Child Nutrition Reauthorization Legislation

Introduced in the House June 10, 2010

On June 10, 2010, U.S. Representative George Miller (California), chairman of the House Education and Labor Committee, along with a bipartisan group of legislators, released the “Improving Nutrition for America’s Children Act of 2010.” This bill reauthorizes federal child nutrition programs and provides an additional $8 billion over the life of the bill in funding for them. These programs include the National School Breakfast Program, National School Lunch Program, the Child and Adult Care Food Program, and the Special Supplemental Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC).

The bill identifies four areas for improving the quality of the child nutrition programs: children’s access to nutritious meals, the quality of meals children eat both in and out of school and child care settings, school food safety guidelines, and  nutrition standards for all foods sold in schools.

Congressman Miller hopes to move the bill quickly. It has bipartisan support. A letter to House leaders in support of child nutrition reauthorization has the signatures of 220 House members. 

The Senate’s child nutrition reauthorization bill is S. 3307, “The Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010.” That bill passed out of the Senate Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry Committee on March 24 and awaits Senate floor action. The committee chair, Senator Lincoln (Arkansas), and ranking member, Senator Chambliss (Georgia), sent a bipartisan letter to Senate leaders signed by 53 senators urging that S. 3307 be brought to the floor as soon as possible. Apparently, the delay in Senate action is due to continuing discussions about the level of funding and offsets. 

Below is a list of several key provisions included in the bill:

Improving Access to Nutritious Meals

  • Increase the number of eligible children enrolled in the school meals programs by using Medicaid and SCHIP data to directly certify children who qualify for free and reduced lunch.
  • Require states to establish and execute a plan to increase rates of direct certification.
  • Provide competitive grants to school districts to start up or improve their school breakfast program.
  • Reduce administrative costs for sponsors of the Child and Adult Care Food Program.
  • Change the WIC program from using paper food vouchers to an electronic benefit program.

Enhancing the Quality of Meals

  • Increase the school lunch reimbursement rate by 6 cents per meal.
  • Increase funding for nutrition education in schools to support healthy eating and school wellnes
  • Promote stronger collaboration between child care programs and WIC program
  • Increase the availability of fresh produce in schools by providing additional funding for local farm-to-school networks and school gardens.

Implementing New Food Safety Guidelines

  • Ensure student safety by extending food safety requirements to all areas in which school food is stored, prepared, and served.
  • Ensure all food service employees have access to food safety training.

Prepared byJennifer Bailey and Bill Emerson, National Hunger Fellow, NCSL Human Services Committee

 For more information contact Lee Posey or Sheri Steisel or call NCSL’s Washington D.C. office (202) 624-5400.