Skip to main content Skip to office menu Skip to footer
Capital IconMinnesota Legislature

Legislative News and Views - Rep. Dave Pinto (DFL)

Back to profile

Release: Legislators hear impact of 2023 funding to address food insecurity

Tuesday, February 20, 2024

St. Paul, MN - Today, the House Children and Families Finance and Policy Committee received an update on the investments Democrats delivered in 2023 to address food insecurity. The committee also heard three bills to help continue to meet the ongoing need in this area. 

“No Minnesotan should go hungry,” said Rep. Dave Pinto (DFL-St. Paul), chair of the House Children and Families Finance and Policy Committee “Democrats are working to help Minnesotans afford their lives so everyone can thrive.”

In 2023, the legislature approved historic funding for food shelves, outreach to help Minnesotans take advantage of federal food programs, and support for hunger relief among Tribal Nations and Native American communities. Because of investments delivered by Democrats, many food shelves have been able to lift restrictions on visits - sometimes as limited as only once per month - allowing more Minnesotans to access needed food.

Legislators learned today that while the 2023 investments helped greatly, the need is still great. Minnesotans made more than 7.5 million food shelf visits in 2023, up 1.8 million from 2022. This is more than triple the number of visits made during the recession in the late 2000s and more than double the number of visits made during the COVID-19 pandemic. A map provided by Hunger Solutions shows that most counties, spread across the state, saw an increase in visits, with 14 counties seeing increased visits of 50% to more than 100%.

The committee heard three bills to expand eligibility to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) for Minnesotans. The first bill, authored by Rep. Kim Hicks (DFL-Rochester) would expand SNAP benefits to many Minnesotans with disabilities. 

The second bill, authored by vice chair Heather Keeler (DFL-Moorhead) would direct the Minnesota Department of Health to establish a “SNAP as medicine program” to help people retain federal food benefits to which they are entitled. 

The last bill authored by Aisha Gomez (DFL-Minneapolis), would allow SNAP recipients who are not able to prepare meals for themselves, or who do not have access to permanent housing for storing and preparing food, to buy prepared meals.

All of these bills await budget targets for possible action.