Tuesday Morning - March 21, 2017

An Update on Federal and State Policy Issues
from SNA

Table of Contents

Federal Policy

Trump Administration Releases Blueprint Budget
Two Federal Child Nutrition Bills Recently Introduced 
Sonny Perdue’s Confirmation Hearing

State Snapshots

Maine Breakfast and Reduced-Price Bills Introduced
New Jersey Addresses Food Waste
Washington Equipment Assistance Grant Bill
Texas Bill Encourages CEP

Mark Your Calendars

SNA's Upcoming Webinars
USDA Unpaid Meals Webinar
FRAC Community Eligibility Adoption Webinar

Cafeteria Chat Corner


Federal Policy

Trump Administration Releases Blueprint Budget

On Thursday, March 16, 2017, the White House released its budget blueprint for Fiscal Year 2018. The budget calls for funding cuts to most federal agencies, as well as a $54 billion increase in defense spending and other administration priorities. Within the plan, the Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) projected budget is $17.9 billion, which is a $4.7 billion cut, or a 21 percent decrease from 2017.

Nothing was included that pose any specific threats to school meal programs. The budget does call for the elimination the 21st Century Community Learning Center Program. This 21st Century program promotes the creation of community centers that provide children with academic enrichment opportunities and sometimes serve as summer and afterschool meal sites. Overall, the budget does not directly address school nutrition programs. SNA will continue to monitor the budget process and will review the more detailed budget proposal from the Trump Administration when it is released in late spring.

Two Federal Child Nutrition Bills Recently Introduced

On February 28, 2017, Rep. Doug LaMalfa (R-CA-1) introduced H.R 1241, titled the American Food for American Schools Act of 2017. Currently, the Buy American provision requires schools to use domestically-sourced products for school lunches. They may request a waiver from the Department of Agriculture if the cost of domestic sourcing is significantly higher. H.R. 1241 is intended to strengthen the Buy American provision by requiring school nutrition providers to seek a waiver to use tax payer dollars to purchase commodities and products grown, made and packaged outside the United States. Waiver requests must also be made public so that American farmers and food providers can seek out school districts that need affordable, American-made food. H.R 1241 is currently in the House Education and the Workforce Committee and its co-sponsors include Rep. Sean Duffy (R-WI-7), Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-WI-8), Rep. John Garamendi (D-CA-3), Rep. Walter Jones (R-NC-3), Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D-OH-9), Rep. Jimmy Panetta (D-CA-20), and Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-CA-40).

On March 2, 2017, Rep. Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR-1) introduced H.R 1332, titled the Early Child Nutrition Improvement Act. This bill amends the Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act and aims to increase participation in the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) by reducing paperwork, streamlining eligibility requirements, and promoting clearer guidelines for providers. The bill also authorizes reimbursements for a third meal in the day. Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY-21) is a cosponsor of the bill, which is currently in the House Education and the Workforce Committee.

Sonny Perdue’s Confirmation Hearing

After weeks of waiting, former Governor Sonny Perdue, President Trump’s nominee for Secretary of Agriculture, has a confirmation hearing date scheduled. The Senate Agriculture Committee was waiting for the official nomination papers and Perdue’s ethics disclosure forms. After receiving all documents, the Committee scheduled Perdue’s hearing for Thursday, March 23. His confirmation is expected to be one of the least contentious of all the Administrations picks, however, Ranking Member Senator Stabenow has reserved any official endorsement. If confirmed, SNA looks forward to working with Gov. Perdue to support school meal programs.

State Snapshots

Maine Breakfast and Reduced-Price Bills Introduced

LD 809 requires a school administrative unit with a public school in which 50% of students qualified for free or reduced-price lunch to operate an alternative breakfast delivery service after the start of the school day. The bill also requires the Department of Education to adopt rules to develop an application, standards of evaluation, and a means to track health and academic outcomes of students who participate.

LD 816 directs the state to fund the difference between the federal reimbursements for reduced-price and free lunches in order to provide all children under 185% of the federal poverty level free lunch at school.

New Jersey Addresses Food Waste

A3056 and its companion in the Senate, S2360, requires the Department of Education to establish voluntary guidelines for K-12 schools and institutions of higher education to reduce, recover, and recycle food waste. The bill also extends the “Food Bank Good Samaritan Act,” providing immunity to public and nonpublic schools against civil and criminal actions related to donation of these foods.

