Our legislative ask this year centers on food and farming as they intersect with racial justice. Why food and farming? Because it stands at the center of our life together and is a nexus of issues ranging from immigration, environmental stewardship, racial equity, labor rights, hunger, childhood poverty, water rights, immigration policies, and urban/rural issues. Not only that, our scriptures and our life together as Lutherans is filled with food, most centrally in the Eucharist, where Jesus offers his body and blood in bread and wine, offering sustenance to all. Many of Jesus’ miracles were done in response to hungry bellies and to human connection though food–think of the water becoming wine at Cana.
Jesus’ life was a protest to the injustices of the Roman Empire under which people of certain backgrounds were marginalized and exploited. So we are also supporting bills that will positively impact systems of access and promote racial equity.
More bills and resources are being continually. Please email email@example.com if you want to advocate on an issue you don’t see listed here.
AB 221 (Santiago): Emergency Food for All
As of January 18, 2021, 22.5% of California households were experiencing food insecurity, with an even higher rate of 27.8% for households with children. Rates of food insecurity are even worse when examining data by race, with 24.4% of Black households and 33.1% of Latinx households reporting some levels of food insecurity. These numbers are even more staggering for households with children: 33.8% of Black families and 38.1% of Latinx families are facing hunger.
What the Bill Would Do:
AB 221 would provide emergency food assistance to millions of low-income Californians during COVID-19 regardless of their documentation status. This bill would also require the State Department of Social Services (CDSS) to provide recommendations for a permanent food assistance program that meets the needs of all food insecure Californians.
For more details, see AB 221 Fact Sheet.
SB 464 (Hurtado): Food for All
For immigrant workers, the pandemic has significantly affected their health, security, and income, resulting in high unemployment rates in industries like hospitality and food service. At the same time, immigrants compose 36 percent of California’s essential workforce. This includes over 1.2 million undocumented Californians working frontline jobs — risking COVID-19 exposure for low wages.
Despite their many contributions, immigrants are explicitly denied access to CalFresh (known federally as SNAP). California established CFAP in response to 1996 federal welfare reform that ended SNAP eligibility for many documented immigrants, but the program wasn’t made fully inclusive. Today, CFAP serves about 38,000 “qualified immigrants” who lost federal SNAP eligibility. Current laws exclude undocumented immigrants, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients, Temporary Protected Status (TPS) holders, and certain visa holders from CFAP and CalFresh eligibility.
What this Bill would Do:
SB 464 would modernize the California Food Assistance Program (CFAP) to provide vital food assistance to households who are currently ineligible due to their immigration status.