Food security legislation passes in Utah Senate Committee

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ST. GEORGE — The Senate Natural Resources, Agriculture and Environment Committee passed legislation Tuesday concerning food security with a favorable recommendation.

Over the last year through two legislative sessions, Utahns Against Hunger has worked with Sen. Luz Escamilla on the issue of food access and food insecurity.

When the Legislature established the Food Security Task Force during the 2021 General Session, it was on the heels of food insecurity rates doubling after the start of the pandemic, according to a news release from Utahns Against Hunger.

The recommendations of the Food Security Task Force highlight the need to have a coordinated effort, across federal nutrition programs and community resources to start to improve the health and well-being of food-insecure Utahns.

Food Security Amendments, officially designated as SB133 in the 2022 Utah Legislature, would enact one of the nine recommendations in their report.

Gina Cornia, director of Utahns Against Hunger, said in the news release that last year nearly 1 in 5 households in Utah were food insecure, adding that while they are seeing some relief and an “appearance of things going back to normal,” the state likely will feel reverberations from the pandemic impact for years to come.

“Utahns Against Hunger expresses its deep appreciation to the Senate Natural Resource, Agriculture and Environment Committee’s vote on SB133,” she said. “This legislation builds on the success of the Food Security Task Force and provides meaningful opportunities to fight hunger in an innovative and collaborative way with minimal state funds.”

Tackling the challenges posed by food insecurity requires a proactive response, she added.

“We should build on the work of the Food Security Task Force by improving the resources and programs used to fight hunger in Utah,” she said. “We are elated to see the bill passed out of committee and want to express our thanks to the committee for supporting this legislation.”

Check out all of St. George News’ coverage of the 2022 Utah Legislature here.

For a complete list of contacts for Southern Utah representatives and senators, click here.

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