House Votes to Eliminate Lunch Copays

[AUDIO] The state House has OK’d legislation to wipe out the copay on school lunches for low-income students. Dan Frizzell from the House Democratic Caucus has more.

On a lopsided 95 to one vote, lawmakers in virtual Olympia gave House approval to legislation eliminating the 40 cent copay on reduced price school lunches in Washington. It’s a move that could put hot food in hundreds of thousands of students’ stomachs at schools throughout the state. Almost half the students in the state were enrolled in the subsidized meal program before the COVID-19 pandemic, when the state opted to temporarily make all lunches free. That exemption ends in a few months, and under current law the copays would be reinstated at that time. The bill’s sponsor, Rep. April Berg, is a Democrat from Mill Creek serving her first term in the Legislature.

BERG: “Hungry kids can’t learn, and there are far too many hungry kids in our public schools today. One in four children are living in a food-insecure household. This bill allows us to continue feeding hungry students in every school district across our state.”

A previous Legislature had removed the copay for first through third grade students. If it becomes law, Berg’s bill will eliminate the two dollar a week tab for grades four through 12. The fate of the bill now rests with the Senate. Reporting from Olympia, Dan Frizzell.

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