Final Rule: FMNP Legislative Changes From the William F. Goodling Child Nutrition Reauthorization Act of 1998
This final rule implements three WIC Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program (FMNP) related nondiscretionary provisions mandated in the William F. Goodling Child Nutrition Reauthorization Act of 1998. The three provisions pertain to the use of program income as a state matching fund source, elimination of specific state plan ranking criteria used to determine funding preferences, and use of expansion funds to increase the value of benefits to recipients.
On October 31, 1998, the President signed Pub. L. 105–336, the William F. Goodling Child Nutrition Reauthorization Act of 1998 (the Goodling Act), which included three non-discretionary provisions regarding the FMNP.
The three provisions address: program income as an allowable state matching fund source, elimination of specific state plan ranking criteria used to determine funding preferences, and use of expansion funds to increase the value of benefits to recipients. This final rule implements those nondiscretionary FMNP provisions as reflected in section 203(o) of the Goodling Act.
These provisions serve the interests of the President and Congress by providing greater flexibility for FMNP state agencies in the operation of the program, and expanding the allowable sources for meeting the state matching fund requirement. Because of the nondiscretionary nature of these legislative provisions, the Administrator of the Food and Nutrition Service has determined that, in accordance with 5 U.S.C. 553, prior notice and comment is unnecessary and contrary to the public interest, and for the same reason, that good cause exists for the publication of this rule less than 30 days prior to its effective date. The effective date of this rule is October 1, 1998, the same date on which the Goodling Act was signed.
Section 203(o)(1) of the Goodling Act amended section 17(m)(3) of the Child Nutrition Act of 1966 (CNA) (42 U.S.C. 1786(m)(3)) to allow states to use program income as a source for meeting the FMNP state matching fund requirement. The conference report accompanying the Goodling Act [House Report No. 105–786, October 6, 1998] stated that the term ‘‘program income’’ was to be defined as in the Uniform Federal Assistance Regulations (7 CFR Part 3016.25), thereby permitting donations by companies and vendor fines for violations in the WIC Program to be used to meet the state matching fund requirement. Sections 248.2 and 248.14(a)(1) of the FMNP regulations are hereby amended to reflect this change. Current section 248.13 defines program income for FMNP purposes.
Funds Section 203(o)(2) of the Goodling Act amended Section 17(m)(6)(C) of the CNA, (42 U.S.C. 1786(m)(6)(C)) by permitting use of Federal expansion funds for increases in the value of benefits in lieu of, or in addition to, the criterion that state agencies must serve additional recipients in order to receive the expansion funds. It also replaced the requirement for documentation that justifies the need for an increase in participation when seeking expansion funds with language requiring the Department of Agriculture (the Department) to consider the state agency’s need for an increase in funding, and whether the use of the increased funding would be consistent with serving nutritionally at-risk persons and expanding program awareness. The law also added a requirement that the Department consider whether the rate of coupon redemption will be increased in those state agencies that use expansion funds to increase the value of benefits provided to individual recipients. The Department wishes to point out that under section 17(m)(5)(C) 42 U.S.C. 1786(m)(5)(C), the maximum federal FMNP benefit level remains unchanged at $20 per recipient, per year. Sections 248.4(a)(19) and 248.14(e) are hereby amended to reflect these changes.