Community use of school property -- The House Education Committee has held two hearings on legislation to provide schools with greater protection from liability to open their facilities to communities for recreational use. And we’ve provided approximately 300 petitions of support from volunteers to the committee.
But legislators need to hear from you now or this won’t pass! If the measure isn’t approved by the Education Committee and the full House by March 14th, it will be dead until next year.
Click on the following link to take action. http://yourethecure.org/aha/advocacy/actioncenter.aspx
While schools may open up after hours for organized town or league sports, average Vermonters don’t often have a chance to use school facilities for recreation. Unless we provide schools with greater liability protection, nothing will change.
Smoke-free legislation moves on to Senate -- One of the last items the Vermont House passed before Town Meeting Break was H.217, legislation that would expand smoke-free restrictions in a variety of areas. Please let your senators know you support its provisions to bar smoking from hotel rooms and within 25 feet of state buildings and offices. The measure would also prevent the use of e-cigarettes at schools and childcare facilities and ban smoking in cars when kids are present.
Second hand smoke increases the risk for heart disease by 25-30 percent and results in cardiac related death for about 38,000 people each year.
Tobacco funding – The House Human Services Committee included tobacco in the list of priorities it encouraged the House Appropriations Committee to address. In a memo to appropriators last week, the HHS Committee said:
Tobacco prevention, control, and cessation are important public health issues, and the Tobacco Trust Fund represents a commitment to long-term public health. The Committee is very disappointed that the Trust Fund continues to be viewed as a source of funding for areas of State government unrelated to public health, which is not in keeping with the State’s commitment and puts tobacco control efforts at risk now and in the future.
The American Heart Association and the Coalition for a Tobacco Free Vermont are urging legislators to place at least a portion of the $10 million the state received from a settlement with RJ Reynolds and funds previously withheld from tobacco companies into Vermont’s Tobacco Trust Fund. Otherwise, the trust fund will be empty by year’s end.
PE and Nutrition in Schools – The Legislative Committee on Administrative Rules adopted proposed changes by the State Board of Education to Vermont’s Education Quality Standards that will now require schools to offer options for students in grades K-12 participate in at least 30 minutes of physical activity within or outside of the school day. This can include recess and movement built into the curriculum, but cannot replace physical education classes.
The American Heart Association worked to include additional changes to increase PE time and improve nutrition in schools but these were not included in the regulation changes proposed by the State Board of Education. Our volunteers put forth an outstanding effort. Said one committee member, “You gave 110%.” We gained a number of legislative champions on our obesity efforts and will likely move ahead with PE legislation next session.