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Tuesday Morning - September 30, 2008

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September 30, 2008

 

Table of Contents

Casey Introduces School Nutrition Funding Bill

Baca Introduces Legislation Raising Federal Poverty Line

Don’t Forget – Register to Vote!

School Lunch, It’s a Community Thing!

SNA Responds to School Lunch Challenge

Senate Committee Holds Hearing on Food Marketing to Children

State Legislative Update

Reaching Out to the Education Community

National Farm to School Conference Announces Call for Proposals

 

In Every Issue

Legislative Action Center

Legislative Toolkit

PR Toolkit

State Policy Index

State and Federal Legislation

PPL Committee

 

Casey Introduces School Nutrition Funding Bill

Senator CaseySenator Bob Casey (D-Penn.) introduced legislation late last week that would help the school nutrition programs address the rising cost of food.  If passed, the National Hunger Relief Act of 2008 (S. 3614) would provide for semi-annual reimbursement rate increases.  Instead of increasing the reimbursement rate annually, the reimbursement rate would be increased twice a year, during January and July.  By doing so, the reimbursement rate would more accurately reflect the cost of preparing a school meal, as food prices fluctuate throughout the school year. In addition to the school nutrition programs, the bill would also provide participants in the Food Stamp program with greater benefits. 

Currently, the legislation does not have any cosponsors.  SNA strongly encourages all members to contact their Senators, urging them to support this important legislation. Please visit the Legislative Action Center for an Action Alert you can send to your Congressional members.

Hunger Relief Bills Introduced in Senate and House

 

 

Baca Introduces Legislation Raising Federal Poverty Line

Representative Joe Baca (D-Calif.) also introduced legislation last week providing national hunger relief.  Late last week, Baca introduced legislation that would require the government to temporarily use the federal poverty line for Alaska for all states and the District of Columbia.  Alaska’s poverty line is 25 percent higher than the national poverty line.  The legislation, H.R. 7085 would require its use for 6 months.  By increasing the poverty line, this would allow more eligible Americans to participate in federal programs such as the school nutrition programs and food stamps.  The bill was referred to the House Committee on Agriculture, where it awaits further action.

SNA encourages all members to contact their members of Congress on this legislation, as well.  Please visit the Legislative Action Center for an Action Alert you can send to your Congressional representatives.

 

Don’t Forget – Register to Vote!

Election Day is November 4, 2008 – only 5 weeks away!  This year, Americans will go to the polls to elect a President, a third of the U.S. Senate, and every Member of Congress, not to mention those running in local and state elections.  With the reauthorization of the child nutrition programs being a major priority for the next Congress, this year’s election is more important than ever.  SNA’s website has an easy way to register to vote, no matter what state you live in.  While registration deadlines differ from state to state, in most states the deadline is early October.  Please visit the following website to register to vote.  You can also pass it along to family and friends that have yet to register.

Voter Registration Guide

 

School Lunch, It’s a Community Thing!

The school nutrition programs are an integral part of school districts nationwide.  Everyday, they provide healthy, nutritionally balanced meals that give students the energy to succeed in class.  While the school nutrition programs fill an important role in a student’s day, the average person does not know how the nutrition programs operate.  In order to debunk the myths and clear the misconceptions, the School Nutrition Association is sponsoring the first annual Educate Your Community Week November 17-21, 2008.

 SNA members in the Anoka-Hennepin School District in Minnesota and the Decatur County School District in Georgia have already made presentations to community organizations.  Both presentations were successes, explaining the role of the school nutrition programs to parents, teachers, school administrators and other community stakeholders.  To find out more about these presentations, click here.

For ideas and information about Educate Your Community Week, visit the Educate Your Community page.

 

SNA Responds to School Lunch Challenge

Last week, SNA sent a letter to the Boar’s Head Provision Company regarding an advertisement challenging the integrity of the school nutrition programs.  An advertisement airing on the company’s website shows a school lunch line with parents taking “unhealthy” food off of lunch trays, as well as parents staging a rally to improve the quality of school foods. The letter, from SNA President Dr. Katie Wilson, expresses anger and frustration at Boar’s Head for running the campaign on their website.  Last year, past President Mary Hill sent a letter to Boar’s Head, asking them to cease advertisements that criticize the school meal programs.  Boar’s Head’s president responded, agreeing to soften the campaign and change any mention of school lunch or cafeteria food.

Letter to Boar's Head Company 

Senate Committee Holds Hearing on Food Marketing to Children

On September 23, the Senate Appropriations Subcommittees on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies and Financial Services and General Government held a joint hearing entitled, “Watch What You Eat: Food Marketing to Kids.”  Labor-H Subcommittee Chairman Harkin (D-IA) presided over the hearing, and was joined by Financial Services Chairman Durbin (D-IL) and Ranking Member Brownback (R-KA). 

Chairman Harkin discussed the childhood obesity epidemic, placing primary responsibility on parents and individuals, but stating that governmental and corporate responsibility must also be discussed.  He highlighted the steps that some food and media companies have taken, but noted that these are the exception rather than the rule. 

School nutrition programs and local school wellness policies were mentioned during the course of the hearing. To access the testimony of the witnesses please see the below link.

 Watch What You Eat: Food Marketing to Kids

 

State Legislative Update

Two Oregon legislators are seeking $22 million in funding for locally produced school meals, according to an article in the Portland Statesman-Journal.  Under the proposed legislation, the state would reimburse an additional 15 cents per school breakfast and 17 cents per school lunch for local food purchases.  If passed, the legislation would provide additional funding to the school meals for 2 years.  Oregon passed legislation in 2007 creating a farm-to-school program coordinator, but did not include funding for food purchases.

In August, the California legislature passed a bill that would directly enroll all students eligible for Medi-Cal benefits (state health insurance benefits) into the National School Lunch Program and the School Breakfast Program.  If Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) signs the legislation, HB 2300 it would eliminate the required paperwork for families with children already participating in the Medi-Cal program.  This would remove a significant barrier for participation.  The bill was sent to the governor on September 19, 2008.  It is currently awaiting his signature.

 

Reaching Out to the Education Community

eycSchool nutrition programs play a critical role in the school community: providing students nutritious breakfasts and lunches in the cafeteria so they are ready to learn in the classroom. As part of the School Nutrition Association's recently approved three year public relations plan, SNA is reaching out to others in the school community to share the value and importance of school nutrition professionals to the learning process.  To see where SNA is reaching out, visit the following link.

Reaching Out to the Education Community

 

National Farm to School Conference Announces Call for Proposals

The National Farm to School Network is seeking proposals for workshops, short courses, and poster sessions for the 4th annual National Farm to Cafeteria Conference.  The conference will be held March 19-21, 2009 in Portland, Ore.  All proposals must be received by Friday, October 24, 2008.  For more information, visit Related Links.

Farm to School Conference Call for Presentations 

 

SNA Legislative Action Center

Legislative Toolkit

Educate Your Community

PR Toolkit

State Policy Index

PPL Committee 

State and Federal Legislation

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

State Legislation Instructions for steps to access state legislation through the service. Legislatures currently in session include:  California, Illinois, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and District of Columbia.

 


 
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