Gov. Jerry Brown signed legislation this morning eliminating the state's requirement that food stamp applicants be fingerprinted, a bid to increase participation in the federally-funded CalFresh program.
Supporters said fingerprinting deterred participation, with just half of eligible Californians receiving assistance. California is one of three states and one city that require applicants to be fingerprinted, according to a legislative analysis.
Assembly Bill 6, by Assemblyman Felipe Fuentes, D-Los Angeles, was among a batch of food-related bills Brown signed today. He also signed Assembly Bill 152, also by Fuentes, that provides a tax credit to California growers for the cost of fresh fruits or vegetables they donate to food banks.
The Senate Appropriations Committee estimated the tax credit will initially cost the state General Fund $200,000 a year.
"These bills will help bring food to the nearly 7 million Californians who go hungry each and every day," Fuentes said in a prepared statement. "The hunger relief package will reduce the burden on the neediest Californians to ensure that they can get the food they need."
Editor's note: This post updated at 11:36 a.m. to include remarks by Fuentes.