Readers, we have good news to share today!
The Washington State House of Representatives has once again given overwhelming, bipartisan support to a bill (HB 1508) that requires qualifying high needs high schools to offer breakfast after the bell programs to students following the commencement of the school day. The House twice acted on this legislation last year, but it unfortunately died in the Republican-controlled Senate.
The bill also does the following, as summarized by nonpartisan legislative staff:
- Directs the Joint Legislative Audit and Review Committee to conduct and complete an analysis of BAB programs by December 1, 2025.
- Authorizes the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction to coordinate with the Washington State Department of Agriculture to promote new and existing regional markets programs, including farm-to-school initiatives and small farm direct marketing assistance.
- Authorizes the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction to award grants to school districts to collaborate with community-based organizations, food banks, and farms or gardens for reducing high school dropout occurrences through farm engagement projects.
“When hungry kids are focused on where their next meal is coming from, they aren’t focused on learning,” said State Representative Stonier, the prime sponsor of HB 1508. “As a lifelong educator who works with public school students every day, it’s amazing to see how a snack and a piece of fruit can transform a child’s day.”
Now that the Senate has a Democratic majority, it will hopefully no longer be a graveyard of progress, and we’ll see this bill reach Governor Inslee’s desk soon.
The vote on final passage of HB 1508 was eighty-three to fifteen (with all the nays coming from the Republican caucus) and the roll call was as follows:
Student meals & nutrition
Yeas: 83; Nays: 15
Voting Yea: Representatives Appleton, Barkis, Bergquist, Blake, Caldier, Chandler, Chapman, Clibborn, Cody, Condotta, DeBolt, Doglio, Dolan, Eslick, Fey, Fitzgibbon, Frame, Goodman, Graves, Gregerson, Griffey, Haler, Hansen, Harmsworth, Harris, Hayes, Holy, Hudgins, Irwin, Jinkins, Johnson, Kagi, Kilduff, Kirby, Kloba, Kretz, Kristiansen, Lovick, Lytton, MacEwen, Macri, Manweller, Maycumber, McBride, McCabe, McDonald, Morris, Muri, Ormsby, Ortiz-Self, Orwall, Pellicciotti, Peterson, Pettigrew, Pollet, Reeves, Riccelli, Robinson, Rodne, Ryu, Santos, Sawyer, Sells, Senn, Slatter, Smith, Springer, Stambaugh, Stanford, Steele, Stokesbary, Stonier, Sullivan, Tarleton, Tharinger, Valdez, Van Werven, Volz, Walsh, Wilcox, Wylie, Young, and Chopp
Voting Nay: Representatives Buys, Dent, Dye, Hargrove, Jenkin, Klippert, Kraft, McCaslin, Nealey, Orcutt, Pike, Schmick, Shea, Taylor, and Vick
HB 1508 is expected to be referred to Early Learning & K-12 Education when it reaches the Senate. That committee is now chaired by Senator Lisa Wellman (D-41st District: Mercer Island, Bellevue, Newcastle, Renton).
NPI congratulates the House for once again passing this worthy legislation and we look forward to the day when it finally gets the vote it deserves in the Senate.