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AB-479 School meals: plant-based food and milk options: California Climate-Friendly Food Program.(2019-2020)

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Date Published: 02/12/2019 09:00 PM
AB479:v99#DOCUMENT


CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE— 2019–2020 REGULAR SESSION

Assembly Bill No. 479


Introduced by Assembly Members Nazarian and Kalra
(Coauthors: Assembly Members Bloom, Levine, Blanca Rubio, and Voepel)

February 12, 2019


An act to add Article 11.9 (commencing with Section 49569) to Chapter 9 of Part 27 of Division 4 of Title 2 of the Education Code, relating to school meals.


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


AB 479, as introduced, Nazarian. School meals: plant-based food and milk options: California Climate-Friendly Food Program.
Existing law requires each school district or county superintendent of schools maintaining kindergarten or any of grades 1 to 12, inclusive, and, commencing with the 2019–20 school year, each charter school, to provide for each needy pupil one nutritionally adequate free or reduced-price meal during each schoolday. Existing law sets the reimbursement rates for free or reduced-price meals served to needy pupils at specified amounts.
This bill would establish within the State Department of Education the California Climate-Friendly Food Program to provide incentives for making healthy and low-carbon food and beverages available to public school pupils. The bill would authorize a local educational agency, as defined, to apply for funding, upon appropriation by the Legislature, for reimbursement for meals that include a plant-based food option, as defined, or a plant-based milk option, as defined, or both. The bill would require the department to determine the amount of these reimbursements. The bill would also require the department, upon appropriation by the Legislature, to provide grants, in an amount determined by the department, to local educational agencies for additional purposes relating to the program.
The bill would require the department, in consultation with the State Board of Education and the State Air Resources Board, to adopt regulations to implement the program, establish guidelines for the evaluation of the program, and to conduct outreach. The bill would require the State Air Resources Board to determine the average reduction in greenhouse gas emissions associated with replacing a typical food option reimbursable under the federal National School Lunch Program with a typical plant-based food option and to annually submit a report to the Legislature that documents the estimated greenhouse gas emissions reductions achieved by the program.
Vote: MAJORITY   Appropriation: NO   Fiscal Committee: YES   Local Program: NO  

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


SECTION 1.

 Article 11.9 (commencing with Section 49569) is added to Chapter 9 of Part 27 of Division 4 of Title 2 of the Education Code, to read:
Article  11.9. California Climate-Friendly Food Program

49569.
 (a) There is hereby established within the department the California Climate-Friendly Food Program to provide incentives for making healthy and low-carbon food and beverages available to public school pupils.
(b) The California Climate-Friendly Food Program is intended to encourage public schools to provide plant-based food options and plant-based milk options to pupils in order to increase access to meals that meet the dietary, cultural, philosophical, and religious needs of pupils and their families, to support California’s climate change mitigation goals, and to promote the consumption of healthy food by all schoolage children.
(c) In making procurement decisions pursuant to this article, local educational agencies are encouraged to give preference to the purchase of plant-based food options and plant-based milk options from California producers, when commercially available.

49569.1.
 (a) Upon appropriation by the Legislature in the annual Budget Act or another statute for purposes of this section, a local educational agency may apply for reimbursement, in an amount that the department shall determine, for meals that include a plant-based food option and for reimbursement, in an amount that the department shall determine, for meals that include a plant-based milk option. A single meal with both a plant-based food option and a plant-based milk option is eligible to receive reimbursement for both options, not to exceed the cost of the meal. The department shall pay the reimbursement amounts in quarterly installments. Reimbursement funds shall be deposited into the nonprofit food service account of the local educational agency. Reimbursement provided pursuant to this section shall be in addition to any other state or federal funding or reimbursement received.
(b) A local educational agency applying for the funds described in subdivision (a) shall provide documentation of the number of plant-based food options and plant-based milk options reimbursable under the federal National School Lunch Program that the local educational agency served in the baseline 2018–19 school year. A local educational agency that does not provide this documentation is not eligible for funding pursuant to this section.
(c) The funds described in subdivision (a) shall be available for meals that meet both of the following criteria:
(1) The plant-based food option or plant-based milk option represents an increase from the number of reimbursable plant-based food options or plant-based milk options served in the baseline 2018–19 school year, as demonstrated by the documentation required pursuant to subdivision (b).
(2) If a plant-based milk option is served, the plant-based milk option is associated with a lower level of greenhouse gas emissions than cow’s milk, as determined by the department in consultation with the State Air Resources Board.

49569.2.
 Upon appropriation by the Legislature in the annual Budget Act or another statute for purposes of this section, the department shall provide grants, in an amount that the department shall determine, to local educational agencies for both of the following:
(a) To contract with third parties for professional development training for schoolsite staff on serving, including preparing, marketing, procuring, menuing, and promoting, plant-based food options or plant-based milk options. These grantSubmit a report each year to the Legislature in compliance with Section 9795 of the Government Code that documents the estimated greenhouse gas emissions reductions achieved by the California Climate-Friendly Food Program.

49569.5.
 For purposes of this article, the following definitions apply:
(a) “Local educational agency” means a school district, county office of education, or charter school maintaining kindergarten or any of grades 1 to 12, inclusive, that participates in the federal National School Lunch Program.
(b) “Nonprofit food service account” has the same meaning as defined in Section 210.2 of Title 7 of the Code of Federal Regulations.
(c) “Plant-based food option” means a food that contains no animal products or byproducts, including meat, poultry, fish, dairy, or eggs, and that is recognized by the United States Department of Agriculture as a meat alternate for purposes of the federal National School Lunch Program.
(d) “Plant-based milk option” means a beverage that contains no animal products or byproducts, including dairy, and that is recognized by the United States Department of Agriculture as a nondairy fluid milk substitute for purposes of the federal National School Lunch Program.