Help is on the way for young Washingtonians who aren’t getting enough to eat before the start of their school day. 2ESHB 1508, which would direct high-needs schools to offer Breakfast After The Bell programs to students, has just sailed out of the Washington State Senate with overwhelming support.
The bill now returns to the House of Representatives, since changes were made to the bill since it passed the House a few weeks ago. If the House concurs in the changes, the bill will be dispatched to Governor Inslee’s desk.
“Nearly 300,000 kids in Washington state live in food–insecure homes and almost half of Washington’s 1.1 million public school students qualify for free and reduced price meals at school,” the House Democratic caucus noted in its press release celebrating passage of the legislation in the House of Representatives.
“Breakfast After The Bell offers nutritious meals to students without interrupting instructional time,” the release explains. “Breakfast programs for low-income children are reimbursed in part or full by the federal government, and currently have low utilization rates. Breakfast After The Bell is expected to increase participation in those existing programs. By moving breakfast after the bell, instead of before, students will receive a healthy meal without having to stand in line and miss instructional opportunities.”
Sponsored by Representative Monica Jurado Stonier (D‑49th District), Breakfast After The Bell is noble legislation that has repeatedly fallen victim to the Senate Republicans’ graveyard of progress over the last few years. Now that the Senate is under Democratic management, it has finally received a vote there.
And look how much support it got now that it has been freed from that graveyard of progress! This is the rather impressive roll call for 2ESHB 1508.
Student meals & nutrition
Senate vote on Final Passage as Amended by the Senate
Yeas: 43; Nays: 5; Excused: 1
Voting Yea: Senators Angel, Bailey, Baumgartner, Becker, Billig, Braun, Brown, Carlyle, Chase, Cleveland, Conway, Darneille, Dhingra, Fain, Fortunato, Frockt, Hasegawa, Hawkins, Hobbs, Hunt, Keiser, King, Kuderer, Liias, McCoy, Miloscia, Mullet, Nelson, O’Ban, Palumbo, Pedersen, Ranker, Rivers, Rolfes, Saldaña, Sheldon, Takko, Van De Wege, Wagoner, Warnick, Wellman, Wilson, Zeiger
Voting Nay: Senators Ericksen, Honeyford, Padden, Schoesler, Short
Excused: Senator Walsh
Sadly, the bill did not receive unanimous support. Five heartless Republican senators voted against providing meals to hungry kids, including Doug Ericksen, who is being challenged by Bellingham City Councilmember Pinky Vargas in the 42nd District. Top Senate Republican Mark Schoesler was also a nay, along with Mike Padden, one of the most extreme members of the Senate Republican caucus.
But at least most of the Republicans voted aye, making this bill a big bipartisan success. We look forward to seeing it leave the Legislature and go to Governor Inslee so it can be added to the Revised Code of Washington. Progress!