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Tuesday Morning - February 17, 2009

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February 17, 2008

 

Table of Contents

School Nutrition Equipment Funding Included in Economic Stimulus

LAC Update: Child Nutrition Hearing Scheduled for Wednesday, March 4

LAC Update: Schedule Additions

Sign On to the CN Forum Statement of Principles

Child Nutrition Forum Meets, Strategy Takes Shape

Where SNA Stands on Reauthorization 2009

Woolsey to Reintroduce Competitive Foods Legislation

Hearing Held on Peanut Recall, Klobuchar Issues Statement

Connecticut Proposes 5 Cent Reduction in Additional Reimbursement

School Nutrition in the News

 

In Every Issue

Legislative Action Center

Legislative Toolkit

PR Toolkit

State Policy Index

State and Federal Legislation

PPL Committee

 

School Nutrition Equipment Funding Included in Economic Stimulus

On Friday, February 13, 2009, the House of Representatives and the Senate finished debate on the $789 billion American Recovery and Reinvestment Plan, or the economic stimulus package. Several items within the bill will positively benefit child nutrition including $100 million in school food equipment grant assistance – a provision that will save and create jobs in the foodservice equipment manufacturing sector as well as benefitting the quality of food provided through school nutrition programs.

The school food equipment assistance grant program consists of $100,000,000 available to carry out a grant program for National School Lunch Program equipment assistance with the funds provided to States agencies administering the school lunch program based on the proportion of meals served per state. According to the stimulus package language, States shall provide competitive grants to school food authorities based upon the need for equipment assistance in participating schools with priority given to school in which 50 percent or more of the students are eligible for free or reduced price meals under the Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act. Funds would be made available through FY 2010.

School Nutrition Equipment Funding Included in Economic Stimulus

 

LAC Update: Child Nutrition Hearing Scheduled for Wednesday, March 4

The Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry will hold a hearing on the child nutrition programs on Wednesday, March 4, 2009 at 10:30 AM in Room 216 of the Hart Senate Office Building.  The hearing, although a day later than the traditional Charge to the Hill, is being held to coincide with SNA’s Legislative Action Conference (LAC).  SNA President Dr. Katie Wilson, SNS is among those invited to testify. Please plan on attending this hearing if possible, which is immediately following the final general session. 

 

LAC Update: Schedule Additions

There are several additions to the LAC schedule.  Representative Jim McGovern (D-Mass.) will speak during the 2nd general session on Monday, March 2, 2009.  Representative McGovern is a long time anti-hunger advocate and supporter of the child nutrition programs.  He is a co-chair of the House Hunger Caucus.

Noted nutritionist Dr. Keith Ayoob will also speak during the 2nd general session.  Dr. Ayoob is a practicing pediatric nutritionist and an associate professor of pediatrics at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York.  Dr. Ayoob is nationally known for his work on childhood overweight and obesity issues, as well as his research on myths and misconceptions regarding nutrition and health.

It’s not too late to register for LAC 2009!  Over 650 SNA members will be in Washington, DC March 1-4, 2009, advocating for the school nutrition programs.  Are you one of them?  Please visit the LAC 2009 page for additional information.

 

Sign On to the CN Forum Statement of Principles

If your state association hasn’t already signed onto the CN Forum Statement of Principles, now is the time!  State associations that sign-on before Feb. 17, 2009, will be included in the printed list that will be part of the LAC packets and handed to members of Congress and staff during the LAC Charge to the Hill.  So far, the following states have signed on: 

  • Alaska
  • Arizona
  • Colorado
  • Connecticut
  • Delaware
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Idaho
  • Illinois
  • Indiana
  • Iowa
  • Kansas
  • Kentucky
  • Louisiana
  • Maryland
  • Massachusetts
  • Michigan
  • Minnesota
  • Missouri
  • Montana
  • Nebraska
  • New Hampshire
  • New Mexico
  • North Carolina
  • North Dakota
  • Ohio
  • Oregon
  • Pennsylvania
  • South Carolina
  • South Dakota
  • Tennessee
  • Utah
  • Vermont
  • Virginia
  • Washington State
  • Wisconsin

During Reauthorization years, the School Nutrition Association joins forces with several hundreds of other organizations through the Child Nutrition (CN) Forum.  The CN Forum was founded in the late 1970’s by former Senator George McGovern (D-S.D.), an ardent supporter of the federal food assistance programs, including the child nutrition programs.  Co-chaired by SNA and the Food Research and Action Center, the CN Forum includes a variety of anti-hunger, religious, education, medical, nutrition, direct service, school food, preschool and child care, unions, children, after school, industry and agricultural groups.  These organizations have joined together again in 2009 to advocate on behalf of the child nutrition programs.

For the detailed Statement of Principles and a sign on form, please visit the CN Forum Statement of Principles link.

 

Child Nutrition Forum Meets, Strategy Takes Shape

A meeting of the child nutrition Reauthorization forum was held at the offices of the Food Research and Action Center in Washington, DC this week. About 20 groups participated in person and on the phone from around the country. Discussions focused on the budget process and a multi pronged strategy for reaching out to the Obama Administration and Budget Committee members in the House and Senate. The Administration is expected to present an outline of the upcoming fiscal year budget on February 24, 2009.

