Bill Text: NJ AR216 | 2020-2021 | Regular Session | Introduced


Bill Title: Urges United States Department of Agriculture to authorize permanent use of SNAP benefits for online purchasing of foods.

Spectrum: Partisan Bill (Democrat 1-0)

Status: (Introduced) 2021-01-12 - Introduced, Referred to Assembly Human Services Committee [AR216 Detail]

Download: New_Jersey-2020-AR216-Introduced.html

ASSEMBLY RESOLUTION No. 216

STATE OF NEW JERSEY

219th LEGISLATURE

 

INTRODUCED JANUARY 12, 2021

 


 

Sponsored by:

Assemblywoman  VALERIE VAINIERI HUTTLE

District 37 (Bergen)

 

 

 

 

SYNOPSIS

     Urges United States Department of Agriculture to authorize permanent use of SNAP benefits for online purchasing of foods.

 

CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT

     As introduced.

  


An Assembly Resolution urging the United States Department of Agriculture to authorize permanently the use of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits for the online purchasing of foods.

 

Whereas, The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, provides nutrition benefits to supplement the food budget of low-income families in order to purchase healthy food and move towards self-sufficiency; and

Whereas, This nationwide program is federally regulated by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) pursuant to the "Food and Nutrition Act of 2008," Pub.L.110-246 (7 U.S.C. s.2011 et seq.); and

Whereas, The 2014 Farm Bill mandated that the USDA conduct a pilot program to test the feasibility and implications of allowing retail food stores to accept SNAP benefits through online transactions. In April 2019, New York became the first State to launch the pilot program; and

Whereas, The USDA opened its pilot program for online grocery purchasing to New Jersey's SNAP participants, following the department's expedited efforts to introduce states into the pilot with the onset of the coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) public health crisis, in March 2020; and

Whereas, Currently, individuals participating in New Jersey SNAP may purchase groceries online through Amazon, and at participating Walmart, The Fresh Grocers, and ShopRite stores; and

Whereas, According to the USDA, this pilot program is a two-year initiative, as such it is slated to expire in April of 2021; and

Whereas, Enabling SNAP recipients to purchase foods online allows them to follow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention social distancing guidelines to help slow the spread of COVID-19; and

Whereas, Despite advances in COVID-19 vaccinations, precautions to the virus such as social distancing are likely to be encouraged beyond the expiration of the SNAP online purchasing pilot program; and

Whereas, Outside of the COVID-19 pandemic, online purchasing of food also supports those SNAP recipients who may be challenged with transportation or mobility issues, ensuring that such individuals continue to have access to healthy and nutritious foods; and

Whereas, The online purchasing of food has become a widespread practice among general consumers, and it is appropriate for the same service to be made available to SNAP recipients; and

Whereas, Purchasing groceries online is critical to providing safe and vital access to healthy food for low-income households and is necessary on a permanent basis to ensure an equity for SNAP recipients; now, therefore,

     Be It Resolved by the General Assembly of the State of New Jersey:

 

     1.    The General Assembly of the State of New Jersey urges the United States Department of Agriculture to take immediate action to authorize permanently the use of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits for online purchasing of foods.

 

     2.    Copies of this resolution, as filed with the Secretary of State, shall be transmitted by the clerk of the General Assembly to the United States Secretary of Agriculture and every member of the United States Congress elected from this State.

 

 

STATEMENT

 

     This bill urges the United States Department of Agriculture to authorize the permanent use of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits for the online purchasing of foods.  The SNAP provides nutrition benefits to supplement the food budget of low-income families in order to purchase healthy food and move towards self-sufficiency and is federally regulated by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). The General Assembly deems that purchasing groceries online is critical to providing safe and vital access to healthy food for low-income households and is necessary on a permanent basis to ensure equity for SNAP recipients.

     The 2014 Farm Bill mandated that the USDA conduct a pilot program to test the feasibility and implications of allowing retail food stores to accept SNAP benefits through online transactions. In April 2019, New York became the first State to launch the pilot program.  The USDA opened its pilot program for online grocery purchasing to New Jersey's SNAP participants, following the department's expedited efforts to introduce states into the pilot with the onset of the coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) public health crisis, in March of 2020.  Individuals participating in New Jersey SNAP may purchase groceries online through Amazon, and at participating Walmart, The Fresh Grocers, and ShopRite stores.  According to the USDA, this pilot program is a two-year initiative; as such, it is slated to expire in April of 2021. 

     Enabling SNAP recipients to purchase foods online has allowed them to follow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention social distancing guidelines to help slow the spread of COVID-19.  Despite advances in COVID-19 vaccinations, precautions to the virus such as social distancing are likely to be encouraged beyond the expiration of the SNAP online purchasing pilot program.

     Outside of the COVID-19 pandemic, online purchasing of food also supports those SNAP recipients who may be challenged with transportation or mobility issues, ensuring that such individuals continue to have access to healthy and nutritious foods.  Furthermore, the online purchasing of food has become a widespread practice among general consumers, and it is appropriate for the same service to be made available to SNAP recipients.

feedback