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Bill To Expand School Breakfast Program Gets Second Chance

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USDA
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“It's taken a lot of work kind of behind the scenes to move it from where it was to where it is now,” said Representative Dan Johnson of Logan. 

On Monday, Johnson had a second chance to move his bill that would expand the school lunch program in Utah along to the Senate floor for a vote. 

 

The second committee hearing for his bill, H.B. 222, came after the bill failed its first committee hearing on Thursday. The bill, which would use federal funding to create the
Start Smart School Breakfast Program in the state and require all schools participating in the National School Lunch Program to provide breakfast unless they received a waiver, successfully passed out of committee on Monday. 

According to Johnson, the bill seemed to fail the first time because committee members were unfamiliar with how the funding worked and thought the WPU or weighted pupil unit could pay for the expansion rather than federal funds

“By not working in education they didn't understand that stuff that happens with the hot lunch program is in one account that flows from the federal government to the state government down to local districts. Then there's the stuff on the WPU side,” Johnson said. 

Jonathan said part of the reason for the scrutiny was the bill went to the Senate Economic Development and Workforce Services Committee rather than the Senate Education Committee. While he didn't say whether or not this was a deliberate effort to kill his bill, he did say he tried to have the bill reassigned without any luck. 

Now that the bill has passed out of the Senate committee, it will go to the Senate floor for a vote. If it passes there, it will head to the house for a final vote. Utah's legislative session ends at midnight on Thursday and all bills that are not passed will have to restart the legislative process before they can become law.