The critical question right now is how much money to ask Congressional and Administration leaders to set aside for the child nutrition reauthorization bill. In order to fund the key priorities outlined in the Forum's Statement of Principles (see blog post from Feb. 3, 2009, below for more info) it is estimated that $4 billion per year should be set aside, over five years. The challenge becomes making the case for this amount of funding. One way SNA members can help is to sign on to the Statement of Principles. The more groups - especially grassroots groups like food banks and school nutrition chapters at the local level - that sign on to the Principles, the better the odds of securing the funding necessary to achieve a meaningful and significant child nutrition reauthorization. Look in the very near future as well for sample letters to the editor and other tools to bring the need for funding to the public.

 

Where SNA Stands on Reauthorization 2009

Congress is set to reauthorize the federal child nutrition programs this year. Recent reports indicate that improving the nutritional quality of the school nutrition programs is a major priority for the Obama Administration.  In a Washington Post interview, Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack stated he will nominate people for positions within the USDA that are experts on the child nutrition programs.

There are lots of questions out there on Child Nutrition Reauthorization. A recent post on SNA’s From the Kitchen to the Congress blog attempts to answer some of these questions.  The following is an excerpt:

Q. When will it happen? What is the timeframe for child nutrition reauthorization?

A. Back in 2004 the child nutrition programs were reauthorized through September 30th, 2009. That means they will need to be reauthorized again before late September to prevent the programs from ending. That being said, it is possible for Congress to pass a bill extending the current authorization for a month or a few months, or more, if they have not completed the new reauthorization bill. That has happened before - in fact in the programs were set to expire in September 2003, and the reauthorization bill at the time was not complete. Congress extended the existing legislation several times before completing the reauthorization process almost a year later on June 30, 2004. it remains to be seen what will happen in 2009 - however Congressional leaders and staff in both the Senate and the House have expressed a desire to reauthorize the programs on time before the deadline of September 30th this year. 

For more information, read From the Kitchen to the Congress.

 

Woolsey to Reintroduce Competitive Foods Legislation

Representative Lynn Woolsey (D-Calif.) is set to reintroduce legislation that would set standards for foods sold outside of the National School Lunch Program and the School Breakfast Program.  The legislation is nearly identical to H.R. 1363, the bill introduced in 110th Congress.  It would require the USDA to develop a set of nutrition standards for foods sold in competition with the National School Lunch Program. The new bill has updated the findings, changed the section heading to “national school nutrition standards”, and added a requirement that USDA update the standards periodically. The requirement was also removed that the proposed rule become the final rule in one year.

SNA is supporting this legislation, along with several hundred other nutrition, health, and education organizations.  There are 155 members of the House of Representatives supporting this proposed legislation, which will be introduced in the coming weeks.

 

Hearing Held on Peanut Recall, Klobuchar Issues Statement

The House Committee on Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations held a hearing on Wednesday, February 11th on the salmonella outbreak and subsequent peanut recall.  Among those testifying before the committee were relatives of victims, as well as food safety experts and the owner of the Peanut Corporation of America. 

Also this week, Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar released a statement regarding the peanut recall.  She called for better food safety regulations in order to prevent the shipment of contaminated products to schools.  Minnesota schools received approximately 1 ton of recall peanut products.

Klobuchar Statement on Peanut Recall 

 

Connecticut Proposes 5 Cent Reduction in Additional Reimbursement

Additional funding for school meals is at risk in Connecticut.  A bill recently introduced in the General Assembly would significantly reduce a 10 cent per meal incentive for school nutrition programs that adopt the state’s voluntary guidelines for competitive foods.  Senate Bill 380 would cut the 10 cent incentive to 5 cents per meal.  Over half of the school districts in Connecticut participate in this program.

Like many states, Connecticut is facing a significant budget short fall.  The 5 cent reduction in additional reimbursement is one of the suggested cost saving measures included in the state budget for the upcoming fiscal year. At a hearing on the proposed reduction last week lawmakers heard from the School Nutrition Association of Connecticut and vowed to work with them on increasing funding.  

 

School Nutrition in the News

The March 2009 issue of Family Circle magazine includes a sidebar on healthy school meals in a larger article on good nutrition for kids. The sidebar emphasizes that school lunches have been getting an unjustified "bad rap." As Family Circle writes "turns out the food you get in the lunch line contains healthy amounts of fat as well as adequate protein, iron, calcium and vitamins A and C." An Associated Press article out of New Mexico detailed the challenges involved with charge policies when students are unable to pay for their full price school meal.

 

SNA Legislative Action Center

Legislative Toolkit

PR Toolkit

State Policy Index

State and Federal Legislation

State legislation can now be accessed on the Internet through Netscan. Use Username: schoolnutrition and Password: sna

Click State Legislation Instructions for steps to access state legislation through the service. Legislatures currently in session include:  Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Federal, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin, Wyoming.

 


 
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