New Mexico governor signs free school meals bill into law

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SANTA FE, N.M. — Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham signed Senate Bill 4 into law Monday, ensuring all students have access to free and healthy school meals.

State leaders unanimously passed the bill during the 60-day legislative session to greenlight free breakfast and lunch in every New Mexico school, with fresh ingredients from local farmers and growers.

“Today, New Mexico is leading the nation by not only providing free healthy school meals to every student in our state, but we’re also making sure those meals are nutritious foods that kids want to eat,” Lujan Grisham said. “When we feed our children, we’re feeding our future – these investments today will yield benefits tomorrow through generations of healthier New Mexicans.”  

The changes will kick in over the summer, meaning meals won’t be universally covered until the next school year.

New Mexico joins four other states that have established universal free meals in law. SB 4 is the only legislation, however, that includes provisions related to healthy meal requirements and food waste. 

According to state officials, about $30 million will be used each year to cover the cost of the initiative.

The bill is accompanied by $20 million in the state budget to fund improvements to school kitchen infrastructure to better enable them to cook meals from scratch.

The legislation was sponsored by Senate Majority Whip Michael Padilla and Sen. Leo Jaramillo.