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Maryland Hunger Solutions Applauds State Legislature for Passing
Key Anti-Hunger Legislation
Statement Attributable to Michael J. Wilson, Director, Maryland Hunger Solutions
BALTIMORE — April 17, 2023 — Maryland Hunger Solutions applauds the Maryland General Assembly for the passage of several pieces of legislation aimed at reducing hunger and supporting the health and well-being of all residents. Key bills passed include:
- Maryland Department of Human Services (DHS) Electronic Benefit Transfer Cards — Theft of Benefits (Prevent Electronic Benefits Theft Act of 2023), which requires:
- DHS to reimburse a beneficiary for any benefits lost due to the fraudulent use of the beneficiary’s Electronic Benefit Transfer card;
- the state to give preference to certain vendors in the procurement process for electronic benefits distribution or administration; and
- DHS to establish a certain point of contact for investigating and identifying electronic benefits fraud, applying certain provisions of the act retroactively.
- Maryland Meals for Achievement In-Classroom Breakfast Program — Annual Appropriation: This legislation provides full funding for Maryland Meals for Achievement, a longstanding and successful state-funded program, and allows all eligible schools to serve breakfast in the classroom and after the bell at no cost to all students.
- Maryland Food System Resiliency Council: Permanently establishes the council in the Office of Resilience in the Maryland Department of Emergency Management and will allow the council to continue its important role in connecting all parts of Maryland’s food system and addressing food insecurity across the state.
These bills will help address critical needs in Maryland while also addressing systemic inequities. Yet opportunities to further reduce hunger were missed. These include ensuring every child in the state has access to school meals at no charge, expanding campus hunger programs, and helping to address the hunger cliff resulting from hundreds of millions of dollars in reduced SNAP benefits – which were temporarily boosted during the pandemic – for over 600,000 of our neighbors. Clearly, Maryland policy makers have taken steps in the right direction, but they still have work to build a Maryland that’s free from hunger.