W. Va. free school lunch, breakfast bill passes

After heated debate, bill that would provide free meals to all students.

April 15—The West Virgnia House of Delegates has passed a bill that would make free breakfasts and lunches available to every student in public schools, pre-kindergarten through the 12th-grade. West Virginia would become the first state in the nation to enact such a program.

There was a heated debate surrounding the bill in the state house. Some Republican lawmakers said the free-meals-in-schools program would send a bad message to kids about personal responsibility, while Democrats argued there's a moral imperative to feed hungry students.

After an hour-long debate, House members passed the bill (SB633) by an 89-9 vote. The House made minor changes to the Senate bill, which senators unanimously approved March 30. The Senate is expected to agree to the changes, and Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin has said he will sign the legislation.