In addition to lower unemployment, the downward trend is a result of determined advocacy organizations like Maryland Hunger Solutions and a commitment on the part of the General Assembly to step up when the federal government has stepped back. In each of the past two sessions the General Assembly has passed legislation to ensure greater access to food for our vulnerable populations. First, in the 2016 session, the assembly passed a bill that I introduced with Sen. Richard S. Madeleno to ensure that no senior citizen in our state who qualified for SNAP (food stamps) would receive less than $30 per month. This bill marked the first time that Maryland has made its own monetary commitment to our seniors' food needs. Second, this past session Senator Madaleno and I were again grateful that the General Assembly passed our bill to allow some returning felons convicted of drug abuse to access SNAP benefits. This access will help ensure a smoother transition back to the community and result in decreased recidivism. Both bills passed with bipartisan support.