Meeting Public Comments

Subcommittee meeting and times are as follows:
A bill for an act relating to public assistance program integrity, making appropriations, and including effective date provisions.(Formerly HF 3.)
Subcommittee members: Fry-CH, Ehlert, Matson, Meyer, A., Stone
Date: Tuesday, March 28, 2023
Time: 10:00 AM - 10:15 AM
Location: House Lounge
Names and comments are public records. Remaining information is considered a confidential record.
Comments Submitted:

03-27-2023
Jennifer Allen []
This bill seeks only to punish hungry Iowans. It does not save money. It does not help anyone. It will cause children to starve, and prevent a great deal of federal money from supporting Iowa's grocery stores and economy. Small town and rural groceries will likely close. Please OPPOSE HF 613.
03-27-2023
Bridgit Kuenning-Pollpeter []
This bill does nothing to help Iowans. We need to support Iowa families and individuals and meet their needs in order to assist them to thrive. This will leave many hungry, which leaves Iowans surviving, not thriving. It will disproportionately impact disabled and aging Iowans, many who are on fixed incomes and require assistance to thrive. We should be expanding support, not shrinking it. This does nothing positive for the community.
03-27-2023
Patricia Sheller [None]
First of all, this bill dumps more grief on Iowans who are already hurting. In addition to being meanspirited, it adds administrative costs, reduces support for Iowa grocers, and will cause children to go hungry. Oppose this bill!
03-27-2023
Rebecca Mallon [University of Iowa]
As a registered dietitian, I understand that consistent, reliable access to food is a fundamental principle of mental and physical wellbeing. HF 613 will introduce barriers for recipients of food assistance, resulting in greater rates of food insecurity among adults, children, and families. The added work requirements are not evidencebased, as stricter work requirements have been shown to reduce SNAP participation without improving employment or earnings. The bill's addition of needless administrative oversight will result in higher state spending for worse health outcomes. I implore all Iowans to reject the passage of this cruel legislation, which will produce irreparable harm for the most vulnerable citizens in our communities.
03-27-2023
Nicole McAlexander []
As a lifelong Iowan and the director of a nonprofit that runs a weekly food pantry in rural Linn County, I urge you not to advance HF 613. Every day I see the struggle that our community members face in trying to meet basic needs. Seniors on fixed incomes, young parents with lowwage jobs, and neighbors on disability are desperate for more assistance, not more barriers to help. SNAP is the most efficient hungerfighting program in the nation and adding new restrictions will increase hunger in Iowa and put additional strain on food pantries that are already floundering. At our pantry, as in pantries across the state, we saw a dramatic increase in need last spring, when the end of the state emergency declaration reduced SNAP benefits to prepandemic levels. Since that change we've seen a sustained increase of 3040% more food pantry visits than in any previous year. Stocking our shelves is harder than it has ever been, as the need is so great, food bank inventory is low, and retail prices are so high. Just halfway through our fiscal year, we had already spent our entire food pantry budget. While our community is generous and continues to step up to meet the need, our entire social safety net cannot be left to the kindness of individuals. We must work together at all levels local, state, national, to support our most vulnerable neighbors. HR 613 would make this much more difficult. On behalf of all of our food pantry clients and vulnerable Iowans, I urge you not to pass this harmful legislation.
03-27-2023
Chris Hunter []
This bill does not protect Iowans from fraud or misuse; it simply creates barriers that will prevent eligible Iowans from accessing the help they need to survive, especially for their children. Why are Republicans, who claim to value life, really pushing this agenda?
03-27-2023
David Leshtz [Retired]
As a former Iowa Dept. of Human Services social worker, I can attest to the efficiency of SNAP/food stamps in preventing fraud and bureaucratic waste while providing temporary help to families with children, working parents, and members who are elderly or disabled. The promoters of this bill have yet to show a shred of evidence that it will save taxpayer dollars or help recipients find jobs with livable wages. On the contrary, I'm afraid the state will hire an out of state private company to administer public assistance programs; corporations with no skin in Iowa will profit at the expense of lowincome families and everyday taxpayers, as has occurred with Medicaid, COVID testing, and Workday.
03-27-2023
Marcie Barlage []
The other day I saw a clip of one of Iowa's representatives or senators saying that he had NEVER met someone who was hungry. What an astounding statement! He must live under a rock! There has been a steady increase in the need for our food banks yet our legislature wants to deny SNAP benefits to those in need. (A result of having one size fits all asset tests. Many people may have a 2nd carusually very old carsin order for both parents to get to work to support their families. These people usually do not make enough in the first place.)Please reconsider this ill thoughtout legislation. Please consider the people you say you represent!
03-27-2023
Barb Wheelock []
With food banks & pantries across the state seeing record breaking utilization, now is NOT the time to make it more difficult for hungry Iowans to get assistance they need. You legislators know, or should know, that experience in other states show that asset limits increase administrative costs for the program and discourages eligible people from applying. Don't pass this bill
03-27-2023
Vicki Aden []
Please vote NO on this bill. Every Iowan deserves food. This bill will add more barriers for Iowans who are hungry and in need of help. This bill will also likely cost the state more dollars than it will purportedly save. Stop this heartless nonsense and vote no.
03-27-2023
VaLinda Parsons []
I am strongly against this bill as it feeds into the FALSE narrative that lowincome Iowans are "lazy" or somehow deserve to be hungry! Grocery inflation since Covid times has been real and severe. It hurts our most vulnerable populations (elderly and dependent children) the most. It is yet again another meanspirited bill backed by the GOP, and we're TIRED OF IT!!
03-27-2023
Marta Nelson []
This bill punishes the poor for being poor. One can qualify for SNAP and be working in fact both parents can be working. Therefore 2 cars are needed for a family. It is unconscionable to spend money hiring the administration outside the government and does not save money. Employ Iowans to do the work of Iowa. This bill should be voted down.
03-27-2023
Samara Summers []
As a college student, food insecurity is everywhere on campus. This bill is not beneficial to Iowans, especially not hungry students faced with rising tuition costs and inflation. This bill will make it so that starving students will only have a harder time surviving and will be forced to abandon the degrees they need to get to a barely livable income.
03-27-2023
Jennifer Cooke [Preschool Teacher]
I do not support HF 613. There are so many times in my profession that Ive needed to feed a child as theyve arrived to my classroom in the morning because they were so hungry they couldnt regulate their emotions until that need was met. How am I able to grow a childs brain, teach skills, and facilitate learning if his/her body is coming to me with basic needs unmet? Families are struggling to feed their children. Putting harsh restrictions on that assistance is going to create a bigger, more expensive problem in our future. Must our children pay that price?!
03-27-2023
Kayla Perkins []
It is ASTONISHING that in Iowa, an agriculturallyfocused state, ANYONE goes hungry. And yet, it happens daily. More often than not they are young families and our vulnerable populations, elderly and children. It is impossible to thrive and bring growth to our state when people are hungry, and limitations continue to be put into place to prevent any assistance for the ones who need it. Vote NO to HF613, and put Iowas people, especially its children, first.
03-27-2023
Mindy Kruckenberg []
As a public school teacher, I urge you to vote against this heartless bill that truly does not solve problems or save money. These are difficult times financially for Iowans, and we should take care of each other. Stop this cruelty and vote no.
03-27-2023
Tiffany Welch []
Oppose HF 613. This attempt to reduce fraud just makes it harder for families to access life saving food. Children wont get the nutrition they need, it will be harder to get out of poverty, and will disincentivize households saving for the future
03-27-2023
Brandy Sicke []
I am a proud Iowan. I've worked hard to learn how to manage my money and time so I can best support my family. This bill will not help the state of Iowa save time nor money. Please oppose this bill.This bill adds more hoops for people to jump through that will cause more work on both the applicants and state while preventing federal funds from helping people in need. It is our duty to be good stewards of resources given to us. I am confident that together we can find a better solution to move forward. Thank you for your time and work.
03-27-2023
Tabitha Simms-Quigley []
40% of SNAP beneficiaries are children. 80% of households receiving SNAP have kids. These kids will suffer if this bill passes. Oppose HF 613
03-27-2023
Lisa Hughes []
Please don't pass this bill out of the subcommittee. Making food assistance harder will only impact our most vulnerable citizens. Children, seniors, veterans and didabled Iowans deserve our support not being knocked down, especially when the cost of food is still higher. Removing the additional SNAP support this last year increased the needs from the local food pantry and support of other Iowans. The ESA bill is now providing tax payer dollars to families that are already sending their kids to private schools with no asset test limitation requirements but now you want to make those that need the support for basic items of food suffer if they happen to have 2 cars. Ever think of those that live in rural locations that need 2 cars to get to jobs in 2 different towns? Why punish them because they are working hard to provide for their family the best they can but still need the help?Stop trying to punish people and costing us more money to administer these new rules. The SNAP money is federal money so why add in extra steps to show how mean we can be to Iowans.
03-27-2023
ANGELA SNYDER []
Please do not advance HF 613 and SF 494. Public benefits programs provide essential resources that help families regain stability and focus on the wellbeing of their kids. When families have access to what they need to thrive, parents are less stressed and children are more likely to grow up with lifelong health and success. Proposals like HF 613 and SF 494 restrict programs, like SNAP and Medicaid, harming Iowas kids, adding costs to our state, and destabilizing our communities.
03-27-2023
Carole Connet []
Please OPPOSE HF 613. When I was a single mother with three small sons, I was laid off from my job, which had included housing and meals as well as a salary. We were homeless for many months, living in a tent in a county park. If we had not had food stamps, my children would have been starving. Before long, I got another job and did not need to continue on welfare. My three sons succeeded in becoming National Merit Scholars, with full scholarships to a prestigious university. One is now an engineer, one is an IT specialist and one received his doctorate in Media and Communications. HF 613 will introduce barriers for recipients of food assistance, resulting in greater rates of food insecurity among adults, children, and families.
03-27-2023
Rachel Bruns []
Please do not advance HF 613 and SF 494. Public benefits programs provide essential resources that help families regain stability and focus on the wellbeing of their kids. When families have access to what they need to thrive, parents are less stressed and children are more likely to grow up with lifelong health and success. Proposals like HF 613 and SF 494 restrict programs, like SNAP and Medicaid, harming Iowas kids, adding costs to our state, and destabilizing our communities.
03-28-2023
Wendy Stokesbary []
I am requesting that the subcommittee for HF 613 not advance this bill. The extra administrative costs to increase screening people out of vital food and health insurance benefits does not represent a good investment for assuring the basic wellbeing of Iowans. It is important to keep Iowans assured of their ability to meet basic needs though programs like SNAP and Medicaid, as these services reduce the risk of abuse, neglect, and trauma for children living in homes who are eligible. There is a great deal of research and knowledge about the protective factors that help families to avoid adversity including abuse and neglect. The protective factors that buffer against child abuse and neglect are centered on childrens'caretakers having the ability to provide basic needs, and many hard working low wage workers depend on food and health care benefits to provide for their family. In addition, there is a documented association showing that an increase in the number of food benefit enrollees has been associated with a reduction in child protection and foster care caseloads. I hope that this committee with acknowledge the damage to low income families and the potential negative associated outcomes that this bill represents and votes to end this legislation now.
03-28-2023
Pamela Mohr []
I am writing to urge you to vote NO on HF613. There has been a huge focus on 'protecting children' in this legislative session. How is limiting food and medical services for the nearly 70% of SNAP participants that live in families with children protecting children? Children cannot grow, learn or become healthy, productive participants in our communities if their basic needs are not met. Voting yes to this bill sends a clear and disturbing message that children living in lowincome families are not a priority for our state leadership.This bill would create burdens on lowincome Iowans, would kick eligible people off of critical supports that help them feed their families, and will create more cracks for families to fall through when seeking assistance. The economic reality in our state is that good jobs with benefits are hard to find. Removing assistance does nothing to address the real causes of hunger and poor health. Please focus on resolving low wages, wealth inequality, discrimination, and the dismantling of workers' rights first. Thank you for your time and consideration.
03-28-2023
Lana Schaefer []
I worked as a special education preschool teacher for many years. I also worked with Head Start children in my classroom. I saw first hand how the families below the poverty line struggled to feed their children. Changing the requirements for both Medicaid and SNAP programs with adversely affect these families. I urge you to rethink how you are addressing these programs. Please think how it would feel if you were in their situation with children to care for.
03-28-2023
Diane Duncan-Goldsmith []
The president of the Iowa Senate has stated she believes this bill is necessary because fraud and abuse exists in our system. The fact is Iowas SNAP fraud amounts to just 0.001%.If the goal of HF 613 is to decrease the number of families receiving SNAP; how does this help address and alleviate hunger and food insecurity in Iowa? Does the tax payer funded stipend legislators receive while in session limit their food choices; what paperwork do legislators need to submit in order to receive a meal? If Republican legislators think families in Iowa do not experience food insecurity and hunger here are some facts. According to FeedingAmerica.org in Iowa, 2292,500 people (1in 14) are facing hunger and of those 80,160 are children (1 in 9). Here are facts from the Johnson County CommUnity Food Bank: from January 1 through 3 p.m., January 27, 2023, roughly 144,000 pounds of food were provided to 3,741 households. How many Iowa families will lose benefits simply because they will not be able to correctly complete all the new paperwork and documentation they will need to submit?The irony of this bill is the fact former Governor Branstad was recently appointed President of the World Food Prize, acknowledging his integral role in creating the Iowa Hunger Summit which has been instrumental in combating food insecurity in Iowa and around the world. Apparently, Representative Grassley and so many other Republican supporters of this bill have forgotten Iowas long history of actually actively addressing hunger.It amazes me any Republican member of the Iowa Legislature believes HF 613 is a good bill for Iowa. This just seems to be another example of bill in search of a problem that does not exist. If this bill is passed and sent to the Governors desk, who will she surround herself with when she signs it into law? Legislation should do no harm for the citizens of a state. Unfortunately, this bill will only harm the thousands of Iowans and their families facing hunger and food insecurity