Governor Walz signs bill for free universal school meals

On Friday, Minnesota Governor Tim Walz signed a bill approving free, universal school meals.

“I know that providing free breakfast and lunch for our students is one of the best investments we can make to lower costs, support Minnesota’s working families, and care for our young learners and the future of our state,” said Gov. Walz. “This bill puts us one step closer to making Minnesota the best state for kids to grow up, and I am grateful to all of the legislators and advocates for making it happen.”

This comes as Minnesota State Senators approved the bill for free school meals on Tuesday. The Minnesota House passed the companion bill last month.

The bill’s author says that one in six children is learning on an empty stomach. The proposal applies to schools that participate in federal school lunch funding.

Advocates for the bill say free school meals for all would help students fight hunger.

Opponents of the bill are concerned about the cost of the program.

“Families are suffering, we do need to feed our children, but we have to do this in a reasonable, fiscally responsible way,” said Rep. Krista Knudsen, (R-Lake Shore).

Chapter 18, House File 5 uses state funds, after the application of all available federal funds, to provide free school breakfast and free school lunch to Minnesota students in all participating schools, regardless of their family income.