August 19, 2015
To the Honorable Members of
The Illinois House of Representatives,
99th General Assembly:
Today I return House Bill 6027, which establishes the Healthy Local Food Incentives Program administered by the Illinois Department of Human Services.
The purpose of the program is to increase access to fresh fruits and vegetables for Illinois residents that receive Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits. The bill authorizes, subject to appropriation, the Department of Human Services to make an annual grant of $1,000,000 to a qualified non-profit organization, which would then distribute the funds to participating farmers market. The funds would be used to match benefit amounts spent on fruits and vegetables at participating farmers markets.
I thank the sponsors for their work to expand access to fresh produce and encourage heathy eating. I am concerned, however, that the bill allows up to 40% of the funds to be used for administrative funds. All of the funds should be directed to help SNAP beneficiaries. I also believe that this program should be limited to a $500,000 grant and a pilot program while we study its effectiveness and ensure that the funds are used to achieve the desired outcomes.
Therefore, pursuant to Section 9(e) of Article IV of the Illinois Constitution of 1970, I hereby return House Bill 6027, entitled AN ACT concerning public aid, with the following specific recommendations for change:
On page 3, line 3, by replacing $1,000,000 with $500,000; and
On page 3, by replacing line 25 with the following: (f) One-hundred percent of the moneys deposited into the Fund; and
On page 4, by replacing lines 1 through 6 with the following: for healthy local food incentives.; and
On page 5, immediate after line 3, by inserting the following: (i) This section is repealed on June 30, 2018.
With these changes, House Bill 6027 will have my approval. I respectfully request your concurrence.