Tuesday Morning - April 5, 2022

1 big thing. New call to action: Support Senate waiver bill

HR6613

What’s new: TAKE ACTION! U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Chairwoman of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry, and Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) along with 50 of their colleagues introduced S.3979 the Support Kids Not Red Tape Act to extend pandemic child nutrition waivers through September 2023.

Why it matters: Now that waiver extension bills have been introduced in both chambers of Congress, SNA is urging all members to contact their legislators again to urge prompt action to provide USDA waiver authority. TAKE ACTION today and send a new letter to your legislators through SNA’s Action Network!

Big picture: Last month, U.S. Representative Abigail Spanberger (D-VA) introduced a similar bill, H.R. 6613, The Keeping School Meals Flexible Act. SNA advocates sent Congress more than 160,000 letters in support of this House bill to allow for waiver extensions through next school year.

The Support Kids Not Red Tape Act:

  • Extends USDA’s waiver authority through September 30, 2023.

  • Directs States to submit a transition plan to USDA so that schools will be prepared and supported when transitioning back to normal National School Lunch Program operations after the waivers end.

  • Directs the Secretary to provide technical assistance to states on drafting transition plans and to School Food Authorities on meeting meal standards during the waiver period.

  • Prevents schools from being penalized for not meeting meal pattern requirements during the waiver period if the violations are due to supply chain disruptions.

The bottom line: TAKE ACTION ! In a press release on the new bill, SNA President Beth Wallace expressed the Association’s strong support for the bill. “This legislation is absolutely critical to sustaining school meal programs, ensuring children have access to nutritious school meals and preventing substantial financial losses for schools nationwide.”

2. President Biden releases FY2023 budget request

White House

What’s new: On March 28, President Biden released his FY2023 budget request. The budget includes $28.5 billion in discretionary funding for USDA, a $4.8 billion increase from FY2022. Of that amount, $15 million is set aside for the National School Lunch Program, $6 million for the School Breakfast Program. $21 million is made available to carry out studies and evaluations of child nutrition programs and $35 million for school nutrition equipment grants.

Go deeper: The President’s budget kicks off the FY2023 appropriations process and serves as a blueprint for Congress as they work to pass budget resolutions based on the President’s proposal. (See more details on the process here.)

What they’re saying: In the White House fact sheet the Administration states, “The President is committed to working with Congress to sign legislation that lowers costs for American families…” including “…nutritious food at school and resources to purchase food over the summer months…”

3. Protecting School Milk Choices Act of 2022

Milk

What’s new: U.S. Representative Elise Stefanik (R-NY) introduced H.R. 7070, the Protecting School Milk Choices Act.

  • The bill would require that any school participating in the National School Lunch Program offer both flavored and unflavored milk options. It was referred to the House Committee on Education and Labor.

Go deeper: You can download a complete list of school nutrition bills introduced by the 117th Congress and SNA’s endorsement status on the SNA Action Network.

4. SNA comments on APEC IV

What’s new: SNA has submitted comments in response to USDA’s comment request on the information collection related to the Access, Participation, Eligibility and Certification (APEC) IV Study.

Go deeper: SNA indicated this study has been conducted several times, and the results have never fully reflected the breadth of the operational and administrative burdens to operate a school meal program in the educational setting and provide constructive recommendations. Currently, school nutrition programs have been operating with significant challenges that have made the program balance change in many ways.

Bottom line: While SNA recognizes the value of studies, conducting a study of this nature at this time would be a burden to the school administrations and operations.

5. Updates from USDA Team Nutrition

Grab & Go

🆕Here’s the latest from USDA Team Nutrition.

  • The Food Buying Guide for Child Nutrition Program
    USDA Team Nutrition announced new features and recent updates to the Food Buying Guide (FBG) Web Tool and Mobile App. Interactive demonstrations of the Food Buying Guide's digital tools can be viewed in two webinars in English and with Spanish captions at https://www.fns.usda.gov/tn/food-buying-guide-training-resources.

  • Grab & Go Recipes
    The Culinary Institute of Child Nutrition, in partnership with Team Nutrition, has launched a new series of Grab & Go Recipes for Child Nutrition Programs! All 20 recipes are scaled to 50 and 100 servings, include meal pattern crediting, and are available to download from the Culinary Institute of Child Nutrition website at https://theicn.org/cicn/grab-and-go-recipes/.

  • Child Nutrition Sharing Site: Call for New Resources
    The Institute of Child Nutrition (ICN) is looking for new resources to share with CN program operators through the Child Nutrition Sharing Site (CNSS). The CNSS allows State agencies, allied organizations, local program operators and industry partners to submit their free child nutrition program resources and training materials for inclusion on the CNSS using an online form. ICN is accepting resources on topics such as menu planning, sodium reduction in school meals, alternative meal service models and navigating supply chain challenges.

 



6. State legislative update

Map of US

🔎Let’s look at the latest state updates…

Colorado State Representative Leslie Herod has introduced legislation to amend the current statute regarding administrative fees for commodities. Under Colorado law, the department of human services may charge a monthly administrative fee to an agency that receives commodities through a food distribution program. This bill allows the state department to collect an administrative fee at least once every calendar year or when an agency's account balance reaches $100 or more. This bill has passed the House without amendments.

Kentucky State Representative Tina Bojanowski introduced House Floor Amendment 5 to HB 9. This measure would require public charter schools to provide food programs to free and reduced-price qualifying students similar to the National School Lunch Program.

New Jersey State Senator Bob Smith has introduced a resolution urging schools to implement share tables to reduce food waste and help alleviate food insecurity. This measure has been referred to the Senate Environment and Energy Committee.

 

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