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Feeding Texas Network Backs Major Hunger-Fighting Wins During 2023 Legislative Session 

TEXAS – With support of the Feeding Texas network of food banks, the Texas Legislature passed several  new laws that will prevent hunger for Texans experiencing food insecurity. 

“This year’s legislative session was our most successful since Texas food banks came together as a  network over 20 years ago to engage state lawmakers in the fight against hunger,” said Celia Cole, CEO  of Feeding Texas. “We were honored to have overwhelming bipartisan support for these anti-hunger  policies. Regardless of political affiliation, we can agree that food should not be an impossible choice.” 

“We enjoyed being part of the process this year and taking a team from the East Texas Food Bank to  visit with our East Texas legislators in Austin to impact the successful passage of these bills,” said Dennis  Cullinane, CEO of the East Texas Food Bank. “The passage of these bills will help more East Texans  access the food they need.” 

Three bills passed this legislative session along with increased funding for food distribution. 

  1. Update the SNAP Vehicle Asset Test (HB 1287): Texas uses a vehicle asset test to determine  SNAP eligibility, placing limits on the value of the vehicles a household may own and still qualify  for the program. HB 1287 makes a one-time inflationary adjustment to the Vehicle Asset Test to  better reflect today’s car values, increasing limits from $15,000 to $22,500 for the first car and  from $4650 to $8700 for additional vehicles. The bill was authored by Rep. Ryan Guillen and  sponsored by Sen. Cesar Blanco. 
  2. Implementing pre-release SNAP registration (HB 1743): Early access to SNAP benefits ensures  formerly incarcerated Texans have immediate resources for food so they can begin rebuilding  their lives and reduce recidivism. HB 1743 supports people exiting the criminal justice system by 

allowing eligible individuals to apply for SNAP before their release so they have access to food  upon release. The bill was authored by Rep. Jeff Leach and sponsored by Sen. Royce West. 

  1. Increasing funds for produce rescue: The Surplus Agricultural Products Grant helps food banks  rescue surplus or unsellable produce from Texas farmers for distribution to hungry Texans. One  hundred percent of program funds go to farmers and transportation providers to offset the cost  of harvesting, storage, packaging and freight. The network achieved a $10.2 million increase in  funding for the Surplus Agricultural Products Grant, doubling funds to $20.4 million for the  biennium. This is a win-win-win for hungry Texans, farmers, and the environment.  
  2. Exempting state transportation-related taxes and fees for food banks (HB 3599): State  transportation-related fees are significant food bank expenses. HB 3599 will give food banks an  exemption from fuel taxes and registration for their fleets, meaning food banks can reinvest  those costs into feeding their communities. The bill was authored by Rep. Shawn Thierry and  sponsored by Sen. Chuy Hinojosa.  

“These legislative victories represent the hard work of many different stakeholders and are responsive  to the needs expressed by our communities,” Cole said. “We are grateful to our bill authors, anti-hunger  advocates, and all of the organizations that came together to help get these priorities across the finish  line. From small, rural communities to major metropolitan areas, these new laws will help feed Texas  families and support food banks across the state. While the fight for food security continues, we’re one  step closer to a hunger-free Texas.” 

Governor Gregg Abbott signed HB 1287, HB 1743, and HB 3599 into law this month. The new laws take  effect September 1, 2023.  


Feeding Texas leads a unified effort for a hunger-free Texas. Learn more at 

About the East Texas Food Bank 

Established in 1988, the East Texas Food Bank is the largest hunger-relief nonprofit in East Texas  covering 26 counties. ETFB provides over 27 million meals each year to 200 partner agencies and feeding  programs. Our mission is to fight hunger and feed hope in East Texas. For more information, visit

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