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Minnesota universal free meals bill advances through first House committee

The state is one of several currently looking at providing free meals for all students.
Students grabbing fruit in the cafeteria
Photo: Shutterstock

Minnesota’s House Education Policy Committee has advanced a universal free meals bill.

HF 5 would use state funding to cover the cost of school breakfast and lunch for all public school students, regardless of their family’s income.

The bill is now scheduled to be heard in the Education Finance Committee.

Minnesota is one of many states looking at providing universal free meals at school. Lawmakers in South Carolina and Missouri have introduced universal free meals bills this legislative session, and some states, such as Nevada, have used pandemic relief funds to temporarily offer free school meals to all.

California, Maine and Colorado have passed legislation to provide universal free meals to students in their states permanently.

Support for universal free meals at school is growing among lawmakers and school nutrition professionals. The School Nutrition Association made implementing universal free meals one of the main propositions of its 2023 Position Paper. Food leaders also came out in support for free school meals during the White House’s Conference on Hunger, Nutrition and Health in September.

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