Bill would expand DA BUX food program

A state Senate bill that would eliminate a daily cap on a dollar-for-dollar match for supplemental nutrition assistance program beneficiaries under DA BUX Double Up Food Bucks program has cleared its first House hurdle.

Senate Bill 512, Senate Draft 2, which was adopted by the Senate in late February, passed the House Agriculture Committee unamended Friday by an 8-0 vote. Two of the aye votes were from Reps. Chris Todd of Hilo and Nicole Lowen of Kona, both Democrats.

The bill would expand the state’s DA BUX program. The program currently provides for a $10 daily dollar-for-dollar match by the state—using federal funds—for SNAP purchases of Hawaiʻi-grown fresh fruits and vegetables at a grocery store, farmers market, farm stand, community-supported agriculture site, or other direct food retailer that participates in SNAP.

The measure, which would lift that $10 a day limit, is intended to provide low-income people easier access to healthier food choices and to help the local farmers and ranchers.

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