Submitted by Washington State Democrats
Gov. Jay Inslee signed into law today a bill that will establish a minimum allocation for fresh foods for those enrolled in the Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) Nutrition Program in Washington.
Senate Bill 6309 will require the Department of Health to allocate a minimum of $28 for WIC recipients during the summer months, to be used on fresh fruits and vegetables at farmers markets. Sen. Liz Lovelett (D-Anacortes) was moved to sponsor the bill after her own experience with the program years ago.
“Everyone should have access to healthy foods, especially mothers and young children who need good nutrition to grow and thrive,” said Lovelett. “This bill will benefit everyone involved – it will promote access to quality produce to those who need it while also giving our local farmers more stability during the summer markets.”
The bill, which passed unanimously out of both chambers of the Legislature, ensures that families on the WIC program will continue to receive their monthly amount, even during times of economic hardship. On top of providing benefits for healthy foods, the WIC program supplies families with access to nutrition education through kid-friendly recipes, advice for children with allergies, and ideas to encourage active lifestyles.
The 2020 session also saw an increase in funding for the WIC program overall, which will temporarily set the minimum amount to $32. The increase will last until 2021, when it could be renewed again.
The bill is scheduled to take effect 90 days after the Legislature’s March 12 adjournment.