Days after rejecting a bill to expand free school lunch for the state's neediest students, North Dakota senators voted to increase their own meal reimbursements
- North Dakota senators voted to pass a bill that would give state employees meal reimbursements.
- The vote came days after they declined to pass legislation to expand free school lunches.
The North Dakota Senate greenlit a bill on Thursday that will increase the amount of money they can expense for their meals when traveling within the state.
The vote came just days after the same group of lawmakers voted against legislation that would have expanded a free school lunch program for some of the state's neediest students, according to Inforum, a local news outlet.
That bill would have devoted $6 million from the state budget for the next two years to families whose income falls beneath double the federal poverty level, expanding an already existing federally-funded free lunch program.
A total of 13 Republicans voted both for their own increased meal reimbursements and against more free lunches for kids. For some lawmakers, the two votes pointed to a larger problem.
"I think it shows (the Senate's) priorities are a little out of whack when they have no problem increasing the meal reimbursement rate for ourselves but not for those families that may be struggling to make ends meet, "Assistant House Minority Leader Zac Ista, a Democrat, told Inforum.
Some senators argued the increased meal reimbursements — which jumped from $35 a day to $45 a day — were necessary due to inflation and didn't see any problem with voting for the meal reimbursements and against expanded free lunch for students.
North Dakota Senate Assistant Majority Leader Jerry Klein, one of the 13 senators who voted in favor of reimbursements and against school lunches, told Inforum that he didn't think there was any "correlation whatsoever" between the two bills.
Senate Minority Leader Kathy Hogan, on the other side, called the vote "self-serving."
"How can we vote for ourselves when we can't vote for children?" she told the Inforum.
- COP28 set to kick off from Nov 30 — UAE hopeful for deal on renewable energy tripling, doubling energy efficiency
- Family Man Manoj Bajpayee bats for movie heroes who like ‘the common man’
- Gandhar Oil IPO allotment – How to check allotment, GMP, listing date and more
- White collar roles more at threat from AI
- Market cap of BSE-listed firms hits record high of Rs 331 lakh crore; just shy of entering $4-trillion club