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After Impassioned Speech, Giddings Hopeful School Lunch Bill Can Still Pass

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Delcia Lopez for The Texas Tribune
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School children at Cantu Elementary in San Juan, Texas, are shown eating breakfast on April 24, 2013.

When a procedural maneuver in the Texas House helped kill consideration of a school lunch measure Tuesday, the bill's author took to the floor and questioned whether legislators were truly serving their constituents' interests.

But state Rep. Helen Giddings, D-DeSoto, remains hopeful that her measure can still pass this session.

"I think we'll get something out for these children," she said. "They deserve better than what we've done for them." 

House Bill 2159 would ban school districts from identifying students without enough money in their school lunch accounts. It would also allow families a grace period to resolve an insufficient balance on a meal card.

The legislation faced no opposition at the committee stage. It was expected to easily pass the House on the uncontested calendar. But five members objected to it, ending its consideration Tuesday.

That afternoon, Giddings, a 13-term lawmaker gave an impassioned speech explaining her motivations for the legislation.

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Giddings said she's optimistic she could still get HB 2159 passed when lawmakers consider the next uncontested calendar Friday.

"It's such an important issue that we will not just take one chance at it. We're also going to be looking to amend other bills to include this provision for children," she said.

Alex Samuels contributed to this report, which was provided by The Texas Tribune.