AUGUSTA — The Maine Legislature will consider a pair of bills in the upcoming session that the Senate’s Democratic leader says would help fight childhood hunger.

The Legislative Council initially rejected the bills, but Sen. Justin Alfond of Portland appealed on Nov. 19.

One of the bills proposes to give schools tools to make sure qualified students receive free meals. Alfond says the other would streamline the application for qualified after-school facilities that wish to participate in federal anti-hunger programs.

Alfond says nearly half of Maine students qualify for free or reduced-price lunch.

The legislative session begins in January.