North Dakota Senate Votes To Expand Free Meals For Its Members — And Not For Kids

Despite killing a proposal to boost free lunches for hungry students, North Dakota’s Senate passed a bill giving its members more free food

State employees can now collect up to $45 a day for meals when traveling within North Dakota, up from $35 currently. The GOP-led chamber voted 26-21 in favor of the measure on Thursday. It is now up to Gov. Doug Burgum (R) to sign the bill, which would cost $1 million in taxpayer money over the next two years.


Just over two weeks ago, however, the Senate rejected a separate bill that would have provided free school lunch to all K-12 students living below 200% of the federal poverty line for the next two years. In addition to providing meals to students living below 130% of poverty level, this would expand on a federal program.

A single vote prevented the bill from passing.

Thirteen Republicans voted against the school meal proposal and supported the reimbursement for state employees. No Democrats voted against it.

Senator Kathy Hogan (D) said Thursday that today’s vote was self-serving. “How can we vote for ourselves when we cannot vote for children?” she asked.

The Forum reported that Republican Assistant Majority Leader Jerry Klein could not see “any correlation whatsoever” between the two bills.

State Sen. Mike Wobbema said free meals shouldn’t be given to kids because of their “personal responsibility.”

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