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Oklahoma State Senate

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For Immediate Release: April 1, 2008

Sen. Andrew Rice
Sen. Andrew Rice

Food Security Act  Advances to Senate Floor

Rice hopeful for bill’s future after unanimous committee passage

A bill aimed at battling food insecurity in Oklahoma moved one step closer to bringing needed relief to the state’s hunger crisis with a unanimous, bipartisan vote in the Senate Finance Committee today, according to Sen. Andrew Rice.

“Today’s vote proves that addressing hunger is not a partisan issue, it’s a moral obligation,” Rice said. “Oklahoma is the fifth worst state in the nation for food security. One in every five Oklahoma children is at risk of going to bed hungry, and more than half a million Oklahomans must choose between food or rent, food or utilities, food or medicine.

“The Hunger Task Force found that we have the capacity to address these issues, but we must remain committed to solving this problem. I’m pleased that my colleagues on both sides of the aisle have demonstrated their resolve to address this issue head-on and find workable solutions to hunger.”

Rice and Rep. Kris Steele, R-Shawnee, established the Hunger Task Force in 2007 and co-authored the Food Security Act (HB 2833) to implement several task force recommendations. The act, sponsored in the Senate by Rice and Sen. James Williamson, R-Tulsa, would create a standing Oklahoma Food Security Committee and provide tax relief for those most at risk for hunger, with the goal of reducing food insecurity to at or below the national average by 2013.

The classification “food insecure” refers to families and individuals who do not receive enough daily nutrition to meet minimal medical benchmarks.

Other provisions of the act would enact tax rebates for charities working to address the hunger crisis and exempt small farmers selling goods in venues such as farmers’ markets from paying sales taxes.

“When our neighbors are at risk for hunger, we are all vulnerable to its effects,” Rice added. “Hungry children have more difficulty learning, hungry adults have more trouble working and providing for their families, and those problems affect the fabric of our communities.

“All Oklahomans have an interest and an obligation in solving this crisis. Passing the Food Security Act will be an important step in the right direction.”

For more information contact:
Senator Rice's Office:  (405) 521-5610

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