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AB-2287 Free and reduced-price meals: gluten-free meals.(2013-2014)

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Amended  IN  Senate  August 20, 2014
Amended  IN  Senate  June 19, 2014
Amended  IN  Assembly  April 22, 2014
Amended  IN  Assembly  April 03, 2014

CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE— 2013–2014 REGULAR SESSION

Assembly Bill
No. 2287


Introduced by Assembly Member Pan
(Coauthor: Assembly Member Skinner)

February 21, 2014


An act to add Section 49557.25 to the Education Code, relating to school nutrition, and declaring the urgency thereof, to take effect immediately.


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


AB 2287, as amended, Pan. Free and reduced-price meals: gluten-free meals.

Existing

(1) Existing law provides for a school lunch program under which eligible pupils receive free or reduced-price meals.
This bill would require school districts and county superintendents of schools to consider incorporating into the free or reduced-price meals application packet or notification of eligibility for the free or reduced-price meals program a notification and request for a gluten-free meal if a child qualifies for free or reduced-price school meals and the child has a statement from a licensed physician supporting a need for gluten-free meals, as specified. The bill would require school districts and county superintendents of schools to consider making meal substitutions for any pupil a child who does not meet the definition of disability pursuant to federal law but does have celiac disease, a wheat allergy, or a gluten intolerance and the pupil child has provided a written statement to the school signed by a licensed physician identifying the pupil child as having one of these conditions. By imposing additional requirements on school districts and county superintendents of schools, the bill would create a state-mandated local program.

The

(2) The California Constitution requires the state to reimburse local agencies and school districts for certain costs mandated by the state. Statutory provisions establish procedures for making that reimbursement.
This bill would provide that, if the Commission on State Mandates determines that the bill contains costs mandated by the state, reimbursement for those costs shall be made pursuant to these statutory provisions.
(3) This bill would declare that it is to take effect immediately as an urgency statute.
Vote: MAJORITY2/3   Appropriation: NO   Fiscal Committee: YES   Local Program: YES  

The people of the State of California do enact as follows:


SECTION 1.

 The Legislature finds and declares all of the following:
(a) Celiac disease, also known as celiac sprue or gluten-sensitive enteropathy, is a permanent intolerance to the gliadin faction of wheat protein and related alcohol-soluble prolamines found in rye and barley, commonly known as gluten.
(b) For people with celiac disease, exposure to gluten causes an autoimmune condition where the body starts attacking normal intestinal tissue. In response to eating gluten, the body destroys the intestinal villi, which are the small, finger-like projections in the small intestine that absorb nutrients from food. Repeated exposure to gluten, and resulting intestinal inflammation and destruction of the villi, leads to malabsorption of food, iron deficiency anemia, ostopenia, osteoporosis, increased risk of developing other autoimmune disorders, and gastrointestinal cancers.
(c) Gluten intolerance and wheat allergies may include reactions in the skin, mouth, gastrointestinal tract, and lungs and cause rashes, wheezing, lip swelling, gassiness, abdominal pain, abdominal distention or constipation, and diarrhea.
(d) The National Institutes of Health estimates that 1 in 133 people with no genetic risk factors have celiac disease, while up to 1 in 22 people with genetic risk factors have celiac disease. Gluten intolerance and wheat allergy are even more common, with wheat allergy being one of the top eight food allergies in the United States.
(e) Federal regulations, Part 15b of Subtitle A of Title 7 of the Code of Federal Regulations, require substitutions or modifications in school meals for children whose disabilities restrict their diets. A child with a disability must be provided substitutions in foods when that need is supported by a statement signed by a licensed physician.

SEC. 2.

 Section 49557.25 is added to the Education Code, immediately following Section 49557.2, to read:

49557.25.
 (a) School districts and county superintendents of schools shall consider incorporating the following information into the free or reduced-price meals application packet or notification of eligibility for the free or reduced-price meals program using simple and culturally appropriate language:
(1) A notification that if a child qualifies for free or reduced-price school meals and the child has a statement from a licensed physician supporting a need for gluten-free meals, then the child may request a gluten-free meal.
(2) A request for the applicant’s consent for the child to receive a gluten-free meal if eligible for free or reduced-price school meals and the child has a statement from a licensed physician supporting a need for gluten-free meals.
(b) School districts and county superintendents of schools shall consider making meal substitutions for any pupil a child who satisfies all of the following criteria:
(1) Does not meet the definition of disability pursuant to federal law.
(2) Has celiac disease, a wheat allergy, or a gluten intolerance.
(3) Has provided a written statement to the school signed by a licensed physician identifying the pupil child as having one of the conditions listed in paragraph (2).
(c) Effective January 1, 2015, the notifications referenced in subdivision (a) shall comply with the federal Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (42 U.S.C. Sec. 12101 et seq.) and any other applicable federal or state disabled access law.
(d) A school district also may include the notifications detailed in subdivision (a) in the notifications at the beginning of the first semester or quarter of the regular school term required pursuant to Section 48980.

SEC. 3.

 If the Commission on State Mandates determines that this act contains costs mandated by the state, reimbursement to local agencies and school districts for those costs shall be made pursuant to Part 7 (commencing with Section 17500) of Division 4 of Title 2 of the Government Code.

SEC. 4.

 This act is an urgency statute necessary for the immediate preservation of the public peace, health, or safety within the meaning of Article IV of the Constitution and shall go into immediate effect. The facts constituting the necessity are:
In order to ensure that California public schools comply with federal regulations to provide gluten-free meal options for pupils with celiac disease at the earliest possible time, it is necessary that this act take effect immediately.