Legislators in Virginia and Washington state have introduced bills that aim to provide universal free meals to students.
The Washington Healthy Hunger Free Kids Act would offer all 1.1 million students in the state free breakfast and lunch at school.
Meanwhile, in Virginia, HB 1967 would require schools to provide free breakfast and lunch to all students unless they receive written instruction from a student’s parent or guardian to not offer the meals. The bill was referred to the House Committee on Education
Washington and Virginia are the latest states to introduce legislation regarding universal free meals. Minnesota, South Carolina, Nebraska and Missouri currently have active universal free meals bills.
At the same time, support of universal free meals continues to grow. Lawmakers and anti-hunger advocates in New York recently met at the state Capitol to call on Governor Kathy Hochul to include funding for universal free meals in the upcoming state budget. The School Nutrition Association also called on Congress to offer universal free meals nationwide in its 2023 Position Paper.