Legislation

DC Food Legislative Tracker

The 2019-2020 Food Policy Legislative Tracker (updated October 2019) describes all pieces of food policy legislation introduced in the 2019-2020 DC Council legislative session. The tracker also includes a record of the food policy legislation introduced in the 2017-2018 session. This tracker is up to date through the end of the session. For more information on these bills or other District legislation, visit http://lims.dccouncil.us/.

DC Budget Season Spotlights

Several food-related bills passed in the 2017-2018 Legislative Session must be funded in order to be implemented:

  • Healthy Students Amendment Act of 2018
    • Fiscal impact: $911,000 in first year of implementation and $3.37 million over the four-year financial plan. This funding would go towards the increased reimbursement for school breakfast and the central kitchen study.
    • Description: Strengthens nutrition requirement for school meals; increases the reimbursement for school breakfast; expands breakfast after the bell and alternate serving models to increase breakfast participation; requires DCPS to conduct a baseline study and progress reports to align purchasing with the Good Food Purchasing Program’s core values; requires the Office of Planning to submit a report to the Mayor and Council regarding best practices for developing a central kitchen; and requires that DCPS and public charter school students participate in specified amounts of age-appropriate physical education per week.
  • Women, Infants, and Children Program Expansion Act of 2018 
    • Fiscal impact: $80,000 in first year of implementation and $532,000 over the four-year financial plan.
    • Description: Prohibits restrictions on the square footage, number of cashiers, or organic products for retailers accepting WIC beyond what is required by federal law; requires a plan to provide technical assistance to small stores to become WIC vendors; requires DC Health to host 4 community meetings per year to receive input on strategies to increase WIC participation and improve the experience of individuals enrolled in WIC.
  • Healthy Parks Amendment Act of 2018 
    • Fiscal impact: $891,000 in first year of implementation and $3.7 million over the four-year financial plan.
    • Description: Requires all food served by the Department of Parks and Recreation meet certain nutrition standards; requires DPR to offer afterschool meals at all eligible recreation centers and to increase outreach for the Summer Food Service Program.
  • Save Good Food Amendment Act of 2018
    • Fiscal impact: The tax credit will cost $5.7 million over four year financial plan; the rest of the Act will go into effect before the tax credit is funded.
    • Description: Creates a tax credit for the donation of certain healthy foods, up to 50% of the value of the contribution and not to exceed $2,500 per taxpayer per tax year, or $5,000 per corporation per tax year; expands liability protections to cover more forms of food donation; requires DC Health to revisit date label regulations; requires DC Health and the Office of Waste Diversion to create a guide on food donation; requires DC Health to train health inspectors on the information contained in the guide.
  • East End Grocery and Retail Incentive Program Tax Exemption Act of 2018
    • Fiscal impact: $3.5 million over four year financial plan.
    • Description: Enhances tax exemptions for grocery stores and sit-down restaurants that open in specific locations in Wards 7 and 8. The Act applies only to large, anchor stores that sell both groceries and retail goods. Eligible stores and restaurants would receive a number of tax exemptions, including from the recordation tax and transfer tax, a 30-year exemption from the real property tax, personal property tax, possessory interest tax, and corporate franchise tax.

Older Food Policy Legislation 

Over the last decade, several major pieces of legislation have been passed by the DC Council to strengthen the food system in the District. They include:

Food Policy Council and Director Establishment Act of 2014– To establish a Food Policy Director in District Government to promote food policy in the District, attract new participants to the local food economy, assist individuals already participating in the local food economy, and achieve the food goals identified in the Sustainable DC plan, and to establish a Food Policy Council to identify regulatory burdens on the local food economy, collect and analyze data on the food economy and food equity, promote positive food policies, and guide organizations and individuals involved in the food economy.

Urban Farming and Food Security Amendment Act of 2015– To amend the Food Production and Urban Gardens Program Act of 1986 to establish an urban farming land leasing initiative; to establish a nonrefundable tax credit for food commodity donations made to a District of Columbia food bank or shelter; and to establish a real property tax abatement for unimproved real property leased for the purpose of small-scale urban farming.

Cottage Food Act of 2013– To amend the DOH Functions Clarification Act of 2001 to permit cottage food businesses in the District to operate without a license from the Department of Health if the specific laws concerning cottage food businesses are followed, to authorize DOH to define food products to be sold by cottage food businesses, to authorize inspections of cottage food businesses if a complaint is received by DOH, and to authorize the DOH to issue regulations concerning cottage food businesses.

Healthy Schools Act of 2010, Amended in 2012– The Act addresses the following areas: Breakfast/Lunch Access; School Nutrition; Farm to School; Physical Activity & Education; Health Education; School Environment; Competitive Foods/Snacks; Health & Wellness setting nutrition guidelines for food available on school campuses.

Food, Environmental, and Economic Development in the District of Columbia Act of 2010 (FEED DC Act)– To establish a program to attract grocery stores and renovate grocery stores in low-income areas in the District; to require participating grocery stores to employ District residents and provide them with quality jobs, accept SNAP benefits, and accept WIC benefits; to designate a grocery ambassador to assist grocery retailers; to amend Chapter 38 of Title 47 of the District of Columbia Official Code to modify the tax exemption provisions for supermarkets; to establish a program to expand access to healthy foods in low-income areas in the District by providing assistance to corner stores, farmers markets and other small food retailers; to develop a plan for establishing a commercial distribution system for fresh produce and healthy foods to corner stores; and to assist corner stores in becoming more energy efficient.

Made in DC Program Establishment Act – To establish the Made in DC Program within the Department of Small and Local Business Development (DSLBD). The Made in DC Program shall, among other things, develop an identifier of District created products, raise awareness of locally crafted products, promote the purchase of locally crafted products, develop a logo for the brand, promote the brand and provide support to help businesses utilize the brand. Within 180 days of the effective date of this act, the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development (DMPED) shall submit a report to Council regarding opportunities for a District-sponsored Innovation Studio Space and Marketplace. It’s purpose is to support the local arts, craft, and maker community by providing low-cost membership for access to studio space, high-end equipment, sales gallery space, and classrooms.

Comprehensive Plan

The District’s Comprehensive Plan, managed by the DC Office of Planning, constitutes the District Elements and is the long-term framework for the city. The District’s Comprehensive Plan establishes a vision of the Districts future and includes goals, policies and action items.

Beginning in 2016, the Office of Planning went out to the community to request input and changes to the plan and maps. The DC Food Policy Council submitted the following proposed amendments to the plan based on their strategic food initiatives, and the goals and activities included in the Sustainable DC Plan.

Amendments to Existing Comprehensive Plan items for FOOD

NEW Amendments Proposed Comprehensive Plan items for FOOD