2005 Regular Session
By: Senator(s) Dawkins
AN ACT TO DIRECT THE STATE BOARD OF EDUCATION TO PROMULGATE RULES THAT DELINEATE A NUTRITION INTEGRITY POLICY FOR PUBLIC SCHOOLS; TO SPECIFY THAT COMPETITIVE FOODS SHALL NOT BE AVAILABLE IN ELEMENTARY OR MIDDLE SCHOOLS UNTIL ONE-HALF HOUR AFTER THE LAST LUNCH PERIOD OF EACH DAY; TO DIRECT THE STATE DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION TO MONITOR SCHOOL COMPLIANCE AND SUBMIT REPORTS TO THE LEGISLATURE; AND FOR RELATED PURPOSES.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI:
SECTION 1. (1) The Legislature hereby finds, determines and declares that:
(a) Child nutrition programs work as partners in the educational community to provide healthy meals to school children to improve student health and academic achievement;
(b) School districts have the opportunity to create a model environment for our children, whereby lifelong healthy eating habits, including eating patterns, are established and maintained;
(c) Decreased physical activity and the over consumption of high calorie foods has mainly contributed to an epidemic of overweight and obese young people and a sharp increase in the incidence of Type II diabetes; and
(d) The adoption and maintenance of healthy diets and proper portion control by school children can be expected to result in substantial savings in health care costs in future years.
(2) As a result, the Legislature hereby finds and declares that it is in the best interests of the state's youth and the state in general to raise the standards for school nutrition and to further restrict the availability of foods with low nutritional value in schools.
SECTION 2. (1) On or before February 1, 2006, the State Board of Education shall promulgate rules that delineate a nutrition integrity policy for public schools in the state. The rules shall be consistent with applicable federal law, but may set forth nutritional standards that are higher than the federal standards and may be more restrictive than the federal standards concerning the availability of competitive foods in a school.
(2) (a) The nutrition integrity policy described in subsection (1) of this section shall state, at a minimum, that, on and after July 1, 2006:
(i) Competitive foods shall not be available in elementary, middle or junior high schools during the period from 12:01 a.m. to one-half (1/2) hour after the last federally-reimbursed lunch period of each school day; and
(ii) School districts shall provide to the department a list of mealtimes designated by school site.
(b) The State Department of Education, through its regular audits of school districts, shall monitor compliance by a school with the nutrition integrity policy.
(3) On or before December 1, 2006, the State Department of Education shall submit a written report to the House and Senate Education Committees that summarizes the fiscal and nutritional impact of competitive foods sold in high schools in the state. The report may contain recommendations for changes in state law as a result of the department's findings.
(4) Upon request, the department shall provide model policy language to school districts that reflects current research supporting best practices that provide a positive influence on children's health and nutrition in the school environment.
(5) For purposes of this section, "competitive foods" means any food or beverage sold to students, on school property, that is separate and apart from the school district's nonprofit food service program, and that is made available to students by school-approved organizations or by school-approved outside vendors.
SECTION 3. (1) In addition to any other duty required to be performed by law, each local school board shall have and perform the following specific duties:
(a) To adopt, on or before July 1, 2006, a nutrition integrity policy consistent with the policy adopted by the State Board of Education pursuant to Section 2 of this act. The adoption of the policy shall involve, at a minimum, the participation of the school district food service personnel, administrators, principals, teachers and representatives of the school district accountability committee. The local school board shall determine what constitutes a school's noncompliance with the policy and shall impose reasonable penalties for the noncompliance. The local school board shall report all instances of noncompliance and the corresponding dates to the State Department of Education at the end of each fiscal year.
(b) The penalty provisions of paragraph (a) shall not apply to any school until after the expiration of any multiyear contract related to competitive foods that is entered into prior to the effective date of paragraph (a) and that is still in effect on July 1, 2006.
SECTION 4. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after July 1, 2005.