Sen. John McComish said he was responding to his constituent's concerns when he voted "yes" to approve an amendment on Senate Bill 1061, a bill on that would allow schools to opt-out of the National School Lunch Program.
The final vote for SB 1061 has not yet taken place, but on Thursday the State Senate debated the bill and a possible amendment to it.
The original bill allows schools to opt out of the free and reduced school lunch program. The amendment discussed on Thursday said if schools wanted to opt out of the program then the school district must provide free or reduced lunches for those in need. McComish was the only Republican to vote for the amendment.
"I was at a meeting with a number of Kyrene parents on Tuesday and it was pretty clear that my constituents were very much against that bill," McComish said. "I thought that if the amendment were to pass it would make the bill more acceptable."
The amendment did not pass. McComish says he does not plan to vote for the bill. He and Rep. Bob Robson have asked Sen. Rich Crandall to withdraw the bill. Crandall was not present for the debate on Thursday.
In a column Crandall said he submitted the bill because he did not feel the mandate was necessary. All schools were already choosing to be a part of the program before it became mandatory.
McComish said while Crandall makes a good point, he is standing with those he represents who he says have made it clear they do not approve of the bill.
"It was pretty clear that my constituents that I represent disagree with that and think that it should be mandated, and that the status quo should remain," McComish said. "I'm responding to what was a pretty clear signal from the constituents that I represent.
"We have asked that he withdraw the bill because there has been a lot of public concern about it. We have no idea how he's going to respond. I think at this point that would be the better course."
McComish expects the bill to come to a final vote some time next week.
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