FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 9, 2013
General Counsel & Press Secretary
AUSTIN — Today (Friday), Senator Eddie Lucio, Jr. (D-Brownsville) was appointed to the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) Foundation Hunger Partnership, a group of legislators and staff from across the country tasked with raising the visibility of, and highlighting innovative and lasting solutions to hunger in America.
"I am grateful for the appointment to NCSL's Hunger Partnership. I have committed myself to improving the lives of families and children, and have put particular attention on improving nutrition in Texas public schools. I firmly believe that no child should go through a school day or go to bed hungry," Senator Lucio said. "I appreciate Lt. Governor David Dewhurst for recommending me to the Partnership. I look forward to collaborating with my good friend and fellow Texan Senator Leticia Van de Putte in sharing our successes here in Texas with like-minded leaders from different states, and bringing innovative ideas back home."
NCSL is a bipartisan organization that provides state leaders research, technical assistance and opportunities for policymakers to exchange ideas on the most pressing state issues. As a member of the Hunger Partnership, Senator Lucio will attend NCSL's Legislative Summit, held this week in Atlanta, Georgia. According to NCSL, during the Partnership's business meeting Wednesday, members will review this year's accomplishments and discuss next steps to expand the role of state legislators and public-private partnerships in addressing hunger.
More information about the Hunger Partnership may be found at www.ncsl.org/hunger.
Eliminating huger in Texas has been the cornerstone of Senator Lucio's legislative priorities. Recent legislation includes Senate Bill 89, passed by Senator during the 82nd Legislative Session in 2011, which requires school districts with 50 percent or more students who qualify for free or reduced price meals to offer food service for at least 30 days during the summer break. The Senator followed up on this legislation during the 83rd Legislative Session this year by passing House Bill 749, which requires the Texas Department of Agriculture to work with the Texas Hunger Initiative at Baylor University and their affiliates to create a five-year plan to provide school children better access to summer meals.
This Session, the Senator also passed Senate Bill 376, which increases participation in the federal School Breakfast Program, obliging school districts to make available a free breakfast to each of their students if 80 percent or more of those students qualify for free or reduced-price meals. This bill will dramatically increase students' access to breakfast; nearly three million public school students in Texas qualify for free or reduced-price school meals and close to half of these students attend schools where at least 80 percent of their peers also qualify for free or reduced-price school meals. The legislation was featured in the New York Times.
"We've made tremendous progress toward eliminating childhood hunger in Texas, but more work still needs to be done. Before next Session, I intend to develop legislation to create 'universal feeding' programs in Texas public schools, ensuring that every child, regardless of income, is assured a nutritious meal," Senator Lucio said.
In addition to his NCSL appointment, Senator Lucio intends to maintain close relationships with hunger advocates across the Texas. In 2013, the Senator hosted a Hunger Roundtable Summit in Austin, attended by such groups as the Texas Food Bank Network, The Center for Public Policy Priorities, the Texas Hunger Initiative, and Texans Care for Children. The Summit was featured in the Texas Tribune.