NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — There’s a new bill to potentially ease the financial burden on Tennessee families.
“Any school, public or public charter will receive free breakfast and free lunch on a daily basis,” Rep. Kevin Raper (R-Cleveland) said.
Raper is a former educator. He said he used to teach several children who came to school hungry.
“The focus is not there,” Raper said. “In addition to that, we put so much emphasis on test scores, and a hungry child is not going to perform to optimal ability. It’s just not going to happen.”
It’s a bill with bipartisan support.
“We are way overdue to provide every child with free lunch and breakfast at their school if they so need it,” said Rep. John Ray Clemmons (D-Nashville).
Clemmons said he’s filed a similar bill for years, but Republicans continuously shot it down.
“I’m excited that my friends across the aisle have woken up and decided to copy my legislation. I have no pride of authorship here, good policy is good policy,” he said. “So, the highest form of flattery is when someone steals your legislation and passes it, but that’s great.”
Raper’s bill will likely face the most opposition from more financially conservative Republicans, as the money for the plan has to come from somewhere.
But Raper contends it’s worth every penny.
“We’re trying to find ways to give back to the taxpayers to thank them for helping us build up this $2 billion surplus,” he said.