On Monday, the House passed HB1839 which creates the Local Food, Farms, and Jobs Act. This bill sets a goal for all state agencies, colleges, and universities that receive $25,000 from the state for the purchase of food. The goal outlined in the legislation is that by 2018, 10% of all the food purchased by the agency is local food.
The goal increases to 20% in the years following. The bill defines local farm or food products as products grown in Arkansas or packaged or processed in Arkansas.
The House also passed HB1567 which allows foster children living in group homes to become eligible for the Succeed Scholarship Program. This bill limits enrollment for foster children to 20 students. The Succeed Scholarship Program was established in 2015 to provide students with disabilities that meet eligibility requirements, a scholarship to an eligible private school.
The House also passed HB1251, which allows Arkansas to opt out of a federal law preventing those with a felony drug offense from receiving assistance such as food stamps. The sponsor of the legislation noted that currently those with violent felony convictions are still eligible for the benefits, while those with felony drug convictions are not.
The House will reconvene on Tuesday at 1:30pm.