House overturns LePage’s veto of ‘hungry kids’ bill, which now becomes law

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AUGUSTA — A bill designed to encourage school districts to host summer nutrition programs for needy students will go into law after the House of Representatives voted Thursday to override a veto by Gov. Paul LePage.

Following more than an hour of debate, the House voted 92-45 to override the veto, which requires a two-thirds majority. On Tuesday, the Senate voted 25-10 to override the veto.

The bill, sponsored by Senate President Justin Alfond, D-Portland, would require school units where at least 50 percent of students qualify for free or reduced-price lunch to operate a summer food service program if the public school in the area operates a summer education or recreation program. School units that want to opt out of the program for any reason can do so with a vote of their governing body, following a public hearing process.

The bill, LD 1353, An Act to Further Reduce Student Hunger, passed unanimously last year in the Senate and by a 68-39 vote in the House.

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