capitol reports

2023 Capitol Report – January 24

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Paying for school lunches may be a thing of the past for students at New Mexico public schools.

Jason Espinoza reports from the Roundhouse:

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As part of the Governor’s plan to address chronic poverty and hunger in New Mexico, all New Mexico public school students may soon be eligible to receive free school meals.

During the State of the State address on the opening day of the legislative session, Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham noted that too many kids are forced to learn on an empty stomach and called for healthy, universal and free meals for every student in New Mexico. Additionally, she recommended a $20 million investment in school kitchens so that they are able to offer fresh and nutritious foods they need to thrive.

Senate Bill 4, co-sponsored by Senator Michael Padilla and Senator Leo Jaramillo, seeks to enact the Healthy Universal School Meals Act, ensuring free, healthy school meals for all New Mexico students.

The legislation also incentivizes the use of New Mexico -grown, -raised, or -processed products by providing grants to for that purpose.

The proposal appropriates $30 million from the general fund to the Department of Finance and Administration in collaboration with the Public Education Department for expenditure in 2023 and beyond to support the implementation of the Healthy Universal School Meals Act.

The bill is expected to receive its hearing in the Senate Education Committee this week. If passed by the committee it will move onto the Senate Finance Committee for consideration.

For the New Mexico News Network, I’m Jason Espinoza

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