DENVER (AP) -

Colorado Democratic lawmakers say they want to ensure children are eating breakfast by requiring schools to serve the meal for free after the first bell of the day.

Schools that have 70 percent of more students who qualify for free or reduced lunch would be required to participate in the program. It would be start next year.

The bill is up for its first vote Monday.

Colorado Springs Democratic Rep. Tony Exum, a bill sponsor, says the goal is to create a good learning environment for students who arrive at school hungry. He says schools that provide breakfast after the first school bell have shown that more students eat, compared to schools that offer breakfast before classes begin.

Parker Republican Chris Holbert says individual school districts should decide when to serve breakfast.