Three school meal bills that were recently released in the Assembly Education Committee were approved Feb. 24 by the full Assembly.

Hunger-Free Students’ Bill of Rights Act  A-1104  requires certain school meal information to be provided to students’ parents; establishes protocols for identifying eligible students for meal programs, and prohibits stigmatizing students with bills in arrears.

Meal Access  A-1630 clarifies that a school district is not required to restrict access to school meals if school meal bills are in arrears.

Free or Reduced Price Meals  A-1631 requires school districts to take certain actions to increase participation in free or reduced priced meal programs; prohibits shaming students with school meal bills in arrears; prohibits certain district actions in collecting unpaid school meal fees.

A fourth bill, School Meal Fund  A-1632, was amended on the floor of the Assembly during the voting session and has not yet been sent to the Senate. The bill requires school districts to establish a “School Meal Fund” to assist students with school meal bills in arrears.

NJSBA supported all the bills; however, concerns were expressed pertaining to the School Meal Fund. The Association requested that this bill not be mandatory. The sponsor explained that the reason for the mandate was that no district should ever refuse a donation for this purpose. The bills are now referred to the Senate Education Committee but have not been scheduled to be heard at this time.

Assembly Telecommunications Committee

The following bill was released in the Assembly Telecommunications Committee last week:

Discontinuance of Service Notification  A-1725  This bill would require certain telecommunications, cable television, and public utility service providers to notify a board of education, local government unit, or state agency of any pending service discontinuance due to an unpaid bill. Notification would be received in writing, by certified or registered mail, at least five business days prior to the discontinuance. NJSBA supports the bill, which now heads to the full Assembly for a vote.