Yesterday was a busy day at the Colorado State Capitol for bills relating to food and nutrition. Here are some updates that we wanted to share:
State Bill to Improve Food Assistance Heads to Governor’s Desk
Only a few weeks ago the Joint Budget Committee introduced Senate Bill 16-190, bipartisan legislation to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of food assistance and other programs across Colorado. It advanced quickly through the Senate with unanimous support, and today, passed out of the House of Representatives with unanimous support!
Plus, if you didn’t read The Denver Post yesterday, check out the front-page story about SB 16-190.
Bill Aims to Support Well-being of Kids & Schools in Colorado
Hunger Free Colorado strongly advocated and supported the passage of the “Breakfast After the Bell Nutrition Program” in 2013, to ensure more Colorado kids have access to breakfast after the school day begins. We continue to celebrate the success in Colorado, especially how our state moved from 44th to 11th in the nation for school breakfast participation in the span of a few years.
But, for a program to be a sustaining success, it needs to work for all involved, including those tasked with preparing healthy food for our school children each day—the food & nutrition service teams for Colorado schools. Due to financial concerns about maintaining such a program, there was an attempt to roll-back the Breakfast After the Bell Nutrition Program last year. Rep. Dominick Moreno (D-Commerce City), who sponsored the original legislation, promised to work on and present a solution during the 2016 state legislation session.
House Bill 16-1463 is the best possible compromise that supports the well-being of kids and schools.
The bill proposes some flexibility for Colorado school districts and schools under Breakfast After the Bell, without harming Colorado kids. Public schools obliged to provide Breakfast After the Bell would continue to offer breakfast at no cost to students who qualify for free or reduced-price meals, but have the option to charge those who, in the past, have paid for breakfast—and in a way that does not distinguish the students.
Hunger Free Colorado supports this bill because we are confident that low-income students will still have adequate access to a nutritious breakfast after the school day begins; the fuel needed for their bodies and minds, so they’re prepared to learn. We also know that some Colorado school districts—and schools across the nation—are already using the modified breakfast service model with success, reporting high student participation rates and financial viability.
HB16-1463 was introduced this week and advanced from the House Education Committee on Wednesday, May 4, with bipartisan support (8-3 vote). It now heads to the House floor.