Governor Brown signs SB1138, Social Compassion in Legislation spearheaded by Laguna’s Judie Mancuso

On Sept 18,  Governor Jerry Brown signed Senator Nancy Skinner’s (D-Berkeley) SB 1138, “Ensuring a Plant Based Meal Option,” requiring hospitals, healthcare facilities and prisons to offer plant-based meals to people in these institutions. 

“This year my group, Social Compassion in Legislation (SCIL), partnered with Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM), as experts in the field of nutrition and promoting the benefits of plant based diets,” said Judie Mancuso, founder and president of SCIL. “SCIL promotes plant based diets primarily to save animals from the plight of factory farms, but also for better health outcomes for humans and to protect the environment. Animal agriculture is one of the top contributors of greenhouse gas emissions, deforestation, and water pollution.”

Mancuso also gave credit to the legislator who championed the bill. “We brought this idea to several legislators, and Senator Nancy Skinner enthusiastically offered to “author” the bill with my group, SCIL, and PCRM being the “cosponsors”. The legislative session began in January of this year, so we have been working on the bill for the last nine months.”

“Whether to protect animals, our climate or our health, those of us who choose to eat a vegan diet can celebrate today with Governor Brown’s signing of SB 1138,” said Senator Skinner. “SB 1138 ensures that people in hospitals, healthcare facilities or prison have access to plant-based meals.

Governor Brown Mancuso

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Laguna’s Judie Mancuso leads effort for SCIL

 “My role as the leader of our coalition was to work with the Senator and her staff to provide all of the support required to get the bill through the legislative process,” continued Mancuso. “Support such as providing expert witnesses for several policy hearings, managing our professional advocacy team, and mobilizing the grassroot support needed to get the bill to the finish line. SB 1138 (Skinner) Plant Based Meal Options had strong bipartisan support throughout the entire process. We are elated Governor Jerry Brown just signed the bill into law this week. It will go into effect January 1, 2019.”

SB 1138 wouldn’t necessitate the creation of extensive new menus; it only requires that at least one plant-based meal option be made available. “We are elated that Governor Brown sees the value in offering plant-based meals in prisons and medical facilities,” said Judie Mancuso “Plant-based foods are key to better health outcomes, fighting climate change and reducing the number of animals in our food production.” Offering plant-based options in these institutions gives California a chance to further its climate protection and water conservation goals. A 2014 study in the journal Climatic Change found that vegetarian diets were associated with a 50 percent reduction in food-related greenhouse gas emissions.

“There’s a basic human right to nutritious food that meets health and cultural needs,” said Skinner. “SB 1138 makes sure that California custodial facilities respect that right.”