State Sen. Nancy Skinner, D-Berkeley, announced on Thursday that due to the inclusion of federal and state funding that will help realize ‘Free School Meals for All” in both the Governor’s May Revise and the state Senate’s Build Back Boldly Budget plan, SB 364 will now be a two-year bill.
The funding put forward by both federal action and potentially included in California’s 2021-22 budget supports the goals of SB 364 and removes the necessity to take action on the bill this year.
“Free School Meals for All is based on a simple yet powerful premise: Our public schools are free for any child to attend, so every student should also have access to free and healthy meals made from locally grown food,” said Sen. Skinner, chair of the Senate Budget and Fiscal Review Committee.
“The widespread support for our Free School Meals for All initiative is truly inspiring, ranging from anti-hunger organizations, schools, and public health and environmental groups to ranchers and farmers. Now that the concept of universal school meals has been embraced, the intention is to fully implement Free School Meals for All within the budget.”
California is poised to become the first state in the nation to advance a universal meals program to all public school students, regardless of income, thereby eliminating the stigma surrounding free and reduced-price lunches.
The 2021-22 state budget will be completed by June 15. As a two-year bill, aspects of SB 364 not addressed in the state budget will be eligible for Senate action this coming January.
Sen. Skinner represents the 9th Senate District, is chair of the Senate Budget and Fiscal Review Committee, and is vice chair of the Legislative Women’s Caucus.