Washington State

House of Representatives

Office of Program Research



Appropriations Committee

HB 2964

This analysis was prepared by non-partisan legislative staff for the use of legislative members in their deliberations. This analysis is not a part of the legislation nor does it constitute a statement of legislative intent.

Brief Description: Eliminating lunch copays for students who qualify for reduced-price lunches.

Sponsors: Representatives Gregerson, Santos, Peterson, Rossetti, Kuderer, Stanford, Hudgins, Ormsby, Frame and Bergquist.

Brief Summary of Bill

  • Eliminates lunch co-pays for students who qualify for reduced-price lunches under the national school lunch program.

Hearing Date: 2/8/16

Staff: Jessica Harrell (786-7349).


Child Nutrition Programs.

There are a variety of child nutrition programs subsidized by the United States Department of Agriculture and administered by the state to provide healthy food to children. The programs include the National School Lunch Program (NSLP), the School Breakfast Program (SBP), the Child and Adult Care Food Program, the Summer Food Service Program, the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program, and the Special Milk Program. The NSLP and the SBP are federally assisted meal programs operating in public and nonprofit private schools and residential child care institutions. The programs provide nutritionally balanced, low-cost, or free lunches to children each school day.

Free and Reduced Price Meals.

In order for students to qualify for free meals, their family's income must be at or below 130 percent of the federal poverty level. Students whose families have an income between 130 percent and 185 percent of the federal poverty level are eligible for reduced-price meals (up to 40 cents per lunch). Students whose families earn more than 185 percent of the poverty level pay full price, but the meals in all cases are federally subsidized to some extent.

Summary of Bill:

Beginning with the 2016-17 school year, lunch co-pays for students qualifying for reduced-price lunches are eliminated to the extent that funds are appropriated.

Appropriation: None.

Fiscal Note: Available.

Effective Date: The bill takes effect 90 days after adjournment of the session in which the bill is passed.