Tuesday Morning - June 8, 2021

An Update on Federal and State Policy Issues from SNA

Table of Contents

COVID-19 Policy Updates

SNA Publishes an Analysis of USDA's Data on the Impact of the First Full Year of the Pandemic
FNS Publishes New State Guidance on COVID P-EBT

Federal Policy

SNA CNR Task Force Issues Recommendations
President Biden’s FY2022 Budget
TAKE ACTION: Support the Universal School Meals Program Act of 2021!
The Local School Foods Expansion Act
The SMART Act
Education Week Publishes Article on Universal School Meals

State Snapshots

Delaware Proposes Legislation Prohibiting Polystyrene Containers in Schools
Illinois Presents Legislation on School Meal Applications and Polystyrene Food Service Containers
Massachusetts Introduces Several Bills to Improve School Meal Programs
Nebraska Drafts Legislation to Create Interim Study on CEP and Direct Certification

Mark Your Calendars

Upcoming SNA Webinars
Congressional Management Foundation Webinars
Arkansas Department of Agriculture

Mystery Chat Corner

COVID-19 Policy Updates

SNA Publishes an Analysis of USDA's Data on the Impact of the First Full Year of the Pandemic

On June 1, SNA published an examination of the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Food and Nutrition Service's (FNS) latest data comparing the number of meals served and reimbursements in the year before the pandemic (March 2019 to February 2020) to the first full year of the pandemic (March 2020 – February 2021). SNA's analysis of the data shows school meal programs served nearly 30% fewer meals to students and incurred significant losses in federal revenue in the first twelve months of the pandemic. Read SNA's full web story for more information.


FNS Publishes New State Guidance on COVID P-EBT

On June 1, the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) published updated state guidance on Coronavirus Pandemic EBT (P-EBT). P-EBT provides eligible school children with temporary emergency nutrition benefits for purchasing food. This guidance includes Questions and Answers (Q&A) and a State Template Plan to assist State Agencies administering this program.

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covid19-image 

This school nutrition employee at Robert Adams Middle School in Holliston, Massachusetts, works to keep the breakfasts, lunches and snacks in the shade for parent/guardian pick up.

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Federal Policy

SNA CNR Task Force Issues Recommendations

SNA’s Child Nutrition Reauthorization (CNR) Task Force has finalized recommendations for the Association to share with Congress as they work to reauthorize the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 (HHFKA). In March, SNA convened a diverse group of school nutrition operators, State agency and industry members to examine every aspect of HHFKA, gather input, discuss concerns and identify potential solutions to ensure the continued success of school meal programs. The final Board-approved recommendations cover a broad range of topics, ranging from expanding access to school meals through universal meals and increasing reimbursement rates, to addressing meal pattern challenges and reducing the complexity of reporting requirements.

President Biden’s FY2022 Budget

On May 28, President Biden released his FY2022 budget request. The budget includes $27.9 billion for USDA, a nearly 17% increase from FY2021. The fact sheet states the budget will “provide critical nutrition assistance to families who need it most and expand access to healthy meals to the Nation’s students.”

TAKE ACTION: Support the Universal School Meals Program Act of 2021!

Senators Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), and Representatives Ilhan Omar (D-MN) and Gwen Moore (D-WI) introduced S. 1530, the Universal School Meals Program Act of 2021. SNA has endorsed this bill and is urging all members to send a letter to Congress in support of healthy school meals for all students! This Act would offer free breakfast, lunch, dinner and a snack to all school children regardless of income, eliminate school meal debt and strengthen local economies by incentivizing local food procurement. Ensure your Member of Congress hears from you; tell them to support the Universal School Meals Program Act – our students depend on YOU to speak up! Take Action Now!

The Local School Foods Expansion Act

In May, Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Representative Peter Welch (VT-AL) introduced S. 1633 or H.R. 3230, the Local School Foods Expansion Act. This legislation aims to improve child nutrition by expanding access to locally grown, unprocessed fruits and vegetables for school meal programs. Read Senator Wyden's full press release.

The SMART Act

Senators John Cornyn (R-TX) and Cory Booker (D-NJ introduced the bipartisan bill S.1577, the Summer Meals Alternative Relief and Transportation (SMART) Act. This bill would establish additional food delivery service options for low-income students who live in rural areas and receive meals through the USDA Summer Food Service Program (SFSP). Read Senator John Cornyn's full press release.

