Gov. Landry vetoes bills aimed at providing healthy options for food deserts

Gov. Landry vetoes bills aimed at providing healthy options for food deserts

The USDA defines a “food desert” as a population that is not located within 10 miles of a large food retailer.

BATON ROUGE, La. — On Friday, Governor Jeff Landry vetoed legislation aimed at providing healthy food to areas where it’s hard to come by. 

The Healthy Food Retail Act is nothing new, but the legislature wanted to permanently fund it. The act subsidizes retailers who want to sell healthy food in so-called “food deserts.” 

The USDA defines a “food desert” as a population that is not located within 10 miles of a large food retailer. Roughly one in seven Louisianans live in a food desert, according to the Louisiana Food Bank Association. 

In a letter, Landry said the program was funded by the federal government until September of 2023. The governor said he vetoed it because there was no longer any money to make it happen. 

“Retaining the current law still allows the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry to provide funding for this program should funding become available,” the letter said, “For these reasons, the bill will not become law.” 

Senator Royce Duplessis (D – New Orleans) authored the bill on the Senate side, and Representative Edmond Jordan (D – Baton Rouge) carried it on the House side. 

The lawmakers are concerned the funding will never come as the governor suggested. 

“So, the veto is both very surprising and very troubling,” Duplessis said, “It was a missed opportunity to expand on a program that never got the funding that it should’ve gotten to begin with, and as long as we leave it permissive in the law, we don’t believe that it’s going to get that funding.”

Both lawmakers said it passed in the House and Senate with bipartisan support. 

“I was kind of taken aback because, in all my communications with the Commissioner of Agriculture, they were committed to putting funds forward to make this program work,” Jordan said. 

The lawmakers said they will both consider bringing the bill again during next year’s legislative session. However, in odd years they are limited as to how many bills they can bring. 

This comes after Landry voiced his opposition to accepting federal funding for the summer EBT program. Earlier this month, the state legislature stepped in and passed a bill that would fund the program, which begins June 4.

Duplessis called it a “concerning pattern.” 

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Source: wwltv.com

Kerri Waldron

My name is Kerri Waldron and I am an avid healthy lifestyle participant who lives by proper nutrition and keeping active. One of the things I love best is to get to where I am going by walking every chance I get. If you want to feel great with renewed energy, you have to practice good nutrition and stay active.

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