Bill to provide free meals to New Mexican children passes Senate
The Healthy Universal School Meals Act introduced by Senators Michael Padilla (D-Albuquerque) and Leo Jaramillo (D-Los Alamos) is now called the Healthy Hunger-Free Students Bill of Rights Actand would give free breakfast and lunch regardless of family income to every New Mexican child.
Padilla says Senate bill 4 was amended in committee to ensure the program would be accessible to every public school that’s a part of the current school lunch program.
But the appropriation dropped from $30 million to $20 million on request of the Senate Finance Committee. The program would start in July.
Senator Jaramillo came from a low-income community and qualified for free meals. As an educator he says he often sees hungry kids.
"This bill would ensure that they have a healthy nutritious breakfast and lunch, said Jaramillo. "And for many students at New Mexico, this might be the only meal they have for that day."
Republican Senator Pat Woods (R-Broadview) voted yes on the bill, but also recommended children be allowed to vote on the meals they like in order to cut down on food waste.
SB4 heads next to the House of Representatives.