Education Week Publishes Article on Universal School Meals

On June 1, Education Week published the article, "The Pandemic Brought Universal Free School Meals. Will They Stay?" In this article, two of SNA's Public Policy & Legislation (PPL) Committee members, Shenae Rowe and Suzanne Morales, were interviewed on USDA's policies during the COVID-19 pandemic that helped to provide universal school meals to all students. "It gave them a little bit of normalcy that everyone wanted so badly," Shenae Rowe. Read the full article.

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State Snapshots

Delaware Proposes Legislation Prohibiting Polystyrene Containers in Schools

SB 140 prohibits public schools, including charter schools, from providing ready-to-eat food and beverages in expanded polystyrene containers.

Illinois Presents Legislation on School Meal Applications and Polystyrene Food Service Containers

  • SB 1973 prohibits using or distributing disposable polystyrene food service containers in public schools, state and local government facilities.
  • SB 2236 amends the School Breakfast and Lunch Program Act to direct Illinois' Board of Education to develop and distribute the applications for the School Breakfasts Program, School Lunch Program and the Summer Food Service Program.

Massachusetts Introduces Several Bills to Improve School Meal Programs

  • HB 2972 promotes healthy alternatives to sugary drinks and imposes an excise tax on sugary drinks in order to establish Massachusetts' Children's Health Promotion Fund. A portion of these funds will be directed to Massachusetts' Department of Elementary and Secondary Education to support and promote nutrition programs in schools serving low-income communities.
  • SB 349 directs Massachusetts' Department of Elementary and Secondary Education to establish the Massachusetts Farm to School Grant Program to provide funding to strengthen local food economies and improve student health and nutrition.
  • SB 1464 prohibits the marketing or advertising of sugary drinks in school buildings, athletic fields, facilities, signs, scoreboards, parking lots, school buses, equipment, vending machines, educational material or supplies.
  • SB 284 amends Massachusetts' standards for health education in public schools to include instruction on nutrition and wellness programs.
  • HB 4001 appropriates $4,916,445 to Massachusetts' Department of Elementary and Secondary Education to improve School Breakfast Programs and for grants to strengthen Summer Food Service Programs
  • HB 564 directs all public schools that participate in food service programs to provide an itemized list of nutrition data and make this information publicly available monthly.

Nebraska Drafts Legislation to Create Interim Study on CEP and Direct Certification

LR 180 creates an interim study to examine the identification of at-risk and economically disadvantaged students, specifically the impact of implementing the community eligibility provision and expansion of direct certification has had on current and future students.

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Mark Your Calendars

Upcoming SNA Webinars

Learn about hot topics in school nutrition and earn Continuing Education Units (CEUs) with SNA’s popular professional development webinars. If you missed a particular webinar, catch up with SNA’s on-demand webinars.

Get WILD with Global Flavors
Wednesday, September 29, 2021, 3:00 PM EST
Increasing meal participation is critical for all programs. One of the driving questions many operators have is how to keep their menus relevant to the new generations of students while embracing the diversity of their students. Thanks to the adventurous palates of today's parents, your students have been exposed to, and come to love, many more dishes with global flavors than previous generations. Join us for an exciting panel discussion where we will show you how you can easily incorporate international flavors in your menu while keeping your food costs down, utilizing USDA Foods and basic pantry staples you likely have on hand.

Congressional Management Foundation

Backstage Pass: Behind the Scenes of Congressional Decision-Making 
Wednesday, September 21, 2021, 3:00 PM EST 

Many Americans believe that lawmakers are unreachable–that they don't care about what constituents think and influencing legislative outcomes is impossible and a waste of time. Yet CMF research shows that Members of Congress strongly believe that constituents are a valuable and informative resource in the decision-making process. Your "backstage pass" will dispel myths about Congress and provide practical strategies on how decisions are really made and by whom.

Arkansas Department of Agriculture

The Basics of Farm to School and Early Childhood Education
Thursday, June 10, 2021, 12:00 PM CT
Are you someone who likes to provide hands-on, innovative learning opportunities for your students? Join the Arkansas Department of Agriculture's Farm to School Team to learn about farm to school and farm to early childhood education opportunities related to school gardens, education, and local procurement. The webinar will dig into Arkansas Farm to School's history and teach participants how to set farm-to-school goals. This is the beginning level course and is recommended to those who is new to the concept or are looking for a refresher.

Mystery Chat Corner

On June 8, 1789, which Founding Father formally introduced a proposed Bill of Rights to the U.S. House of Representatives?

A: James Madison

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servicecenter@schoolnutrition.org  

Tel (703) 824-3000
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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. 

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