Coalition Report

By Ed Smith
Policy Director
Coalition for the Environment

Protect Food Access for Missouri’s Struggling Families

Missouri Coalition for the Environment (MCE) celebrates our 50th anniversary of defending Missouri’s people and their environment this year. One of our major programmatic areas includes advocating for the development of an equitable food system. An equitable food system preserves the integrity of our air, land, and water while producing abundant, healthy food that is accessible and affordable across all communities. That is why MCE opposes Senate Bill 4, sponsored by state Senator David Sater of Cassville, which would remove more than 45,000 adults and more than 51,000 children from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). An equitable food system supports food access rather than taking it away.

Senate Bill 4 applies the harshest penalties allowed to individuals in noncompliance of the SNAP program. That includes a three strikes rule leading to permanent disqualification and loss of benefits for children if the head of household is in noncompliance. The bill allows for children to regain SNAP benefits if the head of household in noncompliance moves out, literally making families choose between living together or going hungry.

Also alarming is The Missouri Budget Project estimates Senate Bill 4 will cost state taxpayers $90 million to implement. SNAP money not used due to the elimination of nearly 100,000 people from the program does not help our state budget either because SNAP funding comes from the federal government.

MCE teamed up with the American Heart Association, Operation Food Search, KC Healthy Kids, Missouri Farmers Union, Empower Missouri, Missouri Rural Crisis Center and the Franciscan Sisters of Mary in February for a lobby day opposing this bill and others that undermine food access for struggling Missourians. How can you can help?

Call your state senator today and tell them to oppose cutting food access for Missourians. Senate Bill 4 could come up for debate by the full Senate at any time! Find other ways to engage by visiting www.moenvironment.org/moleg.