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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Adam Putnam's school-lunch takeover makes gains in House and Senate



Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam's most high-profile legislative priority continues to reap a lot of love from the Legislature.

On Wednesday, two more committees agreed his agency should have control over school lunch and breakfast programs currently managed by the Department of Education. The House Education and Senate Budget Subcomittee on General Government Appropriations voted unanimously to move SB 1312/PCB SAC 1101 along. Read more about the bill here and here.

Putnam says the move will give schools greater access to local produce by using the department's farm connections, which will improve child nutrition.

Critics, namely Roberto Martinez of the Board of Education, say transferring school lunches poses a conflict of interest. DOE's priority is children, while Putnam's agency is all about agriculture.

Still, Putnam has wide-ranging support from groups such as the United Way of Florida, Palm Beach County Community Food Alliance, the American Heart Association's advocacy director, and Hillsborough County superintendent MaryEllen Elia.

[Last modified: Wednesday, April 13, 2011 6:21pm]


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