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College Hunger Bill Passes the California Legislature

July 11, 2017
Contact: Sarah Schultz,, 202-734-6510

Yesterday, The California legislature passed Assembly Bill 214, authored by Assemblymember Shirley N. Weber (D-San Diego), which addresses one our state students’ most basic and most serious needs – hunger.  If implemented, AB 214 will help to reduce food insecurity and college hunger by improving access to CalFresh, California’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) – formerly known as the Food Stamp Program – by simplifying the administration of the program for college students. CalFresh keeps hundreds of thousands of Californians each year out of poverty but, because of difficulty interpreting existing policy, too many low-income college students face challenges accessing the program.

Christopher Nellum, Policy and Research Director at Young Invincibles, said “No student should go hungry in pursuit of higher education. We are proud to support AB 214, its sponsor Dr. Shirley Weber, and student leaders from the Student Senate for California Community Colleges, the California State Student Association, and University of California Student Association as cosponsors of this important legislation. AB 214 is a commonsense solution to combat college hunger at institutions across the state. Being a student and on campus shouldn’t be a barrier to accessing food assistance, and this bill will help get food into the hands of those students who need it.   

AB 214 will soon be presented to Governor Brown for his signature, and we urge him to sign it. This bill would continue Governor Brown’s leadership in addressing student hunger in our state, building on the progress of two other pieces of legislation on the issue that he signed into law,   Assembly Bill 1747, authored by Dr. Shirley Weber in 2016, and Assembly Bill 1930, authored by (then) Assemblymember Nancy Skinner in 2014.”

Samuel Chu, National Organizer for MAZON: A Jewish Response to Hunger, who is also a sponsor of AB 214, said “Students studying at the most exceptional higher education institutions in the world, right here in California, shouldn’t be held back because their basic needs – like adequate, healthy food – are not met.” Mr. Chu and MAZON are  pushing forward similar legislation across the country. He went on to say “AB 214 is a step in the right direction and it models a path forward for other states.”

Other sponsors of AB 214 include the Western Center on Law and Poverty and the Coalition of California Welfare Rights Organizations.