Washington Equipment Assistance Grant Bill

HB 1551, the “Apple a Day Act of 2017,” establishes a competitive equipment assistance grant program. The superintendent must establish a competitive application and evaluation process that includes consultation with a Washington School Nutrition Association representative. Use of proposed equipment will enhance nutrition and improve student access to healthier foods. Funding priority is given to schools with at least 50% free or reduced-price eligibility.

Texas Bill Encourages CEP

SB 1696, requires the Texas Department of Agriculture to conduct a study to determine the school districts eligible to implement CEP. The schools will be notified and in turn must conduct an economic analysis of cost savings that would result from participation in CEP. After receiving these analyses from the schools, the Department of Agriculture will submit a report on the number of school districts eligible and potential of cost savings to the Governor and state legislature.

Mark Your Calendars

SNA's Upcoming Webinars

Learn about hot topics in school nutrition and earn Continuing Education Units (CEUs) with SNA’s popular professional development webinars.

2017 SNA Position Paper, What You Need to Know!
Tuesday, March 21, 2017
Come get a preview of SNA’s 2017 Position Paper! Participants will be guided through the various components so that they are well-equipped to explain the Association’s priority goals during LAC’s “Charge to the Hill!” No CEUs are available for this webinar.

Schools As Nutrition Hubs: The Business Savvy Strategy to Reduce Childhood Hunger
Wednesday, March 22, 2017
In this interactive session, learn tips and how-to lessons from and brainstorm with expert school nutrition directors who operate Nutrition Hubs. Successful completion of the webinar and quiz is awarded 1 SNA CEU, or 1 CPEU for RDs/DTRs.

Buy American Act
Wednesday, March 29, 2017
Learn more about the Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act’s (NSLA) Buy American provision, including an overview of the history and current regulations of Buy American in the NSLP. Successful completion of the webinar and quiz is awarded 1 SNA CEU, or 1 CPEU for RDs/DTRs.

USDA Unpaid Meals Webinar

SFA’s are required to have an unpaid meal policy in place by SY 2017-18. On Tuesday, April 4, 2017, 2:30 pm EST, USDA will host the webinar about local charge policies. Entitled, Unpaid Meal Charges: Local Charge Policy Requirement , this webinar will include an overview of USDA’s work around unpaid meal charges, a detailed overview of local meal charge policies, and time for questions. Interaction and participation is encouraged during the webinar. USDA’s Unpaid Meal Charges Website houses their current resources, including guidance, handbooks, checklists, and a Q&A.

FRAC Community Eligibility Adoption Webinar

The Food Research & Action Center (FRAC) is hosting the webinar, “Community Eligibility Adoption in the 2016-2017 School Year,” on Thursday, March 23, 3:00 pm EST. FRAC will be releasing new data on schools and districts participating in the Community Eligibility Provision for the 2016-17 school year. Hear how your state compares in take up of community eligibility and trends that are emerging in the third year of nationwide availability.


Cafeteria Chat Corner

Countdown to LAC: 12 Days!
Taking place on Sunday, April 2, at 11:00 am, the “Hot Topics in School Nutrition” session will help you learn more about the tools SNA provides its members. Join SNA Headquarters staff for rapid-paced, rotating roundtable discussions on the latest topics in school nutrition and the resources available to you from SNA! This is a great opportunity to learn about advocacy tools, professional development resources, state membership tools, and public relations tools that SNA has available for you.

Speaking of Hot Topics...
Talks and preparations for the 2018 Farm Bill are under way. This bill is made up of a series of multi-year laws that cover a variety of food and agriculture programs. Originally the bill revolved around commodity assistance, but over the years, newer versions have evolved to include nutrition assistance, conservation, bioenergy programs, and many other topics relating to food and agriculture. In SNA’s 2017 Position Paper, one of the asks involves including commodity support in the next Farm Bill for the School Breakfast Program. Read SNA’s 2017 Position Paper.

Sneak peek for next week: Where can you find useful child nutrition data, research and information?

LAC Then & Now:
The work and success of SNA and their relationship with USDA has gone hand in hand over the years. 1997 was a particularly special year for SNA and USDA because Past President Shirley Watkins was officially sworn in as undersecretary for Food, Nutrition and Consumer Service (FNCS) at the Department of Agriculture. Throughout the years, several members of SNA have held positions within the Department. At this year’s LAC, officials from USDA will provide an update on child nutrition program activities, research, USDA food and more during the Second General Session.

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