MN Gov. Walz signs ‘Universal School Meal’ bill into law

Tim Walz signs "Universal Free Meals" bill
Tim Walz signs "Universal Free Meals" bill(Gray TV)
Published: Mar. 17, 2023 at 6:27 PM CDT
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ST. PAUL, Minn. (GRAY) - “Today, this becomes the most important thing I’ve ever worked on,” said an emotional Minnesota Lieutenant Governor Peggy Flanagan as she and Governor Tim Walz signed HF5 into law.

The newly signed legislation guarantees all children across the state access to free school breakfasts and lunches. Walz touted the importance of the bill, one he believes will give each kid in Minnesota a chance to thrive,

“There are a lot of pieces to make sure that no one especially no child ever goes hungry in Minnesota, a land of bounty, a land of plenty, a land that feeds the world,” The Governor said.

For Flanagan, the bill hit close to home.

“Hi. My name is Peggy Flanagan,” she said, “And I was one in six of those Minnesota children who experienced hunger. I’m one of the children who grew up with a different colored lunch ticket because my family utilized free and reduced-price lunch.”

Flanagan explained the hardships her own mother endured to make sure she was fed at school, going on food stamps to keep her from going hungry.

“Even with that assistance, there were nights where I ate and my mom said she simply wasn’t hungry,” Flanagan said.

“This is not finding the petty to try and see if you can get a hit on Twitter or something. This is truly about doing what’s right for the future,” Walz said.

The bill sets aside $420 million to pay for the school meals in this biennium, but the universal meal policy is now a permanent part of the state’s education formula. It goes into effect in the upcoming school year.