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Lawmakers reject another bill supporting food-insecure families

South Dakota lawmakers have rejected a second attempt at expanding free or reduced-priced school meals for struggling families.

HB 1238 was introduced by Republican Representative Tyler Tordsen. It would have covered meals for families who make under 209% of the poverty line but aren’t eligible for federal assistance. The state Department of Education would reimburse districts for those meals.

Tordsen said it would have helped families facing food insecurity but make too much to quality for assistance under existing programs.

The Bureau of Finance Management testified against it over cost concerns, estimating an annual cost to the state between $1 million and $1.5 million.

The House Appropriations Committee killed it in a unanimous vote Tuesday.

The House Education killed a similar, less expensive bill earlier this session.