House Democrats countered that schools already provide students with free textbooks and bus rides to school.
"Hey, we send [people] to jail, we feed them," said Delegate David Walker, D-Clay. "We send [soldiers] to die for us, and we feed them. Now, we ask them to go to school and go hungry? Give me a break."
Also Friday, House members:
• Agreed to the Senate's changes to a bill (HB2979) designed to bring Internet service to rural communities in West Virginia. The bill requires the state to follow Internet download-speed standards set by the Federal Communications Commission -- now at 4 megabits per second. The legislation also requires the West Virginia Broadband Deployment Council to give priority to projects that bring Internet service to households for the first time -- before funding projects to increase download speeds at homes that already have broadband service.
• Approved a bill (SB194) that no longer allows the Department of Health and Human Resources to bypass Purchasing Division rules when awarding contracts for Medicaid-related projects. The West Virginia Legislative Auditor recommended the change after releasing a report last year that found the DHHR had a "lack of procurement expertise." The Senate already has passed the bill, and Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin is expected to sign it.
• Voted 66-33 to approve a bill (SB437) that aims to crack down on "puppy mills." The bill limits the number of breeding dogs such facilities may house. Commercial breeders also would have to obtain licenses and pay fees.
Their facilities would be inspected twice a year. Breeders could sell dogs only as household pets.
The bill, which passed the Senate earlier this month, sparked a lengthy debate on the House floor Friday afternoon.
The bill's opponents said the legislation would unfairly penalize reputable dog breeders and drive up kennel operating costs.
Supporters said the bill would ensure that dogs are raised and treated humanely. More than 30 states have similar laws.
"The purpose is go after the large commercial breeders, the puppy mills," said Delegate Isaac Sponaugle, D-Pendleton. "It's the responsible thing to do."
• Passed a bill that bars minors from going to tanning salons unless they have a parent's permission. Tanning salons also must register with local health departments.
Under the bill (SB464), minors 14 and younger would not be allowed to go to tanning salons, while those 15 to 18 years of age would need parental consent. Tanning salons that violate the law would face penalties of $100 to $1,000.
Reach Eric Eyre at erice...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-4869.