Montana State Legislature

Montana’s 68th state legislative session begins January 2, 2023. Each session, the Legislature passes a budget for the next two years. Due to federal stimulus and the state’s increasing population size, Montana has money in the bank which presents historic opportunities to address fundamental issues for Montanans struggling to make ends meet and make Montana a place where no one goes hungry.

Unfortunately, there will be threats to the economic security and wellbeing of Montanans. Montana Food Bank Network (MFBN), local food pantries, anti-poverty organizations, and individuals who have experienced hunger will be there to fight against harmful bills that make the lives of the people we serve harder.

We need your help! We need you to contact your legislators, tell your story, and tell your friends and neighbors what is happening in Helena. We will keep this page updated throughout the session so keep checking back to get the latest information. Here are some ways you can get involved.

OUR STATE LEGISLATIVE PRIORITIES

Farm to Food Bank

All Montanans deserve access to healthy, fresh, and locally grown food. MFBN will work to pass legislation creating a “Farm to Food Bank Program” in Montana. This program, with state support, would provide funding to local food pantries to purchase and distribute fresh, local products from Montana farmers and ranchers. Creating a new market for local producers, the Farm to Food Bank program would support local food economies, increase food security in Montana, and get fresh products to consumers who may otherwise not have access. 

Find out more about Farm to Food Bank in this blog and in the video below.

SNAP

The food bank system is not enough to eliminate hunger. As food costs continue to rise, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is a key part of helping families, seniors, kids, and community members keep food on the table and a roof over their heads. SNAP (formerly known as food stamps) has been around for over 60 years. It is the nation’s most important and effective anti-hunger program. SNAP benefits are federally funded, with states and the federal government splitting the administrative costs.

SNAP helps nearly 90,000 Montana residents each month stretch their budgets and access the food they need to feed their households. SNAP is also a win for local economies, injecting $160 million into our state last year because people spend these funds at local farmers markets and grocery stores. 

During the legislative session, MFBN will advocate to ensure that SNAP remains strong and that it can effectively serve our state. We will work to prevent harmful changes, including burdensome requirements that would cause eligible people to lose access to the program. All Montanans who are eligible for SNAP should be able to participate in the program. Learn more about SNAP at mfbn.org/snap.

Healthcare

Every Montanan needs access to quality healthcare in order to be successful in their work, school, and community. MFBN will join with partners to ensure that healthcare coverage programs like Medicaid expansion and Healthy Montana Kids are protected during the legislative session.

Economic Security

Montanans across a broader economic spectrum are struggling to make ends meet as costs of living have reached historic highs. MFBN will continue to advocate for various issues that will mitigate poverty and increase prosperity, including building a fair tax system and budget that meets the needs of our state.

Federal Advocacy

MFBN continues to advocate for child nutrition and anti-poverty priorities, including strengthening the Community Eligibility Provision to connect more kids to free school meals, implementing Summer EBT nationwide to close the child summer hunger gap, permanently expanding the child tax credit to reduce child poverty, and permanently expanding the earned income tax credit to allow low-wage workers to keep more of the money they earn.

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