An Act To Encourage Good Nutrition and Healthy Choices in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program
Sec. 1. 22 MRSA §3109 is enacted to read:
§ 3109. Healthy Local Foods Initiative Program
The department's staff shall support the working group. The working group shall make recommendations to the department regarding the best practices and criteria for evaluating proposals and ensuring qualification for federal grants or funding for pilot projects under subsection 3 and to assist the department in identifying one or more applicants that the working group determines are eligible applicants and are qualified to conduct a pilot project.
This bill creates the Healthy Local Foods Initiative Program to engage in efforts to seek out and support, sustain or assist eligible applicants in submitting proposals for federal grants or funding for pilot projects to improve the diets of low-income persons enrolled in a statewide food supplement program administered as part of the federal supplemental nutrition assistance program. The bill directs the Department of Health and Human Services to create a working group of various interested parties to make recommendations concerning best practices and criteria for evaluation of proposals for federal grants or funding to conduct pilot projects designed to provide incentives to participants of the federal supplemental nutrition assistance program to improve their diets, reduce obesity and support farmers and businesses in the State. The bill directs the department to provide the matching funds required of a chosen applicant in order to receive a federal grant to the extent funds are available in the Healthy Local Foods Incentive Fund. Contributions to the fund are derived from a portion of bonus payments received from the United States Department of Agriculture for the performance of the Department of Health and Human Services in administering the statewide food supplement program under the federal supplemental nutrition assistance program, from the State's portion of funds recouped from the collection of overpayment claims from program recipients and from other sources. Contributions to the fund may also be received from hospital organizations fulfilling United States Internal Revenue Service requirements to meet community health needs.