HOUSE BILL NO. 414
INTRODUCED BY J. KARJALA, J. BACHMEIER, W. CURDY, G. CUSTER, K. DUDIK, R. FARRIS-OLSEN, M. FUNK, J. HAMILTON, D. HARVEY, K. KELKER, C. KEOGH, J. KRAUTTER, R. LYNCH, S. MORIGEAU, R. PEPPERS, Z. PERRY, G. PIERSON, T. RUNNINGWOLF, C. SCHREINER, R. SHAW, P. WEBB, T. WINTER, T. WOODS
A BILL FOR AN ACT ENTITLED: "AN ACT GENERALLY REVISING LAWS RELATED TO SCHOOL MEALS; PROHIBITING A SCHOOL DISTRICT FROM STIGMATIZING A STUDENT WHO CANNOT PAY FOR A SCHOOL MEAL OR HAS A NEGATIVE SCHOOL MEAL ACCOUNT BALANCE; REQUIRING A SCHOOL DISTRICT TO PROVIDE CERTAIN SCHOOL MEAL ACCOUNT NOTICES TO A STUDENT'S PARENT OR GUARDIAN; REQUIRING ANY COMMUNICATIONS TO BE DIRECTED TO THE STUDENT'S PARENT OR GUARDIAN ONLY; PROHIBITING A SCHOOL DISTRICT FROM DENYING CERTAIN STUDENTS SCHOOL MEALS; SUPERSEDING THE UNFUNDED MANDATE LAWS; AND PROVIDING AN EFFECTIVE DATE."
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MONTANA:
NEW SECTION. Section 1. Lack of payment for school meals -- stigmatization prohibited. (1) With regard to a student who cannot pay for a school meal or for a meal that was previously served to the student, a school district employee, contractor, or volunteer may not:
(1)(A) take any action that would publicly identify STIGMATIZE the student FOR BEING UNABLE TO PAY FOR A MEAL THAT WAS PREVIOUSLY SERVED TO THE STUDENT, including but not limited to requiring the student to wear a wristband, hand stamp, or other identifying marker or serving the student an alternative meal; OR
(2) ask or require the student to perform chores or other actions in exchange for a meal or for the reduction or elimination of a school meal debt;
(3)(B) require the student to dispose of an already served meal because of the student's inability to pay for that meal or a previous meal;.
(4) allow a disciplinary action taken against the student to result in the delay or denial of a nutritionally adequate meal to the student; or
(5) require the student's parent or guardian to pay fees or costs in excess of the actual amount owed for meals previously served to the student.
(2) A SCHOOL DISTRICT SHALL DIRECT ANY COMMUNICATIONS REGARDING A STUDENT'S UNPAID DEBT FOR PREVIOUSLY SERVED SCHOOL MEALS TO THE STUDENT'S PARENT OR GUARDIAN ONLY. NOTHING IN THIS SUBSECTION PROHIBITS A SCHOOL DISTRICT FROM SENDING A NOTICE THAT IS ADDRESSED TO THE STUDENT'S PARENT OR GUARDIAN HOME WITH THE STUDENT.
NEW SECTION. Section 2. Unpaid school meal debt -- required communications. (1) A school district shall direct any communications regarding a student's unpaid debt for previously served school meals to the student's parent or guardian only. Nothing in this subsection prohibits a school district from sending a notification that is addressed to the student's parent or guardian home with student.
(2) When a student's school meal account reaches a negative balance, the school district shall notify the parent or guardian of the student within 10 days of the school meal account reaching the negative balance.
(3) The school district shall notify the parent or guardian of a student with unpaid school meal debt of the opportunity to apply for free or reduced-priced school meals. During the period the school district is waiting for the parent or guardian to respond to the notification regarding free or reduced-price school meals, the school district may not deny the student access to a school meal.
(4) Nothing in this section requires a school district to forgive a student's unpaid school meal debt or prohibits a school district from using legal means to collect the debt from the student's parent or guardian.
NEW SECTION. Section 3. Unfunded mandate laws superseded. The provisions of [this act] expressly supersede and modify the requirements of 1-2-112 through 1-2-116.
NEW SECTION. Section 2. Codification instruction. [Sections 1 and 2] are [SECTION 1] IS intended to be codified as an integral part of Title 20, chapter 10, part 2, and the provisions of Title 20, chapter 10, part 2, apply to [sections 1 and 2] [SECTION 1].
NEW SECTION. Section 3. Effective date. [This act] is effective July 1, 2019.
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