This bill is sponsored by Andres X. Vargas and Sean Garballey, Cynthia Stone Creem
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
Signed into law October 2021, schools in Massachusetts are now prohibited from certain meal debt collection practices that involves or penalizes the student.
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.
On October 6th, the House and Senate voted, again, on passage of the same bill. With these changes the bill was enacted and now head’s to the governor’s desk to be signed into law.
October 18, Governor Baker signed this bill into law! Read more:
10/18/21, WBUR, School lunch-shaming is now outlawed in Massachusetts
10/19/21, WHAV, Baker Signs Vargas Bill Into Law, Ending Pupil Shaming Over Lunch Money Debt
Read Project Bread’s testimony at a May 20, 2021 Joint Committee on Education hearing.
Download a fact sheet on an Act to Promote Student Nutrition.