Assemblymember Rob Bonta and Jeff Bridges
are teaming up to help California school children.

ASSEMBLY | 18TH DISTRICT | If legislation seeks to improve the nutrition of California’s school children, “The Dude abides.”

A bill authored by East Bay Assemblymembers Rob Bonta and Tony Thurmond hopes to provide school children greater access to breakfast before the beginning of the school day by using available state and federal grants.

The issue also attracted the attention of actor Jeff Bridges, who has advocated in the past against childhood hunger and a similar bill in the Arkansas Legislature.

On Monday, Bridges, who starred in “The Big Lebowski” and “Tron,” among other films, co-authored an op-ed with Bonta in support of the bill.

“Students can’t focus if they’re hungry,” they wrote. “When students can’t focus, they struggle to learn, are less productive and are more likely to be tardy or absent. It’s all part of a harmful cycle that can be prevented with practical changes at a minimal cost.”

The bill, dubbed, “Breakfast Before the Bell,” seeks to require K-12 school who do not currently provide breakfast for students, begin to do so. And because school district’s typically offer breakfast an hour before instruction begins, many students are not able to receive its benefits, said the op-ed.

Instead, the bill would allow breakfast time to leak into the beginning of class instruction. However, it also stresses no intent by the legislation to cut into class instruction time.

Assembly Bill 1240 passed the lower house’s Education Committee, 6-0, on April 22 and moved to the Assembly Appropriations Committee last week.