States implement federal policy and they have the power to ensure that federal law fits the specific needs of the state.
Administrative or regulatory decisions or proposed legislation in the state house can have positive or negative effects on Wisconsin families who may need emergency food or benefits.
We support, advocate for, and educate elected and administration officials on state policies that:
- Increase access to fresh, nutritious food for Wisconsin families
- Ensure a strong, accessible, and effective FoodShare program
- Improve the health of Wisconsin families
Please sign up to be a Feeding Wisconsin Hunger Fighter to get more information and how you can get involved.
2017-2018 Proposed State Budget
In February, the Governor outlined a set of proposed welfare reforms in his state budget plan. These included extending a work requirement to adults with children as a condition for FoodShare eligibility, drug testing for FoodShare benefits, and implement an asset test as an eligibility criteria.
While we believe that a good job is the best hunger-fighting tool and broadly share the Governor’s goals of fighting hunger by increasing employment, we also know that mandating overly broad, one-size fits all work requirement does not address the real challenges that many of our clients face when trying to engage with the labor and training market, such as access to affordable, quality childcare and transportation.
We would support fine-tuning existing employment and training programs to better assess, understand, and address the barriers that FoodShare participants face in obtaining available jobs or enrolling in training programs. This would be a far more effective use of vital taxpayer dollars.
The rise of opioid addition is a very real threat and we support efforts to screen and provide treatment to people dealing with health crisis of addiction. However, drug testing as a condition for FoodShare benefits is a separate issue and is currently illegal.
People who have low-incomes do not abuse drugs at a higher rate than those who have high incomes and by casting such a broad net, the policy would be expensive for the state and counties to implement.
The FoodShare program already legally drug tests former drug felons as a condition for benefits and so in this way, drug testing is also duplicative of targeted, existing measures.
The budget proposal also includes implementing an asset test, which would limit anyone with assets in excess of $25,000 to be eligible for the program.
We oppose this measure because it is a disincentive to save for the future. Since the average FoodShare recipient only has about $300 in assets, this test could potentially penalize middle income families who fall on hard times for saving and playing by the rules.
A family with a 401K should not have to liquidate their assets to qualify for the temporary assistance of FoodShare if the parents experience employment instability. They should not have to spend down their savings in order to qualify for food assistance.
September 2017 Budget Update
In mid-September, the Assembly and Senate passed the budget and sent the budget to the Governor for his vetoes. The Governor issued 99 vetoes, including three that would affect the administration of the work requirement. We are looking into the effects of these vetoes and will update this page shortly.
Current Positions on State Legislation
AB64/SB30: State Budget
- Oppose: All FoodShare proposals
- Support: EITC and Childcare expansion
- Urge: elected officials to expand Medicaid
AB 501/SB 416: FoodShare Incentives for Healthy Eating
LRB 1033: Harvest for Hope Grants
AB 57/SB 19: Requiring Child Support Compliance for FoodShare Benefits
While we support policies that help to ensure that children have the financial support they need to grow and develop, we have concerns that this legislation only serves to punish non-custodial parents who are trying their best to stay afloat.
People fall behind on child support because they don't have enough money to pay all of their bills. By taking away their ability to purchase food simply increases their stress and makes it even harder for them to train or work in order to earn the money to be current on their child support.
As individual family situations and living arrangements are complex, this legislation may have the perverse effect of taking food away from children living in the home of the non-compliant parent.