August 11, 2023
To the Honorable Members of
The Illinois House,
103rd General Assembly:
Today, I will veto House Bill 3643 from the
103rd General Assembly. The bill would have amended the School Code to require
the Illinois State Board of Education enter into a statewide master contract to
provide religious dietary options to all Illinois school districts.
I appreciate the hard work of the sponsors in
the House and Senate and the advocates who worked to get this bill passed.
Providing students with culturally appropriate meals at school is an effort I
support. However, while well-intentioned, this bill requires the Illinois State
Board of Education to enter into a master contract they cannot execute. Further,
the General Assembly did not appropriate funding for such a contract.
Local school districts, not the Illinois State
Board of Education, have the expertise and understanding of local needs
required to enter into food service contracts. Districts are already
responsible for all their food service contracts and will continue to have the capability
to enter into contracts with meal vendors based on the unique cultural needs of
the students in their communities. Local school districts currently already engage
in this practice and do so based on federal USDA nutrition guidelines. I look
forward to continuing our work together to ensure every child receives a
nutritious, culturally appropriate meal according to the existing USDA
Therefore, pursuant to Section 9(b) of Article
IV of the Illinois Constitution of 1970, I hereby return House Bill 3643,
entitled “AN ACT concerning education,” with the foregoing objections, vetoed
in its entirety.
Governor, State of Illinois