forum's recommendations to the Legislature in October 2017. The food policy forum is still in the process of educating itself about food policy efforts underway in various state agencies and local communities. The food policy forum identified several areas of opportunity across the food system:

The food policy forum plans to continue meeting in 2018, with a goal to identify recommendations, as appropriate, and report to the Legislature in October 2018.

Summary of Bill: The Washington Food Policy Forum (Forum) is established as a public-private partnership to develop recommendations to advance the following food system goals:

The Forum's recommendations must consider, at a minimum, ways in which the following can help achieve the goals of the Forum:

The Director of the Commission and the Department of Agriculture (Department) must appoint the members of the Forum with the goal of ensuring a diversity of knowledge, experience, and perspectives that reflect the issues to be addressed by the Forum. Members of the Forum should include state and federal government employees, related nonprofit and community organizations, and the food industry, including food production, processing, distribution, marketing, and retail sales. Four members of the Legislature may also serve on the Forum, one from each of the two largest caucuses in the House of Representatives and the Senate.

The members of the Forum will not receive compensation, but may be reimbursed for their travel expenses. The Commission and the Department must provide staff for the Forum. Both agencies are also jointly responsible for transmitting the Forum's recommendations to the Legislature by October 29, 2019.

Appropriation: None.

Fiscal Note: Available.

Creates Committee/Commission/Task Force that includes Legislative members: Yes.

Effective Date: Ninety days after adjournment of session in which bill is passed. Includes a null and void clause.

Staff Summary of Public Testimony: PRO: This bill would formalize the Forum that has been created under the budget proviso so that there is continuity in this work. The food policy forum did submit a report but the report does not have much direction at this point. Formalizing the Forum through legislation will being more stakeholders to the table. This bill is designed to be inclusive without being prescriptive. The Forum should be grounded in statute so its work can be ongoing and maintain a helpful, workable conversation about food policy in the state. This bill brings together a group of people to talk about issues of hunger in the state and how to work together to resolve the issue. One of the things the Forum wants to do is connect farmers to opportunities for food.

Persons Testifying: PRO: Representative Mia Gregerson, Prime Sponsor; Tom Davis, Washington Farm Bureau; Ron Shultz, Washington State Conservation Commission.

Persons Signed In To Testify But Not Testifying: No one.