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 find our 2021-2022 Legislative One-Pager Here.
Please sign up to be a Feeding Wisconsin Hunger Fighter to get more information and how you can get involved.
FoodShare Work Requirements and Drug Testing
We oppose SB 902 / AB 935 removing the state’s ability to suspend the work requirement and requiring drug testing for FoodShare applicants. If you are interested in reading more, see our written testimony and drug testing brief.
FoodShare Work Requirements
This bill will require the Wisconsin Department of Health Services to end the suspension of the Able-Bodied Adults Without Dependents (ABAWD) work requirements–a three month time limit for childless adults who are working fewer than 80 hours per month. The state has currently suspended the requirement and the federal waiver is currently set to expire September 2022.
While we believe that for those who can work, a good job is the best hunger-fighting tool, we also know that mandating an overly broad, one-size fits all work requirement does not address the real challenges that many of our neighbors face when trying to engage with the labor and training market, such as access to affordable, quality childcare and transportation. The second best hunger-fighting tool is the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, known as FoodShare in Wisconsin).
This legislation would permanently tie the Governor’s hands from providing SNAP benefits to this group during tough times. It would eliminate the Governor’s authority to respond to tough economic times and would eliminate any ability to temper the effects of a new recession or economic downturn in any part of the state. While the economy may be recovering now, it is impossible to know when an area of the state may face a crisis.
Drug Testing Requirement for FoodShare eligibility
This bill will also make drug testing a requirement for FoodShare eligibility. We need to remember that the core purpose of the FoodShare program is to ensure that people have the food they need to get through the hard times and work to stabilize their lives. That’s why the program was created and that’s how a vast majority of Wisconsin families are utilizing the program. Currently, Wisconsin already tests people with past felony drug convictions as a condition to receive FoodShare benefits, and so this provision is redundant and an inefficient use of state resources to ensure that Wisconsin families have the food they need to get back on their feet.
Drug testing other FoodShare applicants is not allowed under federal law and is, therefore, illegal. This is because federal law does not permit states, except under the limited circumstance noted above, to add a requirement to the eligibility screening for SNAP benefits (Food and Nutrition Act of 2008, USDA Certification of Eligible Households 273.2).
Healthy School Meals for All
The pandemic exacerbated food insecurity in Wisconsin. We quickly learned that many of our friends and neighbors need help putting food on their tables. Families lined up to pick-up food at schools and food banks. School nutrition professionals worked creatively -in parking lots and local parks -because they understand how important healthy school meals are for our children. This year, all Wisconsin children are receiving free school meals at school.
School meals are the healthiest source of meals for American children, according to a study from Tufts University, and a body of evidence shows students who participate in school breakfast programs have improved attendance, behavior, and academic achievement as well as decreased tardiness.
We provide busses, internet, and books. We know hungry students can’t learn. Children should be provided with the nutrition they need to thrive in school.