STAND. COM. REP. NO. 69
RE: S.B. No. 512
Honorable Ronald D. Kouchi
President of the Senate
Thirty-First State Legislature
Regular Session of 2021
State of Hawaii
Your Committee on Agriculture and Environment, to which was referred S.B. No. 512 entitled:
"A BILL FOR AN ACT RELATING TO SUPPLEMENTAL NUTRITION ASSISTANCE PROGRAM INCENTIVES,"
begs leave to report as follows:
The purpose and intent of this measure is to remove the $10 per visit per day cap on the dollar-for-dollar match received by Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) beneficiaries under the Hawaii Healthy Food Incentive Program, also known as the Double Up Food Bucks Program (DA BUX).
received testimony in support of this measure from the Department of Agriculture;
Department of Health; Department of Human Services; University of Hawai‘i College of Tropical
Agriculture and Human Resources; Executive Office on Early Learning; City and
County of Honolulu Office of Economic Revitalization; Hawai‘i Primary Care Association; Our Revolution Hawaii; Hawaii Food Industry Association; GreenWheel Food Hub; Kauai Women's
Caucus; Chamber of
Commerce Hawaii; Hawai‘i Children's Action Network Speaks!; Sierra Club of Hawai‘i;
Lanakila Pacific; Ka Ohana O Na Pua; Aloha Harvest;
Hawai‘i Alliance for Community-Based
American Heart Association;
Wahiawa Health; Land
Use Research Foundation;
We Are One, Inc.; Hawaii Cattlemen's Council, Inc.; Hawai‘i Alliance for Progressive Action; Ulupono Initiative LLC; Blue
Zones Project; Hawai‘i Public Health Institute; Hawai‘i Farm Bureau; Kamehameha Schools; Hawai‘i Community Foundation; Early Childhood Action Strategy; ‘Ohana Health Plan; Local Food Coalition; Hawaii Appleseed Center
for Law and Economic Justice; Hawai‘i SEED; The Food Basket Inc.; Hawai‘i Islands Food Bank; Hawaii Medical Service Association; Aloha
Care; and seventy-four individuals.
Your Committee finds that Hawaii imports
approximately ninety percent of its food and has food costs that are eighty-two
percent higher than the national average.
Dependence on food imports threatens the sustainability of food
producers on the islands and places the entire population directly at risk of
food shortages in the event of pandemics, natural disasters, and economic disruptions. Furthermore, with the highest cost of living
in the nation, Hawaii has the highest unemployment rate of its residents. Due to the coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19)
pandemic and the resulting unprecedented unemployment, there has been an
increase in SNAP participation and an additional thirty thousand individuals
will be eligible for SNAP benefits post-pandemic. Additionally, local food producers are losing
about $2,000,000 in estimated sales per week.
Your Committee also finds that the
objectives of the DA BUX program are to increase SNAP household purchases of:
(1) Hawaii-grown fruits and vegetables at grocery stores;
(2) Hawaii-grown fruits and vegetables at farmers markets, mobile markets, and other produce retailers; and
(3) Community-supported agriculture subscriptions exclusively sourced from Hawaii farms.
The DA BUX program has been instrumental in
supporting local families and farmers; participating local grocers experienced significant
increases in sales of local fruits and vegetables paid with SNAP benefits. As a result of previous efforts around the
program between 2018 and 2020, the number of SNAP-participating households in
Hawaii with access to a DA BUX retailer near their homes increased by two
hundred seventy-two percent and at the end of 2020, the program expansion resulted
in seventy-seven percent of all SNAP participating households having a DA BUX
retailer within a reasonable shopping distance of their homes. Your Committee further finds that state investment
into the DA BUX program can potentially generate an economic impact of
$15,400,000 and spur three times additional funding of $7,500,000 to support
farmers. State funds generate
significant leverage to stimulate economic activity while advancing the State's
objective of doubling local food production by 2030.
Your Committee further finds that this
program helps low-income families double their purchasing power and improve
access to affordable and healthy Hawaii grown produce; farmers to expand their customer
base and increase their sales and farm profits, while stimulating farm
expansion in both acreage and crop diversity to meet demand; and communities to
build community food self-reliance, improve disaster resilience, and create
economic opportunities to stimulate the local economy.
Your Committee has
amended this measure by making
technical, nonsubstantive amendments for the purposes of clarity and
As affirmed by the record of votes of the members of your Committee on Agriculture and Environment that is attached to this report, your Committee is in accord with the intent and purpose of S.B. No. 512, as amended herein, and recommends that it pass Second Reading in the form attached hereto as S.B. No. 512, S.D. 1, and be referred to your Committee on Ways and Means.
Respectfully submitted on behalf of the members of the Committee on Agriculture and Environment,
MIKE GABBARD, Chair