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Name: Alyssa Collins

Home State: North Carolina


Home Zip Code: 27510

Nutrition Public Policy Activity

Part I:
NC Congressional Representatives
FEDERAL elected officials from your state
U.S. Senators Political Party
Richard Burr Republican
Thom Tillis Republican
U.S. Representative for your district Political Party
David Price Democrat

STATE elected officials within your state for your district


State Senator Political Party
Valerie P. Foushee Democrat
State Representative Political Party
Verla Insko Democrat

FEDERAL Supreme Court


Chief Justice John G. Roberts
Justice Anthony M. Kennedy
Justice Clarence Thomas
Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg
Justice Stephen G. Breyer
Justice Samuel Anthony Alito, Jr.
Justice Sonia Sotomayor
Justice Elena Kagan

STATE Officials
Governor Pat McCrory Republican
Lt. Governor Dan Forest Republican
Attorney General Roy Cooper Democrat

STATE Legislature
Democrats (n) Republicans Independents Total Number
Senate 18 36 0 54
Representatives 47 80 1 128

FEDERAL Legislature
Democrats Republicans Independents Total Number
Senate 44 54 2 100
Representatives 192 248 0 440 + 1 vacancy
Part II:

Describe the steps of how a bill becomes a law at the federal level.
A bill is introduced by any member of congress and is given a number. A House bill is
signified by the abbreviation H.R. and S. signifies a Senate bill. The bill is then referred to a
subcommittee, committee or multiple committees with jurisdiction over the main idea of the
legislation.
Once in the committee, a chairman will decide if there will be a hearing and a mark up
on the bill. A mark up is when the committee makes amendments to the bill. Once the
amendments are approved or rejected, the chairman will vote to move the bill favorably out of
the committee. The committee chairmans staff will then write a report on the bill and the intent
of legislation, the legislative history, and the bills impact on current laws.
The Speaker of the House and the Majority Leader of Senate are in charge of deciding
when and if either the House or Senate will address a bill for debate, amendment, and final
passage. In order for an amendment to be added, or for final passage of the bill, there must be a
majority vote. After the bill is passed from House or Senate, it is referred to the other chamber
where it will follow the same procedure through committee and floor action.
Once the bill has passed through the other chamber, it can go through different
procedures. If there are little adjustments made by the other chamber, it goes back to the original
chamber for a concurring vote. If there are major changes made, a conference committee is
created to combine the versions into a single bill. If an agreement on the single bill cannot be
made, the bill dies. Both chambers must approve the conference report for it to pass.
The final approved bill is then sent to the President. The President then can approve the
bill by signing it and it will become law, or can veto it. If the President does nothing within 10
days and congress is in session, the bill automatically becomes law. If the President does nothing
and congress has adjourned, the bill dies. Congress can overturn a veto if two-thirds vote in favor
of overriding the veto.

Outline and describe the 6 steps of the policy making process


1. Issue identification: A current problem is recognized that citizens want to be changed.
2. Agenda building: An issue must first make in onto policy agendas. However, not all
issues become agendas. Issues that do become agendas are usually a result of public
outcry, crisis, and lobbying efforts. Issues must become agendas in order to move into the
next stages of the policy process.
3. Policy formulation: Policymakers discuss and suggest approaches to correct the problems
that have been raised as part of the agenda.
4. Policy adoption: Relevant government institutions must adopt formulated policies in
order to be put into effect. However, powerful interest groups and the media can use their
political influence to determine which are adopted.
5. Policy implementation: The creator of a policy must communicate it to the governing
body that has the power to enact it. Secondly, a policy must be communicated clearly to
determine if it can be implemented effectively. Finally, the resources applied to
implement must be integrated with existing processes or agencies without conflict. Then
adopted policies can be implemented.
6. Policy evaluation: Policies can be evaluated either formally or informally. Informal
evaluations include anecdotes, stories and honest feedback. Formal evaluations include
comparative and statistical evaluations of whether the policy produces clear results.
However, policies can be difficult to assess and evaluate due to time, expenses, or
because of their broad goals, and therefore are rarely evaluated.

Locate 2 Bills related to food and/or nutrition presented in the past 3 years of Congress.

H.R.5423, also known as the SNAP Healthy Incentives Act of 2016, is a bill that was
introduced in House on June 9, 2016. An amendment to the Food and Nutrition Act of 2008, this
bill provides financial incentives for SNAP participants who purchase fruits and vegetables that
are beneficial for health status. On June 9th the bill was referred to the House Committee on
Agriculture and on June 30th it was referred to the Subcommittee on Nutrition. The sponsor of
this bill is Rep. Matt Cartwright, and there are 27 cosponsors, none of whom are from North
Carolina. Unfortunately the bill must still move up from the subcommittee in order to be passed
and become law.

The Food Stamp Fraud Prevention and Accountability Act, S.57, is a bill that was
introduced to Senate on January 7, 2015. This bill disqualifies any person from the Supplemental
Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) who used an electronic benefit transfer (EBT) card issued
to a household that the person is not a member of. This requires the EBT card to include a list of
members who may use the card, as well as showing a picture ID when using the card. On
January 7, 2015 the bill was read twice and then referred to the Committee on Agriculture,
Nutrition and Forestry. Senator David Vitter is the sponsor of this bill, and there are no
cosponsors. In order for this bill to become law it must pass through both house and senate, and
must be approved by the President.

Part III: Taking Action: Writing to Your Legislator

Dear Representative David Price,

My name is Alyssa Collins and I am writing to you today in reference to the SNAP

Healthy Incentives Act of 2016, also known as H.R.5423. In May of this year, I graduated with a

Bachelor of Science degree in Nutrition and Foods. I am currently working on my Masters of

Science in Nutrition and Food Systems, while simultaneously working at St. Marys hospital in

Grand Junction, Colorado as a dietetic intern. As shown by my credentials, I have a passion for

nutrition and health, which is why I am invested in this particular bill, and hope that you will

vote in favor of it.


In 2014, 46.7 million people were living in poverty and 48.1 million Americans lived in a

food insecure household. For one of the most powerful nations in the world, this is unacceptable.

For 45.7 million people in America, SNAP is essential for living. The White House Report on

the long-term benefits of SNAP participation concluded that food insecure households were

decreased by 17 percent. Additionally, children in families receiving SNAP were significantly

more likely to be classified as well than the young children who were eligible but not receiving

SNAP benefits.

As I am sure you are well aware, our nation is currently divided on government spending

on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. However, in 2011 only 2.11 percent of the

total budget for the U.S. was spent on SNAP. Moreover, every dollar spent on SNAP produces

$1.84 in economic activity. This leads to increased productivity, as well as maintains a demand

for agriculture and employment in this area. In fact, according to the Congressional Budget

Office, SNAP is one of the most cost effective spending and tax options for increasing jobs and

economic growth during a recession. Another common misconception surrounding SNAP is that

administration receives more money than the beneficiaries. In reality, only 8 percent of cost goes

towards administrative costs such as employee training, nutrition education for SNAP

beneficiaries, and anti-fraud incentives. The remaining 92 percent of federal spending goes

towards the beneficiaries, proving the efficiency of SNAP. Conversely, according the Agency for

Healthcare Research and Quality estimates that in 2010 $48.3 billion was spent on emergency

care, as more people are going to the emergency room for acute unscheduled care, when many of

these health issues could be avoided by improved diet.

The SNAP Healthy Incentive Act of 2016 is an amendment to the Food and Nutrition Act

of 2008 and provides financial incentives for SNAP participants who purchase fruits and
vegetables. The benefits of fruits and vegetable consumption on health status are outstanding.

Currently, the number one cause of death in the United States is heart disease, which is directly

linked to a diet high in saturated and trans fat and low in fruits and vegetables. Fruits and

vegetables contain dietary fiber, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals, which lower the incidence

of heart disease. Another concerning issue in America is the incidence of obesity, with over one-

third of adults considered obese. Increased consumption of fruits and vegetables decreases the

rate of obesity. With incidences of both heart disease and obesity decreasing, health care

spending declines and spending on agriculture increases, which improves both the health and

economic status of the nation.

This bill would require a slight increase in government spending on SNAP, however the

benefits will outweigh the costs. Due the financial incentive, participants would be more inclined

to buy fruits and vegetables, which would in turn improve their health status. Additionally, the

bill would decrease government spending on emergency room visits, as well as increase

economic activity and jobs in the agriculture industry. The data supports the existence and

necessity of SNAP, as well as the necessity for increased fruit and vegetable consumption. As a

United States Representative, you have the ability to vote in favor of H.R.5423 and improve the

health status of all beneficiaries of SNAP as well as improve the economy of the United States.

If your schedule permits, I would appreciate a response to my request. The health of this

nation as a whole is of the upmost importance to me, and I think the SNAP Healthy Incentive

Act of 2016 would benefit the citizens of the United States tremendously.

Sincerely,

Alyssa Collins

Dear Senator Richard Burr,


My name is Alyssa Collins and I am writing to you today in reference to Food Stamp

Fraud Prevention and Accountability Act, or S.57. In May of this year, I graduated with a

Bachelor of Science degree in Nutrition and Foods. I am currently working on my Masters of

Science in Nutrition and Food Systems, while simultaneously working at St. Marys hospital in

Grand Junction, Colorado as a dietetic intern. As shown by my credentials, I have a passion for

nutrition and health, which is why I am invested in this particular bill, and hope that you will

vote against it, unless amendments are made.

The proposed bill consists of two parts. One part disqualifies any person from the

Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program who has used an electronic benefit transfer card

(EBT) that was not issued to them. The other states that the EBT must include a list of family

members that can use the card, and requires a photo ID to be shown during purchasing.

The purpose of this bill was to protect the program and its beneficiaries against fraud.

Requiring a photo ID during a transaction and including a list of members allowed to use the

EBT is perfectly valid. This will prevent fraud and will allow for all beneficiaries to feel more

secure when using the card. This section of the bill will benefit both the program and the people

using it. However, I believe completely disqualifying a person from SNAP is too harsh a

punishment. Before such drastic measures are taken, an in depth investigation as to why the

person used the EBT must be conducted. I agree that there should be penalties against this action,

such as a suspension from the program or a monetary penalty. Yet the rights of this citizen

should not be taken away immediately before understanding the motivation behind the act. If the

offenses are more serious, such as multiple charges of trafficking, then more serious

consequences should be given.


Protecting taxpayer money is a serious responsibility for our government, and one that is

not taken lightly. Majority of SNAP fraud occurs in retail operations when benefits are sold for

cash. This fraud only accounts for one percent of the total program cost and there are multiple

ongoing efforts that are working towards decreasing this. This particular bill, however, focuses

on individuals, not retailers, illegally using the EBT card. It is near impossible for an individual

to use this card for obtaining cash. It would require a clerk to make a purchase for this person

without them buying anything, taking money out of the register, and giving the cash to the

recipient. Therefore, the EBT card itself protects against fraud, and requiring a photo ID will

only solidify protection.

My proposal to you is to amend the bill to propose a suspension or monetary penalty

against the perpetrator in conjunction with an investigation. Additionally, I propose to maintain

the addition of a photo ID during purchases and allowing for all family members to be listed on

the card. These acts will protect beneficiaries and will deter people from using an EBT card

fraudulently.

Sincerely,

Alyssa Collins

Part IV: References

Blumenthal, S. (2012). Debunking Myths About Food Stamps. Retrieved from

http://www.snaptohealth.org/debunking-myths-about-food-stamps/

H.R. 5423, 114 Cong. (2016) (enacted).

Hunger and Poverty Facts and Statistics. (2016). Retrieved from

http://www.feedingamerica.org/hunger-in-america/impact-of-hunger/hunger-and-

poverty/hunger-and-poverty-fact-sheet.html?gclid=CNS8hI_E384CFYkDaQodqJwFsA
S. 57, 114 Cong. (2016) (enacted).

Slavin, J. L., & Lloyd, B. (2012). Health Benefits of Fruits and Vegetables. Advances in

Nutrition, 3, 506-516. doi:10.3945/an.112.002154

Steps in Making a Bill a Law: The Federal Legislative Process. (n.d.). Retrieved from

https://www.naeyc.org/policy/federal/bill_law

United States Department of Agriculture, Food and Nutrition Service. (2013). USDA Releases

New Report on Trafficking and Announces Additional Measures to Improve Integrity in

the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program [Press release]. Retrieved from

http://www.fns.usda.gov/pressrelease/2013/fns-001213