Policy Priorities

End Student Meal Debt

H. 715 / S.298

An Act to Promote Student Nutrition

This bill is sponsored by Andres X. Vargas and Sean Garballey, Cynthia Stone Creem

About the bill

This bill addresses both the root causes of unpaid meal debt as well as the impact unpaid meal debt has on students. This bill:

1. Encourages schools to adopt universal school meals through the Community Eligibility Provision or another federal option.

2. Requires schools to inform families of an accruing meal debt. After notifying families there will be a 30-day perioid to take steps to address the need, such as providing information on applying for free school meals.

3. Prohibits schools from certain meal debt collection practices that involves or penalizes the student

This legislation was passed

Signed into law October 2021, schools in Massachusetts are now prohibited from certain meal debt collection practices that involves or penalizes the student.

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October 2021 Update

September 2021 Update

  • On July 29th, the House of Representatives passed H.3999, their revised version of An Act to Promote Student Nutrition. Read Project Bread’s statement here.
  • On September 23rd, the Senate passed S.2532, its own version now titled An Act Promoting Student Nutrition. Read Project Bread’s statement here.
  • Both the House and Senate versions are very similar to one another, so we’re optimistic an agreed upon version will be passed and sent to the governor’s desk by Thanksgiving.

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