Tuesday Morning - December 18, 2018

An Update on Federal and State Policy Issues
from SNA

Table of Contents

Federal Policy

SNA Submitted Comment on Proposed Public Charge Rule
FNS Provides Update on Food Crediting for Child Nutrition Programs
2018 Farm Bill Passes House and Senate: Protects School Meals
SNA Announces 2019 Josephine Martin National Policy Fellow
USDA Unveils Team Nutrition Schools Website
USDA Publishes Final Rule on School Meal Flexibilities

State Snapshots

Get Ready: State Legislatures Start Meeting in January!  

Mark Your Calendars

2019 Legislative Action Conference
2019 National Child Nutrition Conference
SNA’s Upcoming Webinars  

Mystery Chat Corner

Federal Policy

SNA Submitted Comment on Proposed Public Charge Rule

Last week, SNA commented on a proposed rule changing the criteria the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) considers when establishing whether an immigrant is inadmissible on public charge grounds. Under the proposed change, DHS would consider participation in a number of federal programs, including the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), as evidence that an applicant for admission, extension of stay, change of status or adjustment of status is inadmissible under section 212(a)(4) of the Immigration and Nationality Act.

In its letter, SNA expressed its opposition to this proposed rule change, as well as the concern that it would result in children going hungry during the school day. Though benefits offered through the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) and the School Breakfast Program (SBP) are not included in the proposed rule, eligibility for these programs can be established through direct certification of families participating in SNAP. Fear and confusion resulting from the proposed rule could also deter families from submitting applications for free or reduced-price meals, and anecdotal reports from school nutrition professionals serving communities with large immigrant populations suggest that families are increasingly hesitant to apply for these critical benefits.

FNS Provides Update on Food Crediting for Child Nutrition Programs

In a new policy memo, the Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) detailed its progress updating the food crediting system for all Child Nutrition Programs (CNPs), including NSLP, SBP, Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) and Summer Food Service Program (SFSP).

FNS issued a Request for Information in December 2017, seeking public input about the food crediting system and specific foods of interest to stakeholders; respondents were asked for recommendations to make crediting more simple, fair and transparent. SNA responded to this request with a letter replying to the each of the agency’s questions.

Based on feedback received and its research into potential benefits, FNS will now allow shelf-stable, dried and semi-dried meat, poultry and seafood snacks to credit towards the meat component in a reimbursable meal or snack, as well as coconut, hominy, popcorn, surimi seafood and tempeh. The agency will also publish new guidance to allow crediting vegetables disguised as other food components or not provided in traditional forms, for example: noodles or pasta made from vegetables, including legumes.

2018 Farm Bill Passes House and Senate: Protects School Meals

The final 2018 Farm Bill passed both the U.S. Senate and House last week. The original bill, introduced in the House, would have eliminated Broad-Based Categorical Eligibility, removing school meal direct certification for an estimated 265,000 students. The original House bill also contained a manager’s amendment directing the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to revamp the nutrition standards for school lunches, breakfast and all food sold in schools under the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act (HHFKA). Both concerning provisions are stripped from the final bill. The President is expected to sign the Farm Bill this week.

SNA Announces 2019 Josephine Martin National Policy Fellow

Andrea Akerman, an SNA member and cafeteria manager at Lincoln Middle School in Rockford, Illinois, was named the 2019 Josephine Martin National Policy Fellow. Founded in honor of Dr. Josephine Martin, a pioneer in the field of school nutrition, the fellowship provides up to $3,000 to cover expenses for travel to SNA’s annual Legislative Action Conference (LAC) in Washington, D.C.

Ms. Akerman is a passionate advocate for school meals programs and wants to attend LAC to learn how to more effectively communicate with elected officials and to exchange ideas with school nutrition professionals from around the country. During the annual “Charge to the Hill,” she plans to speak with her Member of Congress about the importance of nutrition education, as well as Breakfast After the Bell.

USDA Unveils Team Nutrition Schools Website

The USDA invited schools participating in NSLP to visit the new Team Nutrition School website. The site provides members with access to free nutrition education resources, promotional items and networking opportunities. It even boasts new features, including simplified sign-in forms and a downloadable certificate of participation for each Team Nutrition School.

USDA Publishes Final Rule on School Meal Flexibilities

On Wednesday, USDA published its final rule on school meal flexibilities. The final rule maintains Target 1 sodium limits for school meals through SY 2023-24, with Target 2 sodium limits taking effect in SY 2024-25 and the Final Target eliminated. It also restores the mandate that at least half of grains offered with school meals be whole-grain-rich, allowing schools to occasionally serve a few refined grain options, as-needed, without having to apply for a waiver. In addition, the rule makes permanent the current option to offer flavored 1% milk.

Read SNA’s press release on the final rule.

State Snapshots

Get Ready: State Legislatures Start Meeting in January!

It’s almost January, which means lawmakers across the country are getting ready to head to their state capitals for new legislative sessions. Forty-six state legislatures will convene next month, and bills have been pre-filed in twenty-six states. Find out when your state starts its legislative year and begin planning your advocacy efforts!

Mark Your Calendars

2019 Legislative Action Conference

Keeping our promise to American’s children—it starts here at #LAC19! Join forces with hundreds of SNA members and other school nutrition advocates in Washington, D.C., to advocate for national policy efforts supporting school nutrition programs and meet directly with legislators. SNA’s 47th Legislative Action Conference (LAC) takes place February 24-26, 2019 at the Marriott Marquis.

2019 National Child Nutrition Conference

The National Child Nutrition Conference, scheduled for April 22-26, 2019 in Chicago, Ill., will feature the best educational training and networking opportunities for CACFP, Afterschool Meals and Summer Food Service teams. Join the child nutrition community for three days of education featuring over 175 presenters and 150 hours of workshops.

SNA’s Upcoming Webinars

SNA will be bringing you all new webinars beginning in January 2019, including two new CEP webinars, and one on financial management. You won’t want to miss the Best of #SNIC19 series beginning in February. Missed a particular webinar? Did you know that over 20,000 attendees took advantage of SNA‘s popular live and on-demand webinars? Be sure to take advantage of this member-only benefit.


Mystery Chat Corner

On December 18, 1892, Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker debuted at the Mariinsky Theatre in St. Petersburg.
Despite its opening night being poorly received by critics, the two-act ballet has since enjoyed enormous popularity. For some ballet companies, performances of The Nutcracker can account for 40% or more of their annual ticket sales.

Contact Us

2900 S. Quincy Street, Suite 700
Arlington, VA 22206
servicecenter@schoolnutrition.org  

Tel (703) 824-3000
Fax (703) 824-3015

> For The Media

Sign Up for Our Newsletters

Read the latest news and developments facing the school nutrition industry, as well as stay on top of important trends and resources.

 

> Read the Latest Newsletters

SNA State Associations

The School Nutrition Association has a presence in every state across the country. View links to many of the state associations to find out more about what SNA is doing nationwide. 

> Learn More