skip to main content

Friday, June 2, 2023

play newscast audioPlay

WI working family advocates shine a spotlight on Reps' voting records; a new report says that Phoenix area can't meet groundwater demands; Nevada sporting community sends top 10 priorities to Gov. Lombardo's desk.

play newscast audioPlay

The Senate aims to get the debt limit spending bill to President Biden's desk quickly, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis makes a campaign stop in Iowa, and a new survey finds most straight adults support LGBTQ+ rights.

play newscast audioPlay

Oregon may expand food stamp eligibility to some undocumented households, rural areas have a new method of accessing money for roads and bridges, and Tennessee's new online tool helps keep track of cemetery locations.

Expanding School Meal Access Gets Close Look in ND

play audio
Play

Monday, February 20, 2023   

Nearly 50,000 North Dakota children were served by hunger-relief groups last year. Their advocates hope that compels lawmakers to make sure all students have access to meals at school.

The Legislature is considering bills that would expand eligibility for free meals, while also keeping schools from denying a lunch over unpaid debts.

Heather Gades is the 2023 Miss Bonanzaville and a former North Dakota student, who was told she couldn't participate in her school's graduation unless her family paid off a $700 lunch debt.

While they resolved the situation, Gades said she tells her story so that other students won't have the same experience.

"We should not be threatening students with having one of the biggest accomplishments taken away from them," said Gades, "because of socioeconomic status and things outside their control."

One bill would end that type of practice. A separate measure would have provided $89 million to offer free lunches to all students, regardless of income.

But cost concerns pushed Republicans to reduce the extra aid to $6 million. Hunger-fighting groups want lawmakers to reconsider, arguing that full access ensures each child has the opportunity to learn without hunger distractions.

Fargo School Board member Robin Nelson said the extra aid is still welcome, noting it means an extra 10,000 students would be eligible for no-cost meals.

But she said a full expansion would help in a variety of ways that go beyond improved learning. She described it as a long-term investment in making the state competitive.

"If we had universal lunch, not only would that be good for the kids, it would be good for families," said Nelson. "And quite frankly, I think it would attract a lot of young families to our state, or keep them here."

Supporters say such a move would also reduce administrative burdens for school districts. The extra aid would be tacked onto the federal subsidies districts receive to offer free and reduced-price meals.

Groups, including the North Dakota AFL-CIO, have testified in support of these measures, both of which have cleared the House and now move to the Senate.



Disclosure: North Dakota AFL-CIO contributes to our fund for reporting on Livable Wages/Working Families. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.


get more stories like this via email
A new park, San Vicente Redwoods, opened up late last year near Santa Cruz, Calif., in an area previously ravaged by fire and logging. (Nadia Hamey)

Environment

play sound

This Saturday, June 3, thousands of Californians will be among hundreds of thousands of Americans heading into the great outdoors to celebrate …


Social Issues

play sound

A coalition of Wisconsin groups is asking Gov. Tony Evers to reject bills it contends would make it harder for people struggling to get by to bounce …

Social Issues

play sound

Two months from today, Minnesota will begin the process of removing low-level marijuana convictions for those who have them on their criminal records…


Alabama is one of only three states still applying its full state sales tax on the purchase of groceries and food items. (Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

play sound

Groups working to fight poverty in Alabama are urging state senators to approve a bill aimed at lowering food costs for families. House Bill 479 …

Social Issues

play sound

Navigating college can seem overwhelming for first generation students, but an early outreach program at Arizona State University aims to change it…

Nebraska was one of 10 states to further restrict abortion access in the 2023 legislative session. At least 48 bills were passed involving restrictions for LGBTQ+ individuals. (Yurii Kibalnik/Adobe Stock)

Health and Wellness

play sound

A new Nebraska law is now the subject of a lawsuit filed in the District Court of Lancaster County. In its amended form, Legislative Bill 574 …

Social Issues

play sound

A proposal from the federal government could provide a better path toward student loan debt repayment, but a new survey finds many borrowers don't …

Environment

play sound

Maine lawmakers are considering two pieces of legislation which supporters said are needed to ensure "responsible" development of offshore wind projec…

 

Phone: 303.448.9105 Toll Free: 888.891.9416 Fax: 208.247.1830 Your trusted member- and audience-supported news source since 1996 Copyright 2021