HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

H.B. NO.

40

THIRTIETH LEGISLATURE, 2019

 

STATE OF HAWAII

 

 

 

 

 

 

A BILL FOR AN ACT

 

 

RELATING TO HUMAN SERVICES.

 

 

BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF HAWAII:

 


SECTION 1. The legislature finds that because of Hawaii's high cost of living and food prices, many low-income individuals and families struggle to purchase food. The supplemental nutrition assistance program, formerly known as the food stamp program, is a crucial means of providing necessary assistance in the purchasing of food for some of Hawaii's most disadvantaged citizens. In September 2016, 173,669 people in Hawaii participated in the supplemental nutrition assistance program, which is 5.1 per cent less participation than in September 2015. While Hawaii secures over $500,000,000 annually in supplemental nutrition assistance program moneys, a 2014 report by the United States Department of Agriculture ranked Hawaii thirty-fourth among states in the percentage of eligible individuals that participate in the supplemental nutrition assistance program.

The legislature also finds that if additional eligible individuals participated in the supplemental nutrition assistance program, the State could receive increased federal funding. Additionally, Moody's Analytics estimates that every dollar given in supplemental nutrition assistance program funds can generate one dollar and seventy cents in the local economy.

The legislature further finds that many individuals who are eligible to participate in the supplemental nutrition assistance program do not participate because they are unaware of the supplemental nutrition assistance program's existence or of their eligibility. Authorizing health care providers, non-profit organizations, businesses, and faith-based organizations to distribute supplemental nutrition assistance program applications to those in need may increase participation in the supplemental nutrition assistance program. Furthermore, authorizing health care providers to report to the department of human services an aggregate collection of data about state supplemental nutrition assistance program participation would allow the department of human services to aid policy makers in establishing plans to maximize federal funding and increase access to nutritious foods. Each of these outcomes would result in the State having more supplemental nutrition assistance program participants, which in turn would result in heightened food security for low-income individuals and families, and more money flowing into the State's economy.

The purpose of this Act is to authorize health care providers, non-profit organizations, businesses, and faith-based organizations to distribute supplemental nutrition assistance program applications; provided that any organization that distributes supplemental nutrition assistance program applications shall maintain a record of the application distribution that shall be made available to the department of human services.

SECTION 2. Chapter 346, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended by adding a new section to part II to be appropriately designated and to read as follows:

"346-   Supplemental nutrition assistance program participation. (a) Health care providers, non-profit organizations, businesses, and faith-based organizations may distribute supplemental nutrition assistance program applications to prospective applicants.

(b) Health care providers, non-profits organizations, businesses, and faith-based organizations that provide supplemental nutrition assistance program applications to prospective applicants shall maintain records of the distribution of the supplemental nutrition assistance program applications and shall make the records available to the department upon request."

SECTION 3. New statutory material is underscored.

SECTION 4. This Act shall take effect upon its approval.

 

INTRODUCED BY:

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Report Title:

Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program; DHS; Applications; Records;

 

Description:

Authorizes health care providers, non-profit organizations, businesses, and faith-based organizations to distribute supplemental nutrition assistance program applications to prospective applicants. Requires any organization distributing supplemental nutrition assistance program applications to maintain records of the distribution that shall be made available to the Department of Human Services upon request.

 

 

 

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