On Tuesday, Governor Gavin Newsom vetoed AB 826, which would have provided $600 in food assistance to low-income residents, including undocumented immigrants.
The Bill was introduced by Assemblyman Miguel Santiago, D-Los Angeles on Sept. 4.
According to the Bill:
Existing law establishes and requires the State Department of Social Services to administer the CalFood Program to provide food and funding to food banks whose primary function is to facilitate the distribution of food to low-income households, as specified.
This bill would establish a program to provide emergency food assistance. The program would require, upon the appropriation of funds by the Legislature for this purpose, or upon a determination by the Governor that specified funds available to the Governor may be used for this purpose, the department to contract with a Feeding America partner state organization with the capacity to provide a food assistance benefit statewide, or another nonprofit entity that the department deems appropriate, to issue food assistance benefits in the form of a one-time use, prepaid card preloaded with $600 for use at retailers that sell groceries. The bill would require the cards to be issued on 2 different distribution periods at least one month apart to any adult who self-attests to eligibility for specified assistance programs. The bill would specify the procedures for administering this program.
In his veto message, Newsom said the following:
“I am returning Assembly Bill 826 without my signature.
This bill would require the California Department of Social Services to contract with a Feeding America partner state organization or other appropriate nonprofit entity to provide a food assistance benefit to those who self-attest that they are eligible for state or federal nutrition assistance or immigration legal services.
It has been my firm commitment that my Administration would support all California during COVID-19 crisis. To that end, my Administration has advanced efforts to provide relief that is both inclusive of and directed to undocumented Californian’s.
As we continue to address the needs of California during the pandemic, it is prudent to address needs of Californians during the pandemic, it is prudent to consider the most appropriate and responsible means to offer support to those in need. Given the significant General Fund impact annually that this bill would have, I am unable to sign this measure.”
The bill passed out of the State Assembly in a 64-0 vote (15 assembly members cast no vote of record). In the State Senate, it passed 29-9.