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SB-364 Pupil meals: End Child Hunger Act of 2021.(2021-2022)

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Date Published: 02/10/2021 09:00 PM
SB364:v99#DOCUMENT


CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE— 2021–2022 REGULAR SESSION

Senate Bill
No. 364


Introduced by Senator Skinner
(Principal coauthors: Senators Eggman, Hertzberg, Laird, Limón, and McGuire)
(Principal coauthor: Assembly Member Berman)
(Coauthors: Senators Hueso, Newman, Wieckowski, and Wiener)
(Coauthors: Assembly Members Carrillo, Chiu, Cooley, Cooper, Cristina Garcia, Eduardo Garcia, Levine, Nazarian, Quirk-Silva, Reyes, Robert Rivas, Rodriguez, Santiago, Stone, and Villapudua)

February 10, 2021


An act relating to pupil meals.


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


SB 364, as introduced, Skinner. Pupil meals: End Child Hunger Act of 2021.
Existing law requires a school district, county superintendent of schools, or charter school maintaining kindergarten or any of grades 1 to 12, inclusive, to provide a needy pupil with one nutritionally adequate free or reduced-price meal during each schoolday, and authorizes a school district or county office of education to use funds available from any federal program, including the federal School Breakfast Program, to comply with that requirement. Existing law establishes the Breakfast After the Bell Program, administered by the State Department of Education, for the purpose of awarding grants to school districts, charter schools, and county offices of education for schoolsite breakfast after the bell programs that provide breakfast to pupils after the schoolday has begun.
This bill would express the intent of the Legislature to later enact legislation that would (1) establish the California Universal School Meal Program that will allow free breakfast and lunches to continue to be available to all children beyond the COVID-19 public health crisis and (2) establish the Better Out of School Time (BOOST) Nutrition Program to prevent child hunger during regularly scheduled school breaks lasting a week or longer, or a campus closure caused by a natural or public health disaster or state of emergency declared by the Governor.
Vote: MAJORITY   Appropriation: NO   Fiscal Committee: NO   Local Program: NO  

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


SECTION 1.

 (a) This act shall be known, and may be cited, as the End Child Hunger Act of 2021.
(b) The Legislature finds and declares all of the following:
(1) No child in California should experience hunger.
(2) While child hunger rates were on the decline in California in recent years, the COVID-19 public health crisis and related economic recession has increased childhood hunger to historic rates.
(3) Data from the United States Census Bureau’s Household Pulse Survey shows that by June 2020, food insecurity in California rose 2.4 times the prepandemic levels, to 21.8 percent. These rates of hunger are higher for Black and Latino families and female-headed households with children.
(4) Free and reduced-price meals are a lifeline for schoolchildren under normal conditions and grab-and-go meal programs have served schoolchildren and their siblings throughout the pandemic, but too many children are locked out of the program due to burdensome application processes that add red tape for program administrators, and when school campuses are closed due to regularly scheduled school breaks or disaster, children are unable to secure these meals.
(5) During the COVID-19 pandemic, the United States Department of Agriculture eased program restrictions to allow free meals to continue to be available to all children universally, and these flexibilities will remain in effect throughout the entire 2020–21 school year.
(6) The Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer Program established by the federal Families First Coronavirus Response Act (Public Law 116-127) served over 3,700,000 children with a total of one billion four hundred million dollars ($1,400,000,000) in federal food benefits to replace lost school meals during the spring and federal funds have been reauthorized to extend until September 2021.
(7) Now that there exist strategies to prevent hunger for all schoolchildren during the schoolday and a proven method of school meal replacement during a prolonged period of school closure, it is imperative that we embrace these strategies toward the goal of ending child hunger once and for all.
(c) It is the intent of the Legislature to later enact legislation that would establish the California Universal School Meal Program that will allow free breakfast and lunches to continue to be available to all children beyond the COVID-19 public health crisis.
(d) It is the intent of the Legislature to later enact legislation that would establish the Better Out of School Time (BOOST) Nutrition Program to prevent child hunger during regularly scheduled school breaks lasting a week or longer, or a campus closure caused by a natural or public health disaster or state of emergency declared by the Governor.