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Public Health Policy

safety net

Public health policy supports, promotes and improves the public's health through laws at the local, state, and federal levels. Policy makers together with public health professionals join efforts in order to create and implement policies for the public welfare. Our legislators in the senate and assembly are faced with the significant work of making changes in the lives of the many that have been affected by former policies or the lack of them. Public policy supports the implementation and continuation of social assistance programs (e.g. social security, Medicaid, unemployment benefits, etc.) that provide a safety net to many low-income individuals who are unable to access them on their own. The ultimate goal of public health policy is to expand the Welfare estate, which will only happen if the working class gets more political, economical and ideological leverage to fight the political battle against the control of big businesses.

Evidence of Competency in Publich Health Policy

AB6 The CalFresh Act of 2011 - Improving food access in California

Overview

The purpose of this project report is to identify and examine California Assembly Bill 6 (AB 6), CalFresh Act 2011, and the group California Food Policy Advocates (CFPA) who advocated for this bill.  This paper provides descriptive details regarding AB 6 and examines the structure of CFPA. CalFresh, formerly known as Food Stamps and federally known as the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP), supports low-income families who experience economic difficulties and boosts local economies at the same time. Policymakers want to ensure that all eligible families have reasonable access to the program (Danielson & Klerman, 2011).

The Agenda Item

AB 6 was written and developed by Assembly member Felipe Fuentes, in partnership with CFPA and several other co-authors. Among the co-authors were several Assembly members and Senators (Fuentes et al., 2011).  Felipe Fuentes represented the 39th District in Los Angeles and he introduced AB 6 to the Assembly on December 6, 2010.  AB 6 was a bill that sought to increase access to CalFresh by removing barriers and simplifying the application process, while simultaneously implementing cost-saving strategies (California Food Policy Advocates, n.d.). The bill simplifies the reporting system by changing the reporting system from quarterly to semi-annual, eliminating the Statewide Finger Imaging System (SFIS), and establishing the "Heat and Eat Initiative," which will pre-qualify individuals for CalFresh if they already receive financial assistance for their electricity bill. Increasing participation to nearly 100% of eligible households would result in an additional $4.9 billion in federal benefits for needy Californians and more than $8.7 billion in associated economic activity (California Food Policy Advocates, n.d.).

Results

After a few months of hearings at the Assembly Human Services Committee, the Senate Human Services Committee, the Assembly Appropriations Committee and the Senate Appropriations Committee, AB 6 passed the Senate Floor on August 31, 2011 and the Assembly on September 2, 2011. AB 6 was presented to the governor on September 13, 2011 and was approved and signed on October 5th 2011. It was chaptered and filed by the Secretary of State, under Chapter 501.  This new legislation will eliminate finger imaging, transition recipients to a semi-annual reporting system, and implemented the "Heat and Eat Initiative." All three of these changes will be effective starting 2013. AB 6 changes will have a greater impact on the lives of recipients because it will make the application process less strenuous and more accessible.

I invite you to view the full policy paper located in the left-hand sidebar.

CFPA
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