SB 610: Food for All Oregonians

February 27, 2023By Janet Bauer

Chair Gelser Blouin, Vice-Chair Robinson, Members of the Committee:

My name is Janet Bauer, Director of Policy Research for the Oregon Center for Public Policy, and I respectfully submit this testimony in support of SB 610 on behalf of the Center.

The Oregon Center for Public Policy is a nonpartisan think tank dedicated to improving the economic outcomes for all Oregonians, particularly low-income families and Oregonians of color, through research and analysis.

SB 610 would create a state-funded program that eliminates exclusions to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).

Food is about as basic as needs get, yet tens of thousands of Oregonians are food insecure. They either don’t know where their next meal is coming from or are going hungry. This level of food insecurity damages our state, as it undermines physical health, mental health, the ability of children to do well in school, and more. These harms fall more heavily on Black and Indigenous people, and people in Latino and Pacific Islander communities.

We estimate that over 62,000 Oregonians would be eligible for SNAP but for the fact that they are barred from participating under federal law. We urge you to address this exclusion for the health and well-being of our families and communities.

When we all have access to food, we all are better off.

We urge you to support SB 610.