HBA-TYH H.B. 2499 76(R) BILL ANALYSIS Office of House Bill AnalysisH.B. 2499 By: Moreno, Joe State Affairs 4/13/1999 Introduced BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE Community food gardens provide families who do not own land a place to garden and an opportunity to grow fresh and nutritious food to supplement family incomes and increase food security. These gardens may also increase families' knowledge of food sources and nutrition, increase participation in local community projects, improve and enhance the diet of low-income families, improve skills in problem-solving, teamwork, conflict resolution and leadership skills, and strengthen ties to businesses, schools, community agencies, and community gardens. In 1994, the General Land Office identified 118 tracts of unused or underutilized state real property comprising nearly 25,000 acres. Some of the underutilized property may be suitable for use as community food gardens and farmers markets. H.B. 2499 establishes the Community Nutrition Task Force to coordinate and implement a community food garden and farmers market program using underutilized state land for the benefit of low-income and needy families. This bill also requires the Texas Youth Commission and the Texas Department of Criminal Justice to participate in the program. RULEMAKING AUTHORITY It is the opinion of the Office of House Bill Analysis that this bill does not expressly delegate any additional rulemaking authority to a state officer, department, agency, or institution. SECTION BY SECTION ANALYSIS SECTION 1. Amends Subtitle G, Title 10, Government Code, by adding Chapter 2312, as follows: CHAPTER 2312. COMMUNITY NUTRITION TASK FORCE Sec. 2312.001. TASK FORCE; PURPOSE. Establishes the Community Nutrition Task Force (task force) to coordinate and implement a community food production and farmers market program using underutilized state land or other appropriate state-owned property for the benefit of low-income and needy families. Sec. 2312.002. COMPOSITION OF TASK FORCE. Sets forth the composition of the task force. Sec. 2312.003. IDENTIFICATION OF SUITABLE UNDERUTILIZED PROPERTY. Requires the General Land Office (office) to identify underutilized state property that is subject to the office's authority under Subchapter E (Real Property Accounting and Management), Chapter 31, Natural Resources Code, and that is suitable for the establishment of a community food garden or farmers market. Sec. 2312.004. ESTABLISHMENT OF COMMUNITY FOOD GARDENS. Requires the task force to select suitable state property identified by the office or other appropriate state-owned property for the establishment by the task force of community food gardens. Requires each state agency or service on the task force to provide resources, information, and staff support for the establishment of the community food gardens. Requires agencies, services, and organizations that are members of the task force to, under the coordination of the task force: _identify community groups, nonprofit organizations, local government agencies, and persons in communities near the gardens that will be helpful in establishing the gardens; _work with community groups to develop a community food garden plan and to identify the resources necessary to implement the plan; and _teach youths and adults in communities near the gardens the basics of gardening for food, the basics of nutrition, and how that knowledge benefits their health and economic security. Sec. 2312.005. FOOD GROWN IN GARDENS. Prohibits food grown in community food gardens from being sold for individual profit, but authorizes it to be donated or sold with the proceeds of the sales used to benefit the continued operation of the gardens. Sec. 2312.006. PARTICIPATION BY YOUTH COMMISSION AND DEPARTMENT OF CRIMINAL JUSTICE; COMMUNITY SERVICE. Requires the Texas Youth Commission (commission) and the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (department) to participate in the program by encouraging when feasible the planting of community gardens at residential or correctional facilities under the commission's or department's jurisdiction. Requires one-half of the food grown at a participating facility to be used by the facility and the other half to be donated to a nonprofit food bank or kitchen that serves persons at risk for hunger. Authorizes a juvenile or adult required by a court to perform hours of community service to be allowed to credit hours worked in any community garden established under this chapter toward the required number of community service hours. Sec. 2312.007. FARMERS MARKETS. Authorizes the task force to select suitable underutilized state property on which an association of farmers or a nonprofit organization approved by the task force may establish a farmers market for the purpose of selling locally grown fresh produce directly to consumers, if the task force determines that this would increase food security in the area, and the area is not already served by a for-profit farmers market. Authorizes the office to lease the land to the association or organization for a nominal amount for this purpose. Sec. 2312.008. TRANSACTIONS RELATED TO LAND. Authorizes the office, if necessary and on behalf of the task force, the state, and any affected state agency, to execute leases, contracts, or other transactions related to land to accomplish the purposes of this chapter. Provides that the procedures of Subchapters E and I (Real Estate Transaction Not Authorized by Legislature), Chapter 31, Natural Resources Code, do not apply to the leases, contracts, or other transactions. Sec. 2312.009. INFORMATION ABOUT PROGRAM. Requires the Texas Agricultural Extension Service to include periodically revised information about the task force's program, when appropriate, as part of the service's own programs. Sec. 2312.010. REPORT. Requires the task force, not later than October 1 of each year, to report the results of its efforts to the governor, lieutenant governor, and speaker of the house of representatives. SECTION 2. Emergency clause. Effective date: upon passage.