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Adam Putnam's school lunch bill passes final legislative committee

Adam Putnam's proposal to transfer school food and nutrition programs to his agency is ready for the floor.

Senate Rules Committee members voted unanimously in favor of SB 1312, which moves the $810 million program from the purview of the Department of Education to Putnam's Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.

Putnam has said he can run the program more efficiently than education leaders who should be focused on education. Students will benefit from the agency's local farm connections, he says, which Putnam expects will mean more fruits and vegetables in cafeterias.

A few critics have said the transfer represents a conflict of interest, as Putnam's priority is agriculture, not children.

The Senate bill is sponsored by Sen. Gary Siplin, D-Orlando. The House version is sponsored by Rep. Seth McKeel, chairman of the House State Affairs Committee.