House Takes Next and Final Step Forward
“Thank you to Speaker of the House Bob DeLeo, House Chair of the Education Committee Alice Peisch and House Bill Sponsors Representatives Aaron Vega and Andy Vargas. On behalf of the thousands of children who are currently food insecure and need consistent access to school breakfast, Thank you.” – Rise and Shine Massachusetts
State House News, July 27, 2020, 4:14 p.m.: House Revisits School Breakfast Bill
Hours after agreeing with the Senate on a bill aimed at increasing student access to in-school breakfasts, the House reversed course on a compromise and jumped back into the negotiating process.
The House concurred with a Senate amendment to a so-called “breakfast after the bell” bill (S 2473) on Monday morning, effectively agreeing to the other chamber’s version and teeing up the bill to reach Gov. Charlie Baker after months of inactivity.
However, later during Monday’s session, the House revisited the bill, revoked its earlier vote with unanimous consent, and instead offered another amendment to the bill.
Under the legislation, schools where at least 60 percent of students qualify for free or reduced-price meals would be required to offer breakfast after the start of the academic day.
The new House proposal sent back to the Senate would delay some of the deadlines in the original bill, which cleared the House in November 2019 and the Senate in January.
It would also allow a school to be exempt for one year if it can prove that, in the previous year, it successfully provided breakfast with a participation rate of at least 80 percent or if it demonstrates “an extreme hardship to implementation.”
– Chris Lisinski/SHNS
State House News – July 27, 2020, 12:06 p.m.: School Breakfast Bill Resurfaces With Branches In Agreement
Legislation aimed at increasing student access to in-school breakfasts is on the move again after six months of inactivity on Beacon Hill. On Monday, the House agreed to a Senate version of a bill that would require Massachusetts schools providing breakfast to offer the meal after the start of the school day, effectively teeing up the proposal to hit Gov. Charlie Baker’s desk once the branches take final procedural votes. Both the House and Senate had approved the bill (H 4218 / S 2473) earlier this session. The House left the Senate’s version untouched after it passed on Jan. 16, but on Monday, it concurred with the Senate amendment. Lawmakers returned to the topic as they kicked off a frantic sprint to wrap up procrastinated or protracted efforts to finalize legislation before the end of formal lawmaking sessions on Friday. Supporters of the bill — sometimes referred to as the “Breakfast after the Bell” bill — say that it could give another 150,000 students access to a meal to start every school day. Many students struggle to get to school early enough for breakfast, they argue, or face stigma for doing so. Schools where at least 60 percent of students qualify for free or reduced-price lunches would need to comply with the provisions of the bill.
– Chris Lisinski/SHNS