Saturday, July 22, 2017

How did Hunger Fare in the 2017 State Legislature? Ask Ruth Hoffman

The New Mexico State Legislature published a massive 173-page document highlighting the results of the Fifty Third Legislature (First Session) 2017, Fifty Third Legislature (Special Session) 2017. And as a bonus, the document contains results from the Fifty Second Legislature (Second Special Session) 2016.

A search in the document for the word "hunger" provides the following result: (S374) Hunger Free Students' Bill of Rights Act, which requires that students be provided meals regardless of their ability to pay. 

Public school districts and public, private and religious schools that participate in the national school lunch program or school breakfast program are prohibited from stigmatizing or discriminating against a student through public identification of a meal debt, forced disposal of served meals or the imposition of chores or other work not required of other students. Schools must ensure that all eligible students are enrolled in a free or reduced - fee meal program and must direct all communications about a meal debt to parents and guardians, not to the student. 

That very important piece of legislation made headlines in The New York Times, National Public Radio and other national media outlets.

Other Issues?
The "hunger" word search on the document brings up no other results, and we know that several important pieces of legislation dealing with hunger and its related symptom of poverty came up during the session. Two such issues were on the legislative agenda of the Lutheran Advocacy Ministry-New Mexico for the 2017 Legislative Session.
  • Protecting funding for the state SNAP supplement program & against increasing barriers to SNAP enrollment 
  • Efforts to close New Mexico’s food gap & funding for food banks   
Plus, there were many other related issues in the areas of Family-Sustaining Income and Affordable Housing & Homelessness. Even the other categories: Tax Policy, Health Care, Criminal Justice have a bearing on whether New Mexicans are at risk of hunger. And then there was the all-important HB1, the funding bill

Featured Speaker
So what was the outcome of these legislative initiatives in the State Legislature (regular and special session)?

Ruth Hoffman, director of the Lutheran-Advocacy Ministry-New Mexico, will give us an update at the bimonthly meeting of the Interfaith Hunger Coalition  Plus, Ruth will tell us which issues are likely to surface in the 2018 state legislative session.

                                    Tuesday, August 8
                                    12:00 Noon
                                    First Presbyterian Church 
                                    (Martin Luther King and I-25)
                                                  The public is cordially invited.

(LAM-NM is an endorsing partner of the Interfaith Hunger Coalition